How to Incorporate Video into Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

You’ve heard the term “influencer” before, maybe you’ve even used it yourself in a meeting about how to increase visibility for your brand’s products. But do you really know what it means? It’s one of those terms that popped up out of nowhere and all of a sudden, it’s the hottest buzzword.

Whether you’re a business owner bugging your marketing manager to jump into influencer marketing, or a marketing manager itching to activate an influencer tactic as part of your overall marketing strategy, you know the power of influencer marketing in 2018. But have you considered the power of video when combined with influencer marketing?

Let’s take a look at how and why you need to incorporate video into your overall influencer marketing strategy.

What is influencer marketing REALLY?

Celebrities can be huge influencers for your marketing campaign

Before the prevalence of social media networks connecting all of us at all times, when brands wanted to earn customer loyalty, they would use celebrity endorsements, either on radio or on TV. Think of cereal sponsorships by your favorite athletes, or well-known actors selling you their “favorite” cars or credit cards (which they still do plenty of today). Having a celeb provide their voice for a commercial was a coveted affair that could increase brand lift and brand awareness.

Now, that same influence can be just as effective in moving products and building brand trust, but it’s taken a new form thanks to the prevalence of social networks. Audience influence is no longer limited to athletes and actors, but now comedians, models, musicians, and reality TV show contestants can command influence over audiences of millions, easily via a single post that goes directly to their followers’ feeds. You no longer need a flashy commercial – a single featured Instagram story can sell hundreds more products directly to consumers with a quick tutorial and a discount code.

It’s quite a lucrative business, both for the influencers themselves and for businesses. Choosing the wrong audience for a specific product could amount to a negative response both for the influencer and the business. Nobody likes to feel sold to, but everyone likes to buy, which is why influencer marketing can be perfect for reaching niche audiences that align with niche products and industries – as long as that audience feels they can trust the influencer’s endorsement as genuine. Which is where video comes in.

Why should you use video in your influencer marketing?

When incorporating an influencer strategy into your overall marketing plan, it’s vital to understand that beyond the sheer amount of eyeballs you’re gaining access to, the main commodity you’re trading is trust. When influencers lend you their audience for a product endorsement, they’re pedaling the good faith of their followers, and vice versa for your product. Simply paying an influencer to throw up a photo of your product with a discount code and a “see link in bio” is not anywhere near valuable enough for the cost associated – for either party involved.

Instead, consider video: Because so much of influencer marketing is based around specific personalities and faces, showing that face in a video with your product is exactly the type of content you should create in your influencer partnerships. Because influencers are trusted and regarded as tastemakers and thought leaders, their authentic endorsements can give your product credibility with their audiences, especially if they’re seen actually using them in a video.

Still not convinced? Check out these statistics.

Lemonlight Influencer Marketing Infographics

How can you create your own influencer video?

Influencer marketing begins with properly identifying the right influencer for your industry and intended audience. After that, you reach out to them or their reps, and pitch them on a collaboration to promote your audience. Usually there’s a payment involved, which can vary dramatically depending on the size of the influencer’s following and the type of video content you want to create.

During this process, you want to communicate your marketing goals with the influencer so they fully understand what you’re looking to achieve from this collaboration, along with the specific messaging you want to share. Once you’re on the same page, it’s important to take the influencer’s lead to determine what type of content will be best for their audience. They know their followers and their own appeal better than you, so don’t try to force anything. Instead, work with them to create the most organic and authentic video content possible that will resonate with their audience and get your message across in the most natural and effective way.

What type of influencer video content should you create?

There are a few different types of video content you can create to maximize your influencer marketing efforts.

1. Original Sponsored Video

The standard style of influencer video content, the original sponsored video is a video that a brand creates in tandem with an influencer about a specific product. These can look like a product review video for influencers who do product reviews, a product demo video where an influencer demonstrates how to use a specific product, or a before and after video where an influencer documents their experience using a product. Other ideas include sponsoring an event where an influencer works with the brand to promote a product or service to newcomers on the street, or an educational DIY-style video where an influencer creates content related to the product, but not directly featuring the product itself, like a DIY “create your own solar panel” video promoting a solar company.  You can even add a product giveaway element, where the influencer offers free products or discount codes in the video itself to followers who take a specific action.

