Influencer marketing has become increasingly popular in an industry where social media is now, more than ever, at the very epicentre. Earlier days involved marketing characterised by an approach that was less structured and was lacking what is typically considered as the stitched-up strategy. This was followed by the larger brands who started to dabble in these spaces under the counsel and advice of 3rd-party influencer marketing experts, who managed to bring about methodology to these processes. This resulted in an increase in brand sentiments that were positive which have gone onto be proven repeatedly through the performance of campaigns and by the industry surveys.
Fuelled in a part by expanding abilities to monitor performance across all the different media platforms, influencer marketing managed to become the more measurable out of the whole media mix. Brands have gone onto develop confidence which was once lacking in previous years. This has resulted in use of digital creators or influencers as a more welcomed and accepted proportion in the overall marketing mix, with higher budgets now allocated towards it. Brands are now offered with the opportunities to really drive the innovation and sophistication of influencer marketing to new levels.
More Integrated, More Strategic
The tactics of earlier days of just placing products into the hands of the influencers with the hope for positive outcomes have been proven to be less effective. The more influential creators are able to be selective when it comes to what brands they would like to work with, as well as when and how they will work with them. Best results can be achieved as soon as the core message of the brand is integrated seamlessly into the content of the influencer in an authentic and organic way.
“The messages need to be clear in the same way as any of the sponsored pieces in Facebook or the 30-second video ads, yet in this particular context, it is a lot more compelling,” says the head of video content at Fat Free Media.
Opposed to just an endorsement or “shout out”, marketers should be looking to find a way in which to integrate the use of products into storylines, which means it adds to the overall content. Gaming industries are the type that excel in these domains, with the brands like Ubisoft who work alongside influencers in order to create the live-action campaigns that tease the new games.
Mercedes Benz has also taken advantage of influencer marketing when they recently agreed to work with Loki the wolf-dog, an Instagram star, whose owner goes on a trip that travels through the Colorado Mountains with this journey displayed through the dog’s eyes. Brands today have to be confident enough in order to empower the influencers into pushing the boundaries of their creativity in the ways that still maintains the style and tone that viewers are accustomed with. Yet they still need to align with the values and messaging of the marketer. In the way of offering creators with key talking-points and brand guidelines, brands are still able to retain strategic control, while the communication still feels organic and authentic.
What Type of Influencer is Right When it Comes to Your Brand?
There are an array of options that are open to different brands when talking about creator talent. To this extent, it is essential that brands do not develop preconceived ideas about who they would like to use, but first narrow the field-of-view by utilising the available demographic-analysis in association with the creator’s audiences. In addition, when considering the increase in influencer fraud within this space, all brands need to practice due diligence in the way of auditing profile analytics in association to the influencer’s audience. If you look “under the hood”, you will easily spot the signs of this type of fraudulent behaviour.
For example, when someone is claiming they are a famous and popular UK influencer but have a massive audience that comes from Indonesia for example or any other random country, it is more than likely they have paid for cheap followers or/and engagements. By basing the brand deals on the guaranteed engagements or organic views and not on the subscribers or followers, brands are able to ensure these are not bots, but rather human actions behind such metrics.
Once you have done this, it is a good idea to step back where you can monitor the passion of the creator for the given project. It will only be when an end-piece of the creativity has been delivered authentically, along with genuine passion, when brands can unleash the magic involved in influencer marketing. It is also worthwhile considering that your goals are not about making ads, but rather to create original and authentic pieces of content that resonate with viewers, along with creating better brand affinity and clearer paths towards a purchase.