Influencer marketing is on the rise. Google Trends data reveals that interest in influencer marketing increased by 200% from 2016 to 2017, then grew again by over 350% by 2018. The global ad spend on influencer marketing is predicted to be somewhere between 5 and 10 billion dollars by 2020 and it may even surpass this.
As the influencer marketing industry continues its rapid and explosive growth, new tools, platforms, and services are popping up and promising extraordinary returns on your marketing investment. But how do you know which ones can drive results for your brand?
Before you decide to work with an influencer marketing agency or hire influencers for your brand, here are seven big questions to ask yourself about your business:
How well do you know your target market?
Without a well-defined and tailored target market in mind, your campaigns will be costly and ineffective. No matter how broad your potential customer base might be, narrowing your ideal demographic for each campaign serves multiple purposes. It helps in identifying the best influencers for your brand, in choosing the right channels, and in developing content that gets noticed and truly resonates with your market.
Some companies use existing customer data and market research to develop buyer personas. These semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer help focus and potentially segment your marketing efforts and may include customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, location, needs, and much more. The more detailed you are in defining your target market, the more successful your influencer campaigns will be.
Where are your ideal customers?
Over the past few years, there have been significant shifts in the way people relate to marketing and consume media. Attention spans are more fragmented than ever before across multiple social media platforms, and trust in traditional celebrity endorsements is at an all-time low. In a crowded and competitive marketplace, your potential customers are looking for genuine and trusted recommendations from “regular” folks who are more like peers or whose lives seem somewhat attainable.
What’s more, they are looking for these recommendations on the online hubs they already frequent on a daily basis. A recent Pew Research Center report shows that Facebook, Instagram & YouTube are currently dominating the social media landscape among adults, but each network suits a different niche. To determine which platforms your target audience is using, take the time to understand how each one functions and caters to its unique audience.
If your company is already active on social media, use analytics and social listening tools to determine where your brand is generating the most engagement on and especially off your brand pages and accounts. Who is talking about your brand on their own profiles? What are they saying? What type of content seems to resonate the most with your target audience – story posts, photos, videos, etc.? Once you understand your target audience’s needs and where to reach them, your agency can craft an influencer campaign that will be a perfect fit for your brand.
How would I measure the success of our influencer campaign?
In a recent post on Marketing & Growth Hacking, Shane Barker explores the 6 Important KPIs of Influencer Marketing That You Should Know. These include boosting brand awareness, growing social media engagement, driving website traffic, and more. In other words, there are many influencer marketing KPIs you could track. The success of your specific campaign begins with figuring out which ones apply to you.
Understanding your company’s goals is just as important in identifying the right influencers for your brand. In his 2012 report The Rise of Digital Influence and How to Measure It, Brian Solis identified reach, resonance, and relevance as the framework for assessing the value of an influencer. Are they liked and respected by your ideal customers? Do they offer a level of authority or expertise in your target market? Are they on the social media platforms where your campaign will take place?
Starting with a clear vision of your own objectives and audience equips the right influencer marketing agency to offer the best guidance and support for your marketing strategy. It also means having more meaningful and successful relationships with influencers and driving the results you want for your brand
What type of content are you looking to explore?
The first questions you will be asked by any influencer marketing agency is “what type of content would like to see produced by your campaign?” and “what do you want the influencers to do to promote your brand?” The answer to both of these questions depends on how well you understand your own product.
What would it take to experience and understand all of its benefits? How long would someone have to use your product to see some satisfying results? Would you consider it a big purchase or a casual buy?
Whether it’s through the written word on a blog or a seemingly spontaneous story on Instagram, the goal of any campaign is to present your product in the best, most engaging way possible. You should also consider how you could repurpose any content that’s developed by influencers, especially if you decide to do several campaigns throughout the year. For example, a long video can be edited into shorter clips for Facebook ads or Snapchat Discover. Quotes from a blog post can be transformed into tweets. Photos might translate nicely onto Pinterest or Instagram.
