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Influencer marketing began as an innovative approach to reaching target audiences in creative ways. But it can easily become formulaic as you grow, and some enterprises simply replicate the same approach over and over without really looking at what’s working. As a result, many influencer programs either cost too much or deliver too little, because they aren’t optimized to the specific goals and audience of the brand. Productive growth takes a test-and-learn mentality to find what really works for you — and do more of it.

Optimize as you grow

The size and shape of the influencer program should stem directly from a thoughtful assessment of what your most pressing business goals are. Finding the right approach for your organization requires tracking and analysis over the entire partner lifecycle. By looking deeply and holistically at how your program supports your business strategy, you can focus on the partners and campaigns that deliver the most ROI. 

Find your own path: 5 different approaches to influencer marketing

Below are five distinct influencer strategies drawn from real-world use cases. What these partnership programs have in common is that as their influencer activity grew, the brands continually monitored results and optimized their strategies toward specific business goals.

  1. Brand awareness model: uses quality content to drive traffic and engagement 

If you’re a new kid on the block looking to gain traction in the market against industry-leading brands, or you’re operating in a busy marketplace and eager to stand out from the crowd, this could be the approach for you.  

One Impact customer used influencer activity primarily to drive awareness for particular seasonal products. Their focus was on driving engagement on Instagram by working with high-profile influencers who create quality imagery. 

  1. Performance-based model: scales via revenue-based rewards

If you’re looking to drive sales and engagement at scale with a payment system that rewards only genuine, quality results, then this might be the best route for you.

One subscription styling service recruited a vast network of influencers to drive sales and engagement, but they were keen to only pay for results in order to maximize their budget.

  1. Affiliate network model: drives traffic through customized links

This is the ideal approach for anyone who wants to leverage the right influencers to generate affiliate sales at scale.

A furniture retailer wanted to scale up an established partner program to maximize its effectiveness. To do this, they used an automated partnership platform to recruit quality influencers at high volume and reward them based on results to avoid wasted spend.

  1. Micro influencer model: reaches a highly targeted audience through a high volume of niche influencers 

For some brands it pays off to move away from the traditional slate of celebrities and instead target niche audiences through micro or nano influencers.

A health-focused Impact customer launched a relatively new product that had a very specific target audience. They worked with micro influencers who could talk straight to their potential consumers and educate them about why their product is better than their competitors’.

  1. Content creation: uses influencers to create high-volume brand content 

Generating top-quality user-generated content (UGC) at scale can be a challenge. But UGC leads to higher engagement, drives more clicks, and increases conversions by 10%. A fashion retailer knew this and wanted to create impact with more UGC for their social media advertising campaigns and also to support the conversion rate optimization of their website.No two organizations are alike, and no two partnership strategies should be, either. For a closer look at the five strategies above and tips for finding your own path to revenue growth through partnerships, check out this handy ebook with anonymized brand examples, Different strokes for different influencer folks.

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