Influencer Marketing is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future, with 60% of marketers confirmed that they will raise their influencer marketing budget during 2019. Born from PR Teams contacting bloggers, in the same way they would approach press and celebrities, the recognition of an influencer’s value to a brand by offer of payment has concretely establishedInfluencer Marketing and its consideration as an integral part of digital strategy.

It’s now no longer a new concept, but still remains relatively unknown and often poorly managed, whether due to in experience, opportunistic partnerships or even a simple lack of time to dedicate to campaigns. However, as more brands look to partner with Influencers and vice versa, it’s important to get this approach right. From initial Instagram analytics citing follower demographic, to wider-reaching data reflective of bigger trends and direction, the major component here is synergy.

In collaboration with Eleri Jones, Digital Marketing Manager for Rodial and Nip+Fab, we’ve put together our top tips for partnering with Influencers and how to create the right campaign to deliver the desired objectives.

Who is the right Influencer for your brand?

There’s no denying that Influencer Marketing exploded in the last year, with statistics suggesting that there are at least over 400 million blogs online. Though the UK only accounts for 7% of the world’s influencers, that’s still a hefty batch of talent to sift through to find the perfect fit. So how, or even where, do you start? 

As a general approach to Influencer Marketing, structure your campaign strategy like a newsstand, making sure your Influencers cover each category of publication, from the quarterly, coffee-table reads to the daily, fast-selling papers. You can refine your initial talent search based on the objective of your campaign. Are you looking to raise brand awareness with a long-lasting partnership and gradual seeded content? Or promote a quick offer and need immediate sales driven by multiple influencer channels? 

Know your customer and who you’re targeting and align your search to this demographic. It’s no interest using Influencers with impressive followings but little impact on who you actually want to reach. Check their insights for age, gender and location to make sure their community reflects the objectives of your campaign. As an Influencer, you should be ready to share this, asking yourself too if it’s the right fit. An ill-matched campaign affects both sides: the brand won’t see the anticipated result and you’ll inevitably lose credibility on your own account. 

It’s also important to look for Influencers who demonstrate the same brand standards as you for cohesive and well-integrated content, both on their feed and yours. You’ll want to check the standard of their content and assets to make sure they can portray the brand in the way you’re satisfied, as well as giving you well-received material to use on your own channels if agreed in contract. 

You’ve got the Who, now let’s look at the How

Do your research and take your time. If you’re unsure of a particular market, use technology to guide your search and help you better understand the landscape. Group High is particularly useful for streamlining the process, identifying bloggers and giving you fast access to reach and tracked engagement. Also consider agencies if needed, for effective project management and established contacts. If you’re a brand looking to launch in a new country or new market, make use of the tools around you and local industry knowledge to help construct the best campaign. 

Agree on all terms beforehand, making sure that you have clearly defined your objective and communicated this clearly to Influencers. Ultimately, they are your content creators but if deliverables have been met, though perhaps not in the way you most wanted, you won’t have much room to manoeuvre. It’s also important to remember that this is a partnership; trust that they will create the content for your brand in way they see best. If anything, and we mean absolutely anything, doesn’t seem clear, take the time to clarify to make sure both parties have a shared and reasonable expectation of the outcome. 

Let’s Get Analytical

As a brand, though a long-lasting partnership and brand ambassador foresight will be a major factor of campaigns, you’ll also be looking for ROI and overall success, both for the individual project and also as a positive sign for development. 

There are several methods to measure Influencer Marketing, but it’s important to not just look at surface data. Though likes and engagement on the Influencers’ channels are initial signs of good reception, look at how the campaign has impacted on brand engagement. Integrate tracking links into generated content to see not only the amount of traffic, but where it’s coming from. Also consider new sessions and new customers, as well as revenue, for an overall impression of the effectiveness of the campaign. Look beyond the last click and use attribution data to see how all your channels are working together for a bigger and more informative picture of the results. It’s also worth noting that though almost impossible to fully align, take a look at store footfall where appropriate. You’re running a digital campaign, but that doesn’t mean its impact can’t be seen offline as well. 

Stick to the Rules

We can’t impress how important it is to know the ASA guidelines and make sure that paid partnerships are disclosed correctly. We’ll be going into further detail about the rules and regs in a later post with platform specifics, but as a brand, it’s essential that you, through your Influencers, correctly declare where paid media has been used. Though not necessarily a criminal offence, you’ll be liable to fines and content removal if campaigns aren’t seen to follow the stated regulations. This not only looks bad for you, but will also affect the Influencer’s performance and potentially damage the partnership. If you’re not working with Influencers able to use the “Paid Partnership with…” feature (available to verified accounts and those with 50,000 followers and above), make sure you’re clued up on #ad and #spon and exactly when and where these need to appear, honestly and obviously informing viewers that they’re watching an advertisement.

Work Together

It’s no surprise that Influencer Marketing is becoming ever more present in brand marketing strategies, with over 31 percent of consumers across the US and Europe saying that they have purchased a product or service based on a social influencer post. As an additional revenue stream for brands, Influencer Marketing opens a channel to better communicate with brand communities and reach out to new markets. 

  Advice for  Brands - make sure that your talent aligns cohesively with the ethos of the whole company and not just the campaign. Short-term, you’ll be looking for a successful campaign, but long-term, you’ll want to consider integrating this talent into potential brand ambassador roles. Furthermore, be clear on both your objectives and expectations and make sure this is fully understood on all sides. 

Advice for  Influencers - stay true to who you are, define your brand and stick to it. Along the lines of quality over quantity, consider also continuity, looking for brand partnerships that reflect your content or the direction you wish to take it in longer-term. The money is nice, but brands are wary of being duped by greedy influencers that have taken advantage of inexperience in the industry. Influencers who have saturated their feeds with sponsored content are now feeling the weight of ad heavy material, with less engaged followings and lower results. Take the time to understand the brand and the partnership being discussed to deliver the best outcome for both sides. 

Rhian Hart