Remember when we were kids, and, if you got in trouble and tried to blame it on your pals, your mom would (undoubtably) say “If all your friends jumped off a cliff, does that mean you would too!!??” Influencer marketing is a little bit like that.
You see it everywhere, your peers in the business world can’t stop talking about it, and you competitors are definitely doing it. Does that mean you should too? Not necessarily.
In business, trends come and go, and while influencer marketing definitely isn’t a trend or a fad—92 percent of consumers trust recommendations from peers or trusted authorities—it does require a time commitment, some monetary investment, and a little bit of elbow grease.
Who is Influencer Marketing NOT For?
People who don’t play well with others. The most successful influencer marketing is collaborative, meaning you have to be actively involved and engaged with your influencer (especially to start) in order to capitalize the most from it. The goal is meaningful, authentic, quality content, and that won’t happen without your input.
Leaders, C-Suite types—even brands—with huge, controlling egos! Influencer marketing, at it’s best, is organic and natural. Obviously there are certain corporate social media policies that your influencer should adhere to, what they can—and absolutely cannot—comment about (think politics or religion, perhaps), but otherwise, take your finger off the button and get out of the way. These brand ambassadors have been chosen for a reason: because they are highly knowledgeable and respected in their niches. Step aside, and let them get the job done.
Set it and forget it types. Influencer marketing might be organic and natural, but it is still a critical part of your overall marketing campaign and needs to be watched, nurtured, and measured. If you’re not prepared to do the legwork of crunching numbers and determining ROI, or at the very least prepared to hire the right people to do that analytics work for you, then don’t bother with influencers. Like with any marketing, you’ll end up feeling like you’re not sure if it worked because you won’t be able to see and track real, tangible results.
What You Need to Know to Make the Leap
Ok, you’ve ticked all the above boxes, and you feel confident that you’re ready to dip your toes into the “brand ambassadors” waters. Here are a few things you need to know.
Overall cost. While it’s often hard to quantify the “hard” costs of an influencer marketing campaign—beyond the actual dollar value you’re spending on your influencer or brand ambassador—remember when you’re crafting yours to factor in a few things. Time spent researching influencers, time spent getting to know them, and the time required collaborating with them across the life of the campaign. Those hours have to be clocked by someone, and, while they can add up quickly, they are 100 percent worth it, as the human-to-human connection is what makes a campaign work. Try to estimate the number of manhours you might need when building out your plan, but be sure to leave some wiggle room.
Supply and demand. Supply and demand is playing a huge role right now in the influencer space, with some people saying marketers have thrown too much money at brand ambassadors, too fast. But, as with any market, when the demand is high, and the supply is (relatively) low, the price you have to pay to play will rise. If you’re thinking of bringing influencer marketing into your overall marketing strategy, now is the time to do it.
Let go of the reins. What you don’t want to do is run headlong into a costly influencer marketing campaign without doing your due diligence. Source the wrong brand ambassador, with the wrong audience, and your campaign will fail. As mentioned above, don’t be lured by vanity metrics or big names. If they don’t fit with your brand or product, there’s not enough money in the world that will result in a viable return on investment. There are many software platforms out there (like ours!) that can help you find the exact person you need for your campaign. And there are consultants and others who are extremely knowledgeable about this new way of marketing. Don’t be afraid to go outside your four corporate walls for the right advice.
Hopefully you feel confident now to start exploring influencer marketing, or to give it another shot if your last campaign’s results were less than stellar. Done right, it’s extremely powerful, and you’ll be glad you took the leap.
Not sure GroupHigh would like this?? Can be reworded or taken out completely – just thought it was a nice, natural place for a slightly tongue-in-cheek company plug! 😉