5 Ways To Build A Powerful Social Media Influencer Network
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Influencers, brand ambassadors, are the elite marketing trendsetters of 2020.
Just ask Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran, former professional athletes and co-founders of the CBD company beam. The Boston-based brand, which calls itself the "Nike of Wellness", cultivates CBD for its lineup of product offerings on a hemp farm based in Colorado. As part of beam's marketing efforts, beam built a powerful ambassador program, which has resulted in impressive sales.
Beam's ambassador program was the accelerant to 100 percent growth from Q1 to Q2 in 2020. The company says it generated a whopping 35 percent of the company's profits from the social influencer program alone. This is, in part, thanks to some of the A-level athletes that beam has gotten on board, from PGA golfer Billy Horschel to Danica Patrick (Former American Racing Driver), Matthew Fraser (Crossfit Games Champion), Eric Hinman (5x Ironman) and more.
How did they do it? Here are some secrets. In their own words, beam co-founders Lombardi and Moran offer 5 critical tips for entrepreneurs interested in building an equally powerful influencer network.
1. Develop strong relationships
Influencers effectively become a part of your team and it is important to treat and talk to them like colleagues. Similarly to your internal team members, each influencer will be motivated by different aspects of the industry. Many of the influencers in our network are trying to build their business and personal brand in the wellness space. We aim to make every partnership a mutually beneficial one and want each influencer to feel as though they have a space to tell their story. Several of our close ambassadors including Mat Fraser and Kaisa Keranen have shared their wellness journeys through beam.
2. Have KPI’s in place
Like anything in life, it’s always important to go in with eyes wide open. Have a hypothesis on how your bet is going to turn out and track success throughout the engagement. As an example, take our brand ambassador Danica Patrick. Danica is what we refer to as a “beacon’—we only have a few ambassadors in that category. It’s certainly great to see an uptick in sales when Danica posts, but the main goal is always to drive top of the funnel brand awareness. Having someone like Danica associated with the brand can lead to all sorts of opportunities from unique investors, press or other celebrities reaching out to the brand.
3. Communicate effectively
Make sure KPI’s are communicated effectively. The influencer may be trying to reach a specific KPI that’s completely different from the goals of the brand and it’s up to the brand to communicate their goals effectively. For every influencer partnership, we make a point to have a conversation about upcoming initiatives, launches, strategies in addition to our overall mission and values. This ensures that our brand ethos is highlighted effectively and the posting cadence and products featured meet our KPI’s.
4. Build repetition
If you’re going into a partnership with an influencer that has 1 million followers, it’s important to not set expectations that one post will translate to “X” KPI. Just like any marketing approach, it’s important to build repetition and make sure the specific campaign of the influencer is tied into your holistic marketing strategy.
We often talk about “shiny objects.” Very early on (think pre-funding), we paid an influencer $10,000 for a one-off post on social media. Our expectations fell flat and we’ve since opted to focus on ongoing relationships and building the network of ambassadors that we’re proud to have today. Repetition builds brand equity.
5. Learn to say 'no'
Influencer marketing has become a multi-billion industry. Make sure you have brand standards in place and do not deviate regardless of how promising one opportunity might look. We’ve learned that it’s important to evaluate each potential partnership strategically through research and multiple conversations and that sometimes the most beneficial strategy is to say no.