It’s fair to say influencer marketing has exploded in recent years, but when you get such rapid growth of something new, you invariably run into problems. Maybe an apt analogy here is the Floss, created by influencer extraordinaire Backpack Kid. Suddenly this thing came from out of nowhere and everyone is trying their hand (or arms and hips) at it – but many with limited success and some who are just making themselves look foolish. With the Floss, the experts are obviously the kids who are somehow genetically predisposed to being able to get the timing and facial expression right. But for some reason everyone else, even those with little or no coordination and no underlining knowledge of any form of dancing, think it looks easy and can make a success of it.
There are definitely parallels to influencer marketing here – that it is something that is easy to do. But, that’s certainly not my experience after 15 years in the business. Nor was it the view of the packed room at our inaugural Influencer Marketing Hustle panel event a couple of weeks ago (read our debrief of the event here
) where this topic came up in conversation again and again – alongside the issues that this stratospheric growth has brought along with it, such as ROI, measurement, authenticity and the question of technology vs human insight, to name but a few.
Joining myself on the panel were Tanya Wade (senior manager procurement at adidas), Ana Thorsdottir (associate director influencer marketing, MediaCom), Rebecca Allen (global head of branded content at the drum), Katie Hunter (influencer and social lead, Karmarama) and Gwilym Pugh (influencer, model and photographer) who all did their best to give their industry leading knowledge and experience to these topics. It became quickly evident that there were a number of issues that people not properly versed in the medium were coming up against, so as a panel we pulled together our top tips for making your influencer marketing campaigns successful.
Top Tips to successful influencer marketing
1. Identification is the most important part. Then making sure you’re picking the right people with the greatest affinity for your brand. If you get push back, be confident in your decision and advice – and then stick to it. Back this up with data (e.g. average engagements), set clear goals and make sure they achieve the KPIS.
2. Trust the data. Don’t make decisions based on gut feel or personal inclination. The influencer knows how to speak to their audience, so let them do it.
3. Creating a campaign as an afterthought to get additional reach when panicking is a big no no! Give yourselves time to have objectives. Time to create really good open briefs.
4. Have a clear-cut objective to what you want from that campaign but give influencers the creative freedom. The scope of content can stagnate if brands try and control too much. If you give a brief that is too tight, too controlled, every picture from every influencer is going to look the same.
5. You really must be always on. It is pretty much an unbreakable rule now and it builds trust, authenticity, consistency, deeper engagement, brand safety, better planning and scale, to name but a few.
6. Stop asking and start giving. Stop just asking influencers for something and start giving them some sort of clue what’s in it for them. Think of your relationship with Creators as something that you are building for the long-term.
7. Don’t dictate the campaign’s content – some people are still hesitant to hand over creative control. Audiences can see this a mile off and it casts a negative shadow.
8. Make influencer marketing part of a broader marketing strategy to give the best ROI. Consider mixing it with offline events, feeding influencer marketing creative into ads to reduce the cost of more traditional TV spend, using Creator content to power paid social or transforming cinemagraphs into high-impact OOH billboards to connect online and offline for your audiences.
9. And probably the most important of all. Test and learn, test and learn, test and learn.
Iman Ramani is Head of Sales at Buzzoole