Why Influencer Marketing is here to stay 0 2922

Over the past months, you have probably heard arguments that Influencers are becoming ‘too much’ and that an invisible Influencer Marketing bubble is about to burst anytime soon.

The question though is, is it?

Well, unless your company doesn’t sell a product or service to humans, Influencer Marketing isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Way before Instagram was launched with perfectly curated social media feeds becoming synonymous with high achieving content creators – and many decades before companies partnered with digital celebrities to tap into their social spheres with branded content – movie stars, top models and footballers were using their own names and acquired audiences to endorse products in paid collaborations. People didn’t have any idea about algorithms or ‘likes’, but from the moment the audience could recognize the person fronting a campaign – instead of simply a random person playing a character – the ‘influencer’ factor was switched on.

The main reason influencer marketing has been questioned lately is due to its transparency, authenticity, and the quality of influencers chosen to help push a campaign – something that has more to do with the capacity of in-house marketers and agencies to select the right brand ambassadors rather than with the efficiency of influencer marketing as a valuable tool.

It hasn’t stopped brands and agencies from heavily investing in content creators, though. In fact, Influencer marketing has continued to grow over the last few years, shifting from a respectable $1.7 billion industry in 2016 to an astonishing $6.5 – 8 billion segments in 2019, as reported by the American Influencer Council and Business Insider, respectively.

The statistics surrounding the booming influencer industry probably explains why 8 out of 10 marketing teams have a dedicated budget for influencer marketing this year, as per the 2019 State of Influencer Marketing Report, a global study conducted by Relatable.

Here are the five key reasons that back their decision.

It is scalable

Influencer Marketing is easily adaptable to almost any budget size or region. A recent report by Influencer Marketing Hub, an established Influencer marketing resource for brands and agencies, revealed that 57% of marketers believe that influencer marketing is a scalable tactic in their marketing ecosystem because if a brand wants to create a bigger campaign and target different regions they can alter their approach accordingly. For example, they would need to mainly focus on working with a greater number of influencers with larger followings, as long as they remain relevant to the company’s niche.

It has a higher Return On Investment (ROI)

Because in-house marketers and all agencies need to justify the money spent on any campaign, the so-called ROI (return on investment) remains at the forefront of the minds of most marketing professionals in 2019. However, a 2019 survey of marketers by Mediakix, an influencer marketing agency, shows that 89% of in-house marketers believe that the ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to, or better than, other marketing channels.

It can help to keep the conversation always on

A long time ago, when customers had a preferred outlet to get their daily dose of entertainment and information, it was easy to plan a campaign, target the platforms where your audience would most likely be hanging around and simply sit and wait for the results to come in. That technique no longer applies to any sector, with one-off campaigns becoming a risk too high to bet marketing budgets on. Due to their low costs, as well as their flexibility, “always on” influencer marketing campaigns have proved an effective way of keeping brand values and key messages in constant motion, leveraging long-term brand ambassador partnerships to keep a continuous and fresh stream of branded content.

It is a popular B2C tool

A study by inbound web marketing analytics and optimization agency Blue Corona found that, from over 800 marketing professionals and brand representatives surveyed, 69% of marketing professionals focus their influencer marketing campaigns on the B2C sector, with Instagram and Facebook leading the choices of most used social media channels for campaigns.

Reach new audiences

Besides helping to spread the news about a new campaign through word-of-mouth, sparking conversations about your product or brand amongst fans, Influencer Marketing campaigns also offer brands the opportunity to tap into the new audiences of content creators. Although some products are much more specific than others and one size doesn’t fit all, reaching a new audience beyond a company’s own social media channels will, at least, increase brand awareness.

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Marcio Delgado is a Journalist, speaker and a Content Producer working with brands and publications in the UK and Latin America.

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5 Tips To Shortlist Content Creators 0 1140

You have done your research on influencers you would like to work with.

Then you have spent an astonishing amount of time reaching out to each individual, trying to build a rapport.

Now it is time to sign up the best content creators for your brand; however, what is the best way to select the ones that will bring higher exposure and ROI to your brand?

Watch out for the five tips below before signing the dotted line.

Engagement, not followers

Big numbers of people following an influencer only translates to business benefits if they have genuine engagement from those followers. Do not limit yourself to check the main platform for which you will hire the creator to collaborate on (for example, Instagram). Looking at how your future influencer posts over different outlets will help you to gather his/her strong and weak points as well as how good they are at engaging their followers.

