Influencer marketing is a major trend in the hospitality industry, with an increasing number of brands implementing these techniques in their marketing plan. In the eyes of today’s audience, positive recommendations coming from an inspiring social media influencer are like hearing about a friend’s personal experience. A trusted source, someone whose opinion they rely on and whose advocacy they find authentic.
But finding the right people in a never-ending digital pool of influencers takes time and a thorough evaluation, in order to see desired results. So how do you choose the person that shares your values and will most effectively promote your brand? Here are our main DOs you should take into account and DON’Ts you should avoid when arranging an influencer marketing campaign.
DON’T: Just look at the big numbers
We can’t stress this enough – ‘the more followers, the better’ approach to choosing the right person for influencer marketing does not always get the job done. Not to say that follower count and reach are not important, but there are a number of other factors to be taken into account. The success of your marketing campaign entirely depends on the value these followers can provide.
Millions of followers have no value if this is not an audience relevant to your business. Not only it is crucial to avoid the influencers with fake followers, but it is also vital for their content to be authentic and to inspire positive engagement. Take a closer look at their feed and see what brands they have previously collaborated with, and also make sure their feed is not bursting with branded content. Remember, the audience can easily get annoyed if they feel like the influencer keeps trying to ‘sell’ them promoted content, and you don’t want your services to play a part in their negative reactions.
DO: Always consider micro-influencers
As we discussed in one of our previous posts, micro-influencers typically range from 1k – 100k followers. Although their content may not reach as many people, micro-influencers are less costly when it comes to paid collaborations, but can provide more rewarding results with a more relevant audience. We highlight the importance of the engagement ratio – often the more followers an influencer has, the lower their engagement with their audience becomes. Naturally, a person with a smaller following tends to communicate with their audience more, which can develop personal and more trustful relationships. Likes and comments can also spark conversations and inspire some of your other clients to share their positive experiences in your hotel.
Also, micro-influencers are more likely to have a niche audience, interested in particular content, which may be of highest relevance to your business. Depending on your hotel and your target customers, work with a person whose recommendations would be natural and honest. Low-cost independent hotel? Search for micro-influencers that focus their brand around their big families and vacations on a budget. A romantic island resort? Couples that often indulge themselves at weekend getaways. Ultimately, the marketed content will certainly seem more authentic and have a greater impact coming from influencers the audience relate to and whose advocacy they trust.
DON’T: Work with just any influencer simply to increase brand awareness
As the popularity of influencer marketing is growing, so is its price. While this can apply to micro-influencers, it is particularly accurate when it comes to influencers with a larger following, which generally seem like the most effective choice for raising brand awareness. However, while brand awareness is favourable, it is only a part of the equation. It is also difficult to track and can therefore lead to expensive investments, but no significant ROI.
A variety of other benefits can be gained through influencer marketing. Consider asking them to include a direct link to your website’s booking page through their Instagram story and then track the website traffic. Your campaign can also incorporate creative calls to actions such as unique promotional codes and affiliate links which offer discounts. Again, do not forget the power of engagement rates! Likes and comments are valuable metrics in determining how the content performs, and indicating how the audience is responding to it. This data can be used to alter your marketing tactics in the future.
DO: Choose the right influencer for your venue – spot the masters of artistry – real content creators
It is vital for you to choose an influencer with a personality that aligns with the message you wish to disseminate and, more importantly, the audience that could be your potential clients. Depending on the influencer’s interests and the aesthetics of their Instagram feed, you should be able to evaluate what kind of post would appeal to their followers the most and, consequently, inspire them to visit your account or website for more information.
Besides their style, you should consider the countries the influencers come from, their age & similar data regarding their audience. If you are a five-star resort in Bali, chances are these posts will not bring desired marketing and monetary results if they are mostly being seen by 13-year-old girls. It is also of equal significance that the influencer’s Instagram activities portrays a healthy balance of unique and sponsored content. This fosters their followers’ trust and reliability on the quality of what the influencer is endorsing, much like giving your hotel a stamp of approval. If you need help selecting the right influencer, find more about it here.
DON’T: Restrain authenticity and creativity
So, you have chosen the right person to promote your brand. While it is crucial to provide the influencer with a short brief outlining what you expect them to post, make sure you do not go overboard with your requests. If they already established a unique style & aesthetic patterns that their followers enjoy, you should avoid demanding posts that would not blend with the existing content. For instance, if the influencer edits their photos to make the colours appear more pastel, you would not want to request a vibrant shot of your new scarlet dining room. If their followers are responding negatively to the changes in the feed patterns, it could impact the effectiveness of the campaign.
A major factor in the success of influencer marketing is the impression of it being genuine & organic, so it is vital not to agitate their followers. Always remember: you chose to work with this particular influencer because you already appreciate their values and enjoy the style of their content – so let them have a say in the campaign.
DO: Be clear on what you are looking for
When designing the brief that is to be provided to the influencer, define what you plan on achieving with this campaign – raise awareness of your brand or improve the engagement with potential customers? Then specify how you expect them to assist you in reaching those goals. Is it by posting a boomerang? A series of posts? Or would you like them to film a short, entertaining vlog during their stay?
Always be respectful and polite – remember, you are partners in this particular campaign and you all want to maximise the benefits of your collaboration. But it is also crucial for you to be clear and concise. If you want their followers to take a look at your exquisite poolside experience, you should indicate that you do not want a sun-bathing selfie. You could also provide guidelines on any details you would like mentioned in the caption or if you’d want the photo to be taken in a specific place. Still, always leave enough space for their creative freedom in marketing your business. And don’t make any last-minute changes to the brief. Not only can it delay the final results, but it can also lead to miscommunication and dissatisfaction in your partnership.