2. Instagram Story Video

One of the other most popular ways to incorporate video into your influencer marketing strategy is by partnering with influencers to create an Instagram Story. Either by sending a product package to the influencer and letting them unbox and review it, or having them try a product or service themselves and live-record their experience to their followers, Instagram Stories are a natural way to use video in your influencer strategy. Stories also support multiple video styles, including testimonials, day in the life, and before and after videos.

An Instagram Story in four different parts.
Source: Gary Vaynerchuk

3. Featured Product Plug

Instead of creating a stand-alone video, you can also work with more traditional video content creators to feature your product or service in a sponsored plug or placement, either at the beginning, middle, or end of one of their own original videos. For example, you would work with an influencer to mention or use your product in a sponsored portion of a video they already had planned – instead of creating your own unique video. This can often be a more affordable option and functions more like a commercial than your typical influencer marketing content. Plugs can come in the form of commercial, brand promo, product or service videos, and more.

4. Brand Ambassador Video

Similar to a more traditional brand spokesperson endorsement video, in this type of influencer video content, the influencer acts as a spokesperson to explain how your product or service works, either acting in a video you write, or creating their own commissioned video that will live on your owned channels. Sometimes this can be a cheaper option than paying for access to an influencer’s own audience, since their workload is smaller than creating a video entirely on their own, and the ask is less because they don’t have to stick their neck out as much with their own audience. These types of collaborations can be even more lucrative for you if they’re undertaken as longer-term engagements, leveraging that influencer’s image (with their permission) over a series of videos, like you might do with a traditional television advertising campaign. The more that the influencer and your brand partner up and come across as naturally aligned, the more that influencer’s audience will get to know and trust your brand. Video styles here can include explainer, brand, crowdfunding, and FAQ videos.

Lemonlight Tip:  For Best Results, Create All Four

When soliciting influencer video content, you want to have a goal in mind. Are you trying to attract customers, engage visitors, nurture leads, or delight current customers? If you have the budget and the right partnership, why not take advantage of all four styles of influencer videos and improve your ROI on all of the above?

  • Attract new customers and raise brand awareness with a Featured Product Plug.
  • Engage with your new audience of followers by creating an Instagram Story Video to keep your product top of mind.
  • Nurture leads with retargeting ads after they view your page from your influencer partner’s page with an Original Sponsored Video.
  • Delight customers with a Brand Ambassador Video that welcomes them to your company’s customer family or gives them product tips and tricks.

Where should your influencer videos go?

With the exception of brand ambassador videos that would go on your owned websites and socials, your influencer video content will likely live on the influencer’s owned channels. You want access to their audiences and the best way to do that is by letting them post the content on their own feed.

And currently, the best influencers are all about Instagram. With 99 percent of influencers saying they use Instagram for at least part of their promotions, Instagram is the best place to identify influencers with strong followings.

However, it’s important to know first and foremost where your intended audience goes online. If you’re looking to tap into an older demographic, Instagram might not be the place; Facebook or YouTube might be a better bet. Work on reaching your intended audience, otherwise, your content will fall flat.

The Final Verdict

It’s no surprise that influencer video marketing is as powerful as it is. In today’s consumer culture, we trust traditional advertising less and less, and base many purchasing decisions on reviews from consumers just like us. The influencer is the perfect middle ground, as the average person finds influencers more credible and believable than the average consumer, and better at explaining how products work than your average Joe. Influencers can either be personalities we want to be like, or trusted resources with expert opinions we look to for advice.

If you’re looking for a new tactic to tap into a new audience, and have budget to spare, you absolutely should be looking to partner with an influencer to create videos. If you found the right influencer and want to work with them to create some inventive content for video advertising and distribution, but need a team to help you get it done, reach out! We’d love to work with you and your company or influencer clients to create the perfect, high quality, affordable video content in whatever style you’d like to work with.

Grant Harvey

Grant Harvey