Are you looking for a short-term campaign or a long-term relationship?
Some product encounters lend themselves to short-term, one-off campaigns with many influencers while others require the cultivation of a long-term relationship between key influencers and the brand. Both can create a tremendous amount of value in their own way, but how do you know which is an ideal choice for your company? Perhaps you can integrate both into your campaign?
Long-term partnerships with influencers offer many rewards. Because both parties have a vested interest in one another’s growth and success, they foster greater authenticity, increased word-of-mouth, and the most value over time. It takes work to build and nurture strong relationships with influencers, and an influencer marketing agency can help you vet and qualify the right ones for your brand.
One-off collaborations with influencers can be as simple as a sponsored blog or social media post, a hosted contest, a video demo, or more. While short-term campaigns might appear to be a quick and easy way to experiment with influencer marketing, one-off collaborations lack the impact of a long-term and measured partnership and do not offer room for learning or growth. It’s better to be consistently working with influencers in the market to ensure that you are indeed focusing on the right audience, tools, and metrics.
What are your budget and your timeline?
When it comes to working with influencers, there is no set rate. Fees and expenses will vary depending on the type of collaboration you’re seeking, the compensation you are willing to provide to influencers, and the management needed for your campaign. For example, some brands will pay for a hotel stay, meals, and an experience in order to showcase their product or service. Others might simply send a sample of their product and ask the influencers to review it.
Rates will also be heavily reliant on the type and level of influencer you are looking to hire. Some niches are more expensive than others, and likewise, some influencers are simply in higher demand. In its 2017 Global Comms Report: Challenges and Trends, Cision examined the different types of marketing influencers and how to leverage their popularity and impact to reach your customers.
Perhaps it makes sense to include paid media to boost your influencer campaign. In this case, the influencer agency you work with should be able to explain the best platforms and methods to use.
The duration of your campaign is another big factor when it comes to cost. As explained above, there are significant differences between a short-term campaign versus having a long-term relationship with key influencers. Regardless of the length or nature of your influencer campaign, a qualified and reputable influencer marketing agency can offer guidance, oversight, and cost-bundling efforts to help maximize your ROI.
What type of influencer marketing agency do you want to work with?
The word “agency” broadly describes a certain business model, but there are distinct types when it comes to influencer marketing. It’s worth considering how each one functions before determining which one is the right fit for your brand.
There are agencies that manage a portfolio of select social media personalities the same way a talent agency represents an actress, a writer, or a comedian. If there is a high-profile influencer or celebrity your company would like to work with, find out if they have a management agency. They can negotiate terms and simplify the process of hiring the influencer.
Marketplaces or cooperatives invite influencers to sign up and tick their areas of interest. These services will often require registered influencers to meet a specific threshold of fans and followers and provide basic demographic details, social media accounts, or other information. Brands can either submit their upcoming campaigns and invite interested influencers to apply, or simply search the company’s database using keywords depending on the platform or service. Some use data-driven platforms to match influencers to campaigns, track performance, and measure results while others do not. The cost and effectiveness of your campaign should reflect this.
Independent influencer marketing agencies like Blissful Media Group along with digital marketing companies, PR firms, and advertising agencies are hired to work in the best interest of your brand and can support your influencer campaigns from beginning to end. While influencer outreach might be offered as an extension to a portfolio of work that another creative or PR firm is already doing for your brand, an independent influencer marketing agency offers specialization, great results, and expert industry knowledge across each stage of your campaign. An influencer marketing agency can help hone your strategy, create meaningful relationships with proven and vetted influencers, and drive the results you want for your brand.
Having been at the forefront of the industry for quite some time, Blissful Media Group has developed broader and deeper relationships with influencers within popular content verticals. We offer a suite of tailored services including content creation (written, photo, video), content amplification, strategy, research and casting, managed services, and more. We can personally vet influencers in a way that automated platforms cannot.