In 2018, roughly 25% of people used ad blockers when browsing online. So it’s no surprise that brands are turning to influencers and leaving traditional digital ads behind. Influencers do the hard work for us. They build loyal followings within their niche and create highly engaging content. Smart brands leverage this platform while maintaining the integrity of the influencer and the brand.

Recently, influencers have honed their approach to advertising, now saying they prefer long-term, personal relationships with brands. Sazan Hendrix, a beauty, lifestyle and fashion influencer, is focusing more on longer term brand ambassadorships vs. shorter term one-off posts for random brands. Sazan said, “it’s far easier to create organic and honest integrations with brands over time as opposed to an individual post here and there for random companies”*.

Long-term collaborations are more effective at engaging consumers and delivering results. Plus, social media users are becoming more conscious of authenticity. Marketers need to stop looking at influencers as one-off ad outlets and instead see them as highly targeted, brand ambassadors – an extension to their marketing team.

Qualifying your brand ambassadors is crucial. Read our article on getting the most our of your influencer collaborations. Once you identify a list of potential ambassadors, keep these two things in mind:

1) Keep it personal. Build relationships directly with a few highly targeted ambassadors.
2) Look beyond short-term campaign metrics and vanity metrics, towards qualitative data around the brand.

Take online retailer Asos as an example. Asos began its “insiders” program in 2017. The brand hand picked social media fashion and beauty experts, who consistently post a certain theme, from 70s boho to sports luxe. The ambassadors promote themselves as Asos Stylists and allow direct shopping on asos.com from their social accounts. Using a multi-channel approach, with stylists across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, Asos saw staggering results. In just 3 months, the 769 Insiders recruited to #AccessAllASOS generated 7,500 pieces of content and 200 blog posts. Brand mentions drove reach, resulting in a 600% rise in spontaneous quotes and 800% growth in website traffic referrals. The audience reached on Twitter and Instagram alone is estimated at 12 million.

Marketers who use this approach will see benefits beyond vanity metrics, to boosted customer lifetime value (CLV), brand mentions, reach and ultimately ROI.

Are you rolling out a brand ambassador campaign? Contact us at madeleinek@dprandco.com.

*https://www.forbes.com/sites/barrettwissman/2018/10/09/long-term-partnerships-the-next-wave-of-influencer-marketing/#17413f7f469a
^As per data on www.socialblade.com