Rates

Money talks.

Besides, it is 2019, no one is working for free to promote a brand.

Ask for a rate card or a breakdown of fees as soon as you start a conversation with a creator. Remember: time is valuable. It is best to know from day one, if you are able to afford that influencer that you see popping everywhere. While negotiating, try to put together a package; this moves the negotiations away from a single post that will bring you almost no results. Long term partnerships also will help to obtain more affordable rates from creators.

Very important: be cautious with influencers that don’t have a standard rate card or individuals who says that it ‘depends on the brand’. Creation is charged based on the amount of work involved, length of image usage and distribution (local versus global campaign, for example). Influencer’s’ rates should not be based on how much a client can afford, instead prices should reflect how much an influencer can bring to the table.

Versatility

You should definitely look for creators that have a hands-on approach to delivering content for you

Although sometimes is great to work with influencers so big that they can now afford to have an entire team producing on their behalf, at the end of the day, it is important to understand that with those ones, you are buying a media slot to tap into their audience built over years – not their exclusive creative mind.

Remember: creators that can deliver not only photos, but also high quality videos, IG stories, etc., will be a plus when negotiating a content package, as you won’t have to hire that service from a third party.

Affinity

No matter how cool the influencers in your shortlist look. At the end of the day it all comes down to delivering a service (content) and producing exposure to your brand (reach).

Nothing works better than collaborating with creators that genuinely like your product or service. Before signing a contract, check previous collaborations of your selected influencers (especially previous collaborations with your direct competitors, if any) and have an upfront conversation with the creator about what he/she already knows about your brand.

Delivery

This is an easy one to start checking from the initial contact.

If an influencer takes a long time to reply to a simple request regarding their fees and availability, chances are he/she isn’t available or willing to work with new clients.

I would recommend chasing up to a maximum of three times to get an answer and give up after that, moving forward to more reliable creators. Truth is: if a creator delays so much to reply to an email where you’re offering to pay them money for their services, you can probably imagine what a nightmare it will be to brief and wait for him/her to deliver the agreed assets for a campaign.

If you get a reply many weeks later, you can politely reply that ‘all the collaboration for this project have now been signed up and it won’t be possible to work together on this occasion.’

It goes without saying that the best tip to shortlist anyone to work with you is your own gut-feeling while looking for the right people to create content for and with you. If something doesn’t look or feel right at the very beginning or you are not sure if an influencer in your list is a right fit, it is always advisable to look for someone else.

Photo: Stephen Kennedy

Influencer outreach best practices 0 287

Influencer outreach with results

It is 2019 and, although we live in an automated era, with bots everywhere, automation is not the optimal approach to outreach to great influencers to work with you. And I can say it by experience, having exchanged messages and contracts with hundreds of content creators over the past years that the best influencers are hard to get on board, as they are likely to be in demand, so a personalised touch is extremely important.

Sharing here a short summary of five steps I have learnt while working with influencers:

Be direct

Pay real attention to the length of your email. Content creators are always on the go, which means that they do not always have enough time to read very long messages and not always a good enough internet connection to spend much time online. Less is more.

Personalize

If you are not sure about the name of the influencer you want to connect to, don’t even bother sending an email until you find out. Do your research on through LinkedIn, Google, Facebook. Ask around. However, you should never send an email starting with “Dear Sir….” Because even amateurs scammers are doing a better job than this.

Send samples

If your campaign is already at a stage that you can disclose samples of what you have in mind, it will help enormously. Not only will this allow the content creator to be able to give you a more accurate reply and quote, but also, it will also set much clearer expectations, for both sides.

Show knowledge about their work

You are more likely to successfully hire the influencer you want to work with by talking about what they are doing right and why their work fits yours brand. Sending them a very long email about how amazing your company is won’t cut it. Stay clear from stupid questions such as ‘What is the main field you write about…?’. If you don’t know the answer to that question, you haven’t done your homework properly.

Talk cash

You would be surprised about the number of companies and agencies spamming influencers with invites for them to create content for free or in exchange for a very little reward. By making clear that you don’t expect them to help you for free, you are already ahead of the game. You don’t have to disclose exact amounts when initially contacting a potential collaborator, but you will have better results making clear that it is a paid collaboration.

 

Photo: Sedat Cakir

 

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