The debate rages on regarding the effectiveness of influencer marketing, with latest research from Fresh Relevance revealing that only 22 per cent of UK retail brands are currently using influencers.
Yet, with the same research revealing that more than half of those aged between 18 and 34 are more interested in a brand that uses influencers, compared with only 15 per cent of those aged 55+, it seems like we’re seeing evidence of a generational divide rather than a reflection on the effectiveness of the channel.
Thanks to its immediacy, influencer marketing has proved to be particularly effective on mobile, and with reports of 5:1 returns on many recent campaigns it’s time for marketers to put aside their own biases and start considering how they can best use influencers to target their audiences.
To ensure each campaign starts on the right foot here are the five key areas to focus on when working with influencer.
1. Target, then shoot.
Getting the right partnership is priority. You can buy as many eyeballs as you want from a big-hitting influencer but if their fans are not your potential fans then you’ve lost the game. Having even a passing understanding of your target audience and their interests can help you identify an influencer that could significantly impact sales if used in the right way. This applies whether it’s a B2B or B2C campaign.
There is a huge range of influencers out there, so making best use of the available insight is essential. We use a good deal of technology to help us find the key players for our clients, but we also use our eyeballs!
2. Avoid a brand clash.
When you know who you are looking to partner with, go the whole hog when it comes to background checks. You wouldn’t employ someone without doing this, so apply the same diligence when choosing influencers. You don’t want to find out an influencer on your campaign list is actually in jail – as someone we know once did! Joking aside, has the influencer worked for, mentioned, discussed or shared your competitor’s content before? If they have, tread carefully. Was it recently? If so, maybe best to avoid them altogether unless you feel their previous activity was not significant or not picked up by their fans.
3. Can you let go?
To get the best content, responses and therefore results, you are going to have to ask yourself “can I give creative control to the influencer(s)?”. If the answer is no, then maybe you’re not ready for getting in to this area. That doesn’t mean they have the final sign-off on anything and everything, as the brand owner you’ll always have ultimate control but you must give them the freedom to come up with their best ideas that will fly for you – after all, they know their fans and audience better than you. Here’s where a solid contract comes in; more on that later. We find the best way to work with influencers is by opening up our creative skills and ideas and they do the same back – close collaboration is the perfect way to work.
4. Be damn nosey.
You’ve got to track this stuff. It’s pointless firing your natured content out to the masses and then waiting and wondering when the sales or web traffic will flood in (if at all). Being brutally honest, you need to be tracking everything, everyday from everyone. This sounds like a big task… and it is. Monitoring real-time means you can see what flies off the chart and what just falls in the ditch. As soon as you spot either of these, do more of them and re-engineer them off respectively.
We recently launched a campaign with a large number of social assets to test for effectiveness and quickly saw data showing us that three of assets were outstripping the others by a 6:1 ratio. We took down the ineffective ones, re-engineered them to learn from the effective ones and then relaunched them. At the same time we pushed the originally effective ones harder until they could handle no more.
And the effect? All the assets were performing extremely well and delivering the results.
We saw this at 10am on launch day and by 2pm the same day the new strategy and assets were in place – real time monitoring, real time actions that gave our client really superb results.
Most of us don’t like wading through contracts and legal text because we’re marketing folk and we like to focus on the tasks in hand – such as getting the campaigns out of the door. But your contract with an influencer(s) is absolutely key to the success of the partnership. In actual fact the overarching contract should never be needed, but a declaration of timings and deliverables cannot be ignored. You never want to fall back on a contract because usually that means something smelly has hit the fan but a scope of work, backed up by a contract between both parties, acts as an invaluable worksheet. It clearly sets out who’s doing what, by when, how and where, and as such it’s a very useful tool. We had occasion to look back at a contract recently because the initial activity didn’t quite play out the way we wanted. But a quick discussion over the contract showed that everyone involved should go again at the objective because it was in everyone’s interest. And guess what? This happened because it was in black & white.
Influencer marketing can provide an effective way of reaching your target audience and encouraging them to take action when planned out properly. For those marketers wanting to position themselves at the top of the curve there’s an opportunity to demonstrate a real return on investment.