5 Tips to Sharpen Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Seems that everyone’s talking about Influencer Marketing. Trade media says marketers are ‘wasting’ billions on Influencer Marketing campaigns that are not delivering . Mainstream media covers everything from Unilever’s CMO calling for ‘urgent action’ to tackle influencer fraud to the more local shutting down of Bloggers Unveiled in Ireland.
Brands are attempting to capitalise on the power of influencers – big name stars like Kendall Jenner reportedly get paid between $125,000 – $300,000 per Instagram post. She has over 93 million Instagram followers. You Tubers upload 400 hours of video content every minute, and even if the over-25s don’t know who they are, they’re instantly recognisable to the internet-savvy Gen Z, who grew up with the platform.
It’s the wild west out there. Like the rest of the internet, there’s little or no regulation covering the grey area where content meets advertising. YouTube may lead for video, but most Influencers will be present across a number of channels – Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc.
With 82% of Gen Z allegedly skipping ads as fast as they can, finding new ways to connect with them is top of mind – and influencers are a way in.
Influencers are, however, just another media channel. If you include it in your marketing mix (and you should, depending – obviously – on your audience) subject it to the same forensic interrogation you employ for other media channels.
5 Steps to getting better value from Influencer Marketing
1. Be clear on your objectives
What are you trying to achieve with this channel? Awareness? Or a longer-term metric like favourability or preference? Nail it down prior to selecting your Influencer. Distinguish between followers and engagement - ‘buying eyeballs’ through an Influencer with a huge following can achieve simple brand awareness, changing brand perception requires an influencer genuinely aligned to your brand values. Their followers are quick to challenge inauthenticity.
Stop chasing vanity metrics!
2. Do a full background check
Having selected your Influencers, do a full background check. Look at their previous partnerships, look at their expressed viewpoints, what products they use, or have used in the past. Look at their stats – are their followers real? Do they engage? Does the Influencer in question spark conversation and debate?
Again, authenticity is king.
3. Put a contract in place
Too many brands have entered into partnerships without putting everything in writing and have come to regret it when the honeymoon period is over. Specify what you expect as a brand, how you need the Influencer to behave when representing your brand (including adhering to relevant advertising standards and state their role and responsibilities. While you can’t give your Influencer a completely free rein, equally you can’t dictate their every post –
you have to define a way of working that works.
4. Set KPIs
This is part of your marketing spend, so define what exactly you hope to achieve from the investment. Do you want to drive purchase online (easier to measure)? Or is your goal slightly more esoteric? Are you trying to change attitudes or perceptions towards your brand and/or your category? Whatever it is, put a stake in the ground. How do you define success?
In the absence of clearly stated goals, measurement vs. goals is impossible.
5. Review, Measure, Adjust
Clearly this is a lot easier for brands handing out affinity codes etc to be shared with followers and fans but in a world where purchase is not the immediate goal and/or cannot be tracked, how will you measure? Will it be ‘likes’? Video views? Other forms of engagement. Will you do before/after sentiment surveys? You might not get it right first time, that’s ok. Test and learn.
But you won’t learn without evaluation.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that Influencer Marketing is about the power of collaboration and choosing the right person to work with depends on a lot more factors than just their follower number.