Influencer marketing isn’t a new concept, but it has seen a resurgence in recent years with marketers looking for fresh ways to get attention in a cluttered and competitive digital landscape. Increasingly, brands big and small are asking if they should be investing their advertising dollars into the perfectly framed lives of Instagram celebrities and passionate advocates.
A recent survey by influencer marketing company Klear provides a handy reference on what is charged on average by influencers, from nano to celebrity. The space is still a wild west with limited regulation and a range in professionalism and business savvy from person to person. Some come armed with glossy sales collateral while others need help looking at their analytics to answer basic media questions.
But with anything bright and shiny, it’s important to understand how it should fit in your advertising strategy. Many brands are seeing strong ROI, sometimes even outperforming search, while others have barely seen a blip. And for those brands, they’ve often discovered that they are better off investing more in their existing marketing channels than thinning themselves out further.
So what are some key considerations when thinking about influencer marketing? Here are just a few:
For national brands with deep pockets there are many more opportunities to get influencer marketing right. But for smaller campaigns, partnering with micro influencers in specific niches or locations, a deep dive into their audience is an important step when building a short list.
If your business or message is only relevant to a limited geography, it’s not a given that a local influencer’s audience will match. Even after accounting for fake followers, many influencers with specific niches, like food or travel, will have a large organic following from around the world drawn to the content they produce. Asking how many of their followers reside in your market can provide some surprising results.
One of the strengths of influencer marketing is that, done well, it feels more authentic than traditional advertising, and that resonates with audiences increasingly cynical of the marketing around them. When there’s a natural alignment between an influencer and a brand or message it can be an impactful way to tap into an engaged, trusting audience.
But new rules have required influencers to disclose their relationships with advertisers, making it more obvious to the general public that these are traditional advertisements, just with a fresh coat of paint. And too often, brands are force fitting their products into awkwardly scripted and poorly executed posts. If you’re pushing 1200 greasy calories of burgers, nuggets and fries, partnering with a basketball player might not feel that natural.
Measure, measure, measure
And as with anything in digital, having clear objectives is the key to determining success. Guts are great at choosing lunch, but not so much when it comes to figuring out if a tactic was successful after a campaign finished. Whether you’re trying to sell something online or just increase your social presence, building a measurement framework with clear KPIs before the campaign starts will allow you to determine performance without getting lost in tabs and tabs of data.
While the specific metrics may change, an influencer campaign can still be designed towards sales, engagement or more general awareness objectives. The more consistent those metrics are with other channels, the easier it’ll be to determine if you should continue investing in influencers, or simply strengthen your existing media mix.