The quick and easy solution is to rely on one of the many companies, such as Linqia and IZEA, that match influencers to organizations. In fact, because these influencer marketing agencies have access to large numbers of influencers conveniently segmented into market niches, that might be the best way to go for marketing projects at scale – if you’re OK with an impersonal approach.
Yet, to truly make the most of your involvement in the $15 billion influencer marketing industry, it’s vital to know exactly what to expect when you partner with an influencer.
As we wrote in our 2020 Digital Marketing Trends Report, you must be able to trust that the creator or creators you hire buy into your values and your message. In most cases, finding that person or those people takes a lot of work.
Know What You’re Getting
What is a good match? In influencer marketing, this can be determined by factors such as:
- The campaign goal or goals – What do you want to accomplish? Are there sales and/or conversion goals attached to the campaign? Is awareness enough, or will the audience be expected to take action based on the influencer’s content?
- The reputation of the influencer – Is the influencer well known and liked by your customers? Can the influencer’s history in the industry enhance your organization’s reputation? Has the influencer been involved in any controversies that could damage your organization’s reputation?
- The primary platform used by the influencer – Does the influencer work on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, SnapChat, LinkedIn? Does that platform reach your audience effectively?
- The willingness of the influencer to work within your budget – How much does the influencer charge? Is that cost reasonable? If it is more than you usually pay, is the budget stretch worth it?
- The willingness of the influencer to share your message as you want it shared – Does the influencer buy into your messaging? Does that messaging resonate with the influencer’s audience? Is the influencer willing to use visual and/or written assets that you have prepared to spread your message?
What’s New for 2020
According to AdAge, more brands are expected to wade into the influencer marketing pool in 2020. This growth will come from brands that are expanding their use of influencers, as well as brands and agencies that are implementing influencer marketing campaigns for the first time.
Ad Age’s influencer marketing predictions make it clear that the “wild west” nature of the industry will begin to take on more structure.
For instance, one of AdAge’s predictions is that the usual metrics of follower count, engagement rate and user actions such as “likes” no longer will suffice as meaningful measurement of success.
Instead, as brands and agencies seek to nail down the real return on investment for influencer marketing campaigns, they will commission brand uplift studies, count and classify conversions, and implement sales lift reports to measure true influence.
Another AdAge prediction regarding influencer marketing: brands and agencies will seek to develop long-term relationships. And this is the answer to our opening question: How you know if you’ve hired the right influencer?
As the name implies, a long-term relationship between the influencer and the brand develops over time. That time is best spent getting to know the influencer personally, as well as on a professional level.
Once that relationship is established, a brand or agency can enjoy a number of benefits, including:
- More in-depth knowledge of the organization’s values and message on the part of the influencer, allowing he or she to turn around projects without having to be taught the high-level details
- More authentic advocacy by the influencer on behalf of the organization
- Deeper insight into customer data from the influencer after he or she has spent a significant amount of time interacting with leads at a granular level
Once an agency or brand has done its homework on an influencer, and once a relationship is established, the brand or agency can leave the rest to the creator. Remember, an influencer knows how best to reach his or her audience. It’s why you hired them.
Find them, vet them, hire them and trust them. That’s how to approach influencer marketing in 2020.