7 Influencer Marketing tips from American Eagle

by Jamie Simoni on Sep 02, 2015
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Influencer Marketing has matured.

Your brand should no longer be thinking about using influencer marketing. You should start today, no matter how small the first step.

From TV commercials featuring Vine stars and celebrities to Instagram posts featuring brand advocates and bloggers, we’re seeing influencers everywhere. Especially representing brands.

Developing an influencer program from the ground up can be a daunting task. How do you find influencers? Should they be compensated? How do you measure success?

Influencer Marketing is a mix between public relations and advertising. You want to work with influencers that are going to talk about your brand positively and also generate impressions, engagement and traffic to your site.

Even if you have a program started, how do you find the influencers that will work well for you? Below are a few tips to get you started and keep you on the right track.

1. Know what you’re looking for

What is your goal for the influencer partnership?

Decide whether you’re looking for reach, validation of a product/service/brand, awareness, engagement, event promotion, supplemental content, etc.

Knowing exactly what you are looking to get out of an influencer partnership will help you select the type of influencer (celebrity, blogger, Viner, etc.) that will work well with your goals.

Lowe’s worked with Vine influencer Meagan Cignoli on their #lowesfixinsix Vine video series.

2. Look for influencers already talking about your brand

The best influencers are the ones that are natural fans of your brand. It makes the partnership more authentic and they will likely be eager to work with you!

If you’re looking at bloggers be sure to search their site for your brand to see if they’ve talked about you before. If they have, it’s a perfect way to start the conversation with them.

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American Eagle Outfitters worked with Sincerely, Jules during their Fall 2015 Campaign.

3. Do a thorough evaluation

When you attach your brand to an influencer, make sure you know as much as you can about them. Do they talk about anything controversial in the media or on their social accounts? Any inappropriate content associated with them? Have they recently worked with any other brands?

You never want to go into a partnership without fully vetting your influencer.

Also take note of their Instagram following, unique monthly site visits or any other metrics that are important to you.

Start a spreadsheet with all of the important information so you have a master document to work from and keep track of everything.

Key red flags to look out for:

  • Poor response time
  • Negative language, controversial opinions
  • Promotion of competitors
  • High percentage of content is paid promotion
  • Low engagement compared to their audience size

4. Do not ignore influencers with small audiences

Remember, an influencer doesn’t necessarily have to have a huge reach. If your goal is to create content to use on your Instagram account, using a brand advocate that takes amazing photos may work better for you than paying top dollar for a celebrity.

University of Arizona Gymnastics tapped into football coach Rich Rodriguez to engage the Arizona audience in this Youtube video.

5. Keep an eye out for fresh voices

As your influencer program grows and evolves be sure to always add new influencers into the mix. You should always be on the lookout for influencers that will work well for your brand, especially those that are up-and-coming and you can form a relationship with early on.

6. Propose a partnership that works well for both of you

The influencer will be promoting your brand but make it work for them as well.

You may be using them to tap into their reach but most influencers will also appreciate getting exposure from you. And the better the deal for the influencer the more likely the relationship will be long-term.

Just be sure to have a legal agreement that outlines requirements of both parties so everything is outlined in black and white.

Opportunities to add influencer benefits:

  • Give them a testimonial
  • Allow them to list brand logo on their website
  • Promote them through brand accounts
  • List them as an “advocate” on brand website
  • Give them early access to brand news, events, content, products

7. Use the content in as many ways as you can

Use the content they produce on your website, in an email, across your social platforms and in advertising.

We know that content is king so use that content as much as you can (make sure to include this in your agreement!)

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Baublebar has a section on their site dedicated to a “Guest Bartender” that curates a collection to be featured.

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Once you get started with influencer marketing, continue to experiment and use several types of influencers until you find what works best for your brand.

Youtube stars, bloggers, Viners and celebrities can all serve different purposes. Try out campaigns with different verticals of influencers until you find what works well for your brand.

Post Author

Jamie Simoni is a social media marketing professional and currently leads the social media strategy for American Eagle Outfitters including community management and engagement for the brand’s 9+ million followers. Through compelling content and social advertising buys she has contributed...