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No longer just a trend, influencer marketing campaigns are now an essential part of overall marketing strategies for many companies and brands.

Even if you’re not familiar with the specifics of influencer marketing, you’ve most likely been a consumer of influencer marketing campaigns. Ever liked an Instagram post from your favorite blogger or social media celeb with an #ad or #spon hashtag? If so, you’ve seen the power of influencer marketing, a strategy through which brands and companies leverage the existing relationships that influencers have with their engaged, captive followings. Influencers typically are paid a fee for their endorsement, which is embedded within their non-sponsored content.

As influencer marketing becomes ubiquitous, however, another realization has crystallized: it’s not enough to identify and pay influencers for single-post campaigns on just one platform. Not all influencers are created equal, and the best way to ensure successful campaigns is to develop relationships with both paid and organic partners who can employ a multi-platform approach, all while using influencer strategies to augment your own internal multi-channel campaigns.

Coordinating influencer campaigns can be time-consuming, and the campaigns themselves can be costly, depending on the fees you pay to partners. Here are three ways to ensure that your influencer marketing strategies pay off.

  1. Identify influencers who connect with your brand’s core values and who will engage on multiple platforms multiple times.

Vetting your influencers is a hugely important part of any campaign, and it’s not just a numbers game. Sure, you can look at a potential influencer’s number of followers to get an idea of their social media presence and clout, but your analysis should go beyond that. Influencers who have a natural affinity with your brand and its core values can create more compelling content than someone with a million or more followers but less personal interest in the product. Similarly, as studies have shown that potential consumers often only convert to traffic or customers after seeing a product multiple times, you want to identify whether influencers are meaningfully engaged with followers on multiple platforms. Can they create content that’s authentic and more than just a one-off? Before you sign paid contracts for influencers, make sure they are skillfully creating content on multiple channels, and that your brand’s values sync with theirs.

  1. Don’t forget to utilize organic influencer marketing in addition to paid influencer marketing.

Your brand might get the most exposure, numerically speaking, from a celebrity that has a large social following, but partnering with an ambassador can be even more beneficial for your brand and a lot friendlier to your budget. Ambassadors are in it for the perks and their love of the brand, not the pay, which means that their content can really capture the heart and soul of your product and company. Additionally, an influencer program that relies on ambassadors is a great way to integrate a specialized referral program. By providing an avenue for content created by your brand’s biggest fans, you build a well-oiled marketing machine that runs on dedication and doesn’t require the same level of vetting as other types of influencer marketing.

  1. Use influencer campaigns to bolster traditional multi-channel marketing.

According to a recent survey, 78 percent of marketers queried said that determining return-on-investment for influencer campaigns will be a top challenge in 2017. While influencer marketing has eclipsed its trendy beginnings, it’s still no replacement for integrated campaigns that drive brand awareness, website traffic, and product sales. Internal marketing campaigns are easier to measure and analyze, and consumers expect reputable brands to have a considerable online presence of their own. Influencers can enhance marketing and diversify a brand’s target audience, but companies should use influencer campaigns to elevate their existing marketing, not rely on influencers exclusively.

Influencer Marketing is a Powerful Tool

Influencer marketing presents unique challenges and opportunities for brands. By cultivating a network of engaged influencers and ambassadors who can support your existing marketing campaigns, you position your brand for success in today’s influencer-driven marketplace.