Q2 of 2019 was the biggest quarter ever in terms of influencer marketing spend. As more brands clamour to get their products in the hands of the social media elite, let’s see how an influencer marketing agency can make sure your spend punches above its weight and delivers results.
Influencer marketing keeps on rolling
Despite much publicised challenges, influencer marketing is still gaining traction. At the turn of the year, 65% of brands pledged to increase their spend on influencer marketing in 2019. 17% of companies now spend over half of their entire marketing budget on influencer marketing. At OST we now provide influencer marketing services for virtually all of our clients, whereas 5 years ago it was just a handful.
What does an influencer marketing agency do?
Research suggests that roughly three-quarters of consumers use opinions found on social media to inform buying decisions. The opportunity to work with well-chosen influencers to increase brand awareness and boost sales is compelling for brands.
Yet driving positive results from influencer marketing requires careful thought. That’s where an influencer marketing agency can save you time, hassle and money. We would highlight six key ways they can help.
1. Creating an influencer marketing strategy
You know the old saying. Failing to plan is planning to fail. The reason many marketing efforts fail is that they aren’t properly conceived. Likewise, a hit-and-hope approach to influencer marketing is unlikely to generate the results you’re looking for.
A good influencer marketing agency will sit down with you and talk about:
- your objectives (such as increased brand awareness, enhanced social reach or improved sales)
- how you will deliver those objectives
- who you are hoping to reach
- what channels to use (69% of marketers spend most of their influencer budget on Instagram)
- what size influencer to use (from celebrity to nano) and what you will ask them to do
- how long your campaign will last
- what your budget is and how that reconciles with the costs required for your campaign
- how success will be measured and how to access the data
Intent and purpose is everything.
2. Identification of influencers
You don’t have to get your product in the hands of Kim and Kanye to be successful with influencer marketing. It’s about reaching out to the right people for your target audience, which could in fact be a micro-influencer with a relatively modest follower count. Every industry – from manufacturing to telecoms, IT and aerospace – has influencers. It’s just a question of finding them.
61% of marketers find it challenging to choose the best influencers for their campaigns. An influencer marketing agency can help, using influencer platforms to strip away the guesswork and create lists of the most effective targets for your brand, your campaign and your bottom line.
Social media influencers, or their agents can be hard to get hold of. And once you do connect, you have to convince them that your brand is right for them. Not easy when 44% of influencers reject over three-quarters of the proposals they receive. After all, many influencers receive scores if not hundreds of requests every month. They also have their reputation to protect.
You also need to be careful to ensure your messaging is clear and you aren’t offering influencers different benefits (or payment levels). In most industries, influencers tend to know one another, so what you offer one will be picked up by others. Variations in your offer could create unhelpful tensions, or even a public spat. Not ideal.
A good influencer marketing agency will know how to talk to influencers, establish what they want and work out how to get them on board. You also get the added benefit of having an intermediary acting on your behalf, which helps you to get the best deal and ensures they feel well cared-for.
4. Campaign production
Okay, you’ve got your ideal influencer on board. Now what? A good social media agency will work with your influencer to deliver your campaign. That includes arranging photo-shoots, producing or editing videos, ensuring content is on-message and on-brand and liaising between you and your influencer to make sure the right output is delivered at the right time and to the right quality.
Sending emails, following up, arranging calls, sending gifts, maintaining your influencer CRM, creating contracts and paying invoices all takes time. And while not all campaigns are paid, an influencer marketing agency will normally be able to manage payments on your behalf. So you get to spend more time doing what you’re best at.
6. Reporting and ROI
92% of marketers who tried influencer marketing in 2018 found it to be an effective channel. And according to a Tomoson study, businesses earn an average of $6.50 for each dollar spent on influencer marketing. Yet proving ROI can be problematic. 76% of marketers revealed their biggest influencer marketing challenge in 2018 was determining their campaign ROI.
The best influencer marketing agencies will be red hot on analytics. You can expect detailed reporting to evidence the effectiveness of your campaigns and pick apart what you achieved. That will often involve sourcing snapshots of influencers’ social media analytics. But will likely also include things such as UTM tracking to analyse web traffic and the take up of promo codes. Make sure you are getting full reports and analysis from your agency.
It’s all invaluable fuel for your next marketing strategy. Informed data means informed decisions.