Can you even remember a time before #ad? Influencer marketing is alive and kicking, that’s for sure. Just this week, The Drum reported an 83% YOY growth in spend on influencer marketing in the US and Canada.
But like anything, it’s important not to jump blindly on the bandwagon. You need to be confident that influencer marketing is the right choice for your organisation before you invest your time and money. Don’t go for it without carefully considering the following five questions.
What Do You Want to Achieve From Influencer Marketing?
More and more marketers are being swept up in the whirlwind of influencer marketing, believing it’s a tactic they must use – especially if they’re targeting Gen Z.
There is a strong argument in favour of influencer marketing, especially since recent research by Whalar found influencer ads to be far more “emotionally intense and memorable” than ads on TV, Facebook and YouTube. Certainly, influencers can create content with an honest, personal and raw style that is often difficult for organisations to achieve.
That said, influencer marketing can be pricey as well as time-consuming, so you don’t want to be doing it just for a box tick. It’s essential that you are clear on your objectives and the results you want to see from the start. If you’re thinking of working with an influencer, you need to be able to answer:
- What is your reason for using influencer marketing?
- What are you trying to achieve?
- Are you likely to see a return on your investment?
How Will You Measure Success?
It’s not enough just to pin down what you want to achieve. You must also be able to track your progress to see whether you’re meeting your goal.
Think about how you will measure the results of your influencer marketing. Could you ask the influencer to use a hashtag? Or perhaps give them a unique promo code to share with their followers?
In a recent study, 78% of marketers predicted that determining the success of influencer marketing campaigns would be a key challenge for them this year (Adweek). This highlights how important it is to think about how you’re going to measure ROI before you kick off the campaign.
Who Will You Partner With?
To maximise your return on investment, the influencer must be relevant to your products and services. Ultimately, you want their audience to be your target audience because, in very basic terms, influencer marketing is just marketing to your target audience through the medium of an influencer. Just as you do through other channels.
The best place to look for appropriate influencers is amongst your existing community. Think about it: do you have any high-profile clients or customers you could approach? One way to find influencers that are already engaged with you is through social listening (Hootsuite is a brilliant free tool for this). If you have a list of influencers you are considering partnering with, a framework like Net Promoter Score (NPS) can help you discover those that are most loyal to you.
But before you approach anyone, check who their audience is since 18% of the total spend on influencer marketing in Q2 of this year has been lost on fake follower accounts (Instascreener). That’s the last thing you need! Even worse, this figure doesn’t take into account budget wastage on real followers who are just completely irrelevant. On the flip side, beware of partnering with someone who has a very niche following in an attempt to increase relevancy as you could risk excluding other segments of your target audience. Look for a balance in between.
Are You Protecting Your Brand Reputation?
Whilst an influencer is not a part of your organisation and have their own brand, it’s important that you don’t work with someone whose values clash with yours as this could damage your reputation. You need to maintain the brand identity you’ve worked hard to establish, which is why any influencer you partner with should have similar morals and values to you.
How Much Control Will You Have?
No one likes inauthentic influencer marketing; it’s clear when a brand or product is endorsed solely for financial reasons. Of course, influencers should be rewarded for their work, but it’s obvious when someone truly believes in what they are promoting.
The best way to ensure genuine content from an influencer is to partner with someone who is truly interested in your products or services or has an affiliation with your organisation.
Naturally, there’s a fine line between maintaining control over the content you have commissioned and the influencer producing an authentic and unique piece of work. Yes, it’s great if the content fits broadly within your brand guidelines. But, the last thing you want to do is kill the influencer’s creativity – they may well think of something you never would! It’s very important to get the right balance here.
A recommended approach is to agree do’s and don’ts at the start of your partnership. Let the influencer know your non-negotiables: is there a word you want them to avoid using or perhaps something that they must include? Make sure to ask if they have any terms or conditions too. When you’re happy that you’re both on the same page, leave the influencer to it. After all, they’re in the spotlight for a reason!
If You Don’t Know Why You’re Doing It, Don’t Do It
If you’re not sure why you’re doing something, don’t bother doing it! This is good advice for most things really, but particularly for influencer marketing as it can only deliver great results if there’s a well-planned strategy behind it. Just like all marketing efforts.
We don’t want to put you off working with influencers. We just want you to be confident that influencer marketing is the right tactic to help you achieve your goals.
Have you used influencer marketing? We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
Do you need help with your marketing strategy, looking for new ideas, or just need a sounding board? We can support you. Get in touch.