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One big marketing concept on a lot of minds in the world of brands these days is influencer activation. Influencer activation is a marketing strategy that involves brands building relationships with influencers. Companies work with those influencers to introduce products or services to the influencers’ followers.

An influencer could be almost anyone. They’re celebrities with millions of followers or everyday people with niche expertise and followings that are more modest but equally loyal. Influencers usually have big followings on popular social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook and/or large numbers of subscribers on YouTube.

Influencers can be almost anywhere in the world, as can their followers, who find the content the influencers post valuable, interesting and trustworthy. That’s because it embraces the same interests and values the followers have and often gives them new ideas for things to do, try or buy.

Influencer activation is important because it has the potential to propel your marketing campaign forward and meet your goals. The first step is defining your target market before researching and contacting the right influencers whose followers reflect your audience.

Why Your Brand Should Focus on Influencer Activation

There’s a number of important reasons why your brand should focus on influencer activation. These reasons make up the campaign strategy dominos that influencer activation sets in motion:

  • To Create Value and a Sense of Authenticity for the Brand: When influencers post content about a brand that followers find helpful or entertaining, it fosters authenticity, trust and value for the brand by association.
  • For Image Revamping: Influencers can help give brands a makeover. For example, influencers can introduce a brand that’s been around for decades, along with its products and values, to new generations of audiences. This automatically transfers an influencer’s cool factor to the brand.
  • To Drive Traffic to Your Website: Successful influencer activations can mean more traffic to your website from social media. That traffic can then become leads, and those leads can become sales.
  • To Increase Engagement: When followers engage with brands, you can capture more information about them, find out what they’re looking for and show you care about them.
  • To Grow Leads: Followers who ask for more information about your product through influencer posts become leads to follow up with.
  • To Boost Sales: Influencer activation can lead to a healthy ROI when it boosts sales. Loyal followers who place deep trust in influencer recommendations can be quick to purchase.
  • To Grow Brand Loyalty: Influencers can help grow brand loyalty by reminding followers of all the positive attributes of products. This encourages them to share their personal experiences with the products.

The Benefits of Influencer Activation

Savvy brands and marketers should be well aware of the many benefits of influencer activation. Well-executed influencer activations offer clear advantages, even over some other forms of marketing.

  • Valuable Content: Unique, valuable content that influencers create gives brands credibility and an impression of authenticity with followers.
  • Innovation: Influencers can come up with creative content that resonates with their followers, including new ways to use your product.
  • Shareability: Influencer content is easily shared via social media among followers’ friends, families and colleagues.
  • Cost Savings: Working with influencers is cost-effective. Influencers create content at a fraction of the cost it can take for a brand to do a photoshoot and hire all the pros involved.
  • New Markets: Influencer activation introduces brands, products and services to new markets. Brands might not have previously considered or approached these markets successfully.
  • Repurposing: Influencer content can be repurposed. Evergreen content that influencers create is something you can use again and again with minor tweaks and adjustments for different formats.
  • Growing Engagement: Engagement can reap seemingly endless rewards. When influencer activation engages with followers, brands can discover the questions, concerns and ideas that followers might have about a product. Followers can make suggestions about products or express what they like best about those items. Brands can partner with influencers to engage followers by giving the influencers free products and samples. The influencers then share posts and videos about how they use the products or samples. Influencers can also promote the products through contests, parties and social media takeovers that boost engagement.
  • Trackability: Brands can track the responses to their campaigns by having influencers place product codes or product links in their post captions.

Who Uses Influencer Activation?

Brands, companies of all sizes, non-profits, institutions and marketers use influencer activation. It includes researching, connecting with and engaging with influencers to foster potential marketing partnerships. Activation then goes on to include working with the influencers, who create and post content for brands’ specific marketing campaigns. This usually happens on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Brands track results during and after the campaigns, making changes to their influencer marketing strategies as needed.

The beauty products company Revlon is one example of a company that uses influencer activation, as it successfully did with its Mascara Mixology campaign. Revlon worked with 32 influencers who created unique content for the campaign, resulting in 20,000 engagements with influencers’ followers.

The sports drink company Gatorade worked with a mix of social media influencers and professional athletes for its annual Beat the Heat program. The Facebook and YouTube campaign’s goal was to spread the word about the importance of proper hydration and staying safe in the heat. Working with two top athlete influencers, JJ Watt and Karl-Anthony Towns, the campaign attracted nearly 5 million video views and more than 200 million impressions.

PepsiCo worked with approximately 40 carefully chosen influencers to promote Pepsi emojis in the #SayItWithPepsi campaign via Twitter parties and Instagram. The goal was to get the target audience to share the campaign content and buy the new Pepsi Emoji bottles sold at Walgreens stores. The campaign resulted in more than 46 million impressions, with influencers and followers sharing photos with the colorful Pepsi Emoji bottles to Instagram.

Even in the world of non-profits, organizations work with everyday influencers and experts. They boost fundraising campaign results and grow support for or bring awareness to issues like climate change.

The Audience for Influencer Activation

The audience for influencer activation is ultimately the influencers’ followers who are interested in the topics that the influencers post about. Brands and marketers find influencers whose focus and followers align with the brands’ target audiences and the influencers’ interests.

Influencers can post and blog about topics ranging from travel, fashion, outdoor activities and food to arts and crafts, home repair, furniture restoration and finances. For instance, if a brand wants to promote educational toys to parents, it can target mommy-blogger or stay-at-home-dad influencers. Their social media followers will likely have young children too and will be interested in similar types of products for their kids.