How Brands Can Play a Driving Role in the Evolving Influencer Marketing Sector

Influencer marketing has grown in popularity in a field where social media is at the core of the industry. In previous years, influencer marketing was characterised by a less structured approach lacking what would be considered a ‘stitched-up’ strategy. After this, larger brands started dabbling in the industry using the counsel and advice of third-party influencer marketing experts, to bring methodology to the strategic processes. The overall result was an increase in positive brand sentiment that has been consistently seen and proven via campaign performance and industry surveys.

Fuelled by a growing ability to gauge performance across different media platforms, the influencer marketing industry has become one of the most measurable areas in the overall media mix. Companies have developed a degree of confidence in the influencer marketing scene which was lacking in previous years. Furthermore, the use of influencers (also known as digital creators) is becoming a more accepted section of the marketing mix with budgets being allocated. Marketing assistants are now able to drive influencer marketing initiatives and progress to the next level of online presentation.

Being More Strategic Means Being More Integrated

During the early days of influencer marketing, the strategy was to merely place a product in the influencer’s hands and hope for a potentially positive outcome. The majority of influential creators were selective in the brands they chose to work with, how they worked with them and when they worked with them. The best results were seen when a brand’s primary message was integrated into the influencer content using authentic and organic mechanisms. Of course, the message must be as clear as a sponsored item on Facebook or thirty-second television advertisement; however, in this context, it will be far more intriguing.

Instead of using a simple endorsement or ‘shout out’, marketers should attempt to identify methods for product integration into a storyline that adds to the content instead of dominating it. For example, the gaming industry is superior in this domain with brands using live action campaigns as strategies for teasing new games. On the other hand, the Mercedes Benz brand chose to work in association with the Instagram celebrity, Loki the wolf-dog, whose owner takes a ride through the Colorado Mountains with the trip shown via the eyes of Loki.

The brand needs to be brave enough to help influencers push the boundaries of their creativity in a method that will remain true to the style, tone and appearance to which the viewers are accustomed. Of course, the marketer’s message and values need to be in line with the brand’s promotion. While the creator is provided with guidelines and talking points, it retains a level of strategic control with the communication presenting itself as organic and authentic.

Which Influencer is Suitable for the Brand?

There are numbers options available to brands when it comes to finding creator talent. Based on this information, it is vital that the brands do not have preconceived ideas of who they want to use, but try to narrow their field of view initially using the demographic analysis of creator audiences available. Moreover, considering the increase in influencer fraud within the influencer marketing sphere, brands need to perform due diligence via auditing of profile analytics. It is easy to identify fraudulent behaviour if you take a look ‘under the hood’. For instance, a person claiming to be a renowned influencer in the United Kingdom, but has an audience from random countries like Indonesia, will more than likely be paying for cheap followers and engagements. Basing brand deals on guaranteed organic engagements and views, and not followers, the brand can ensure human interaction behind the profile metrics. Remember, human engagement is always better than relying on bots for promotion.

After performing these tasks, it is recommended that you take a step back and examine the influencer’s passion for the project. It is only when a creative brand project is delivered with a genuine passion that all brands can unleash the success of influencer marketing. Furthermore, it is significant to remember that the overall goal is not to make an advertisement but to create unique content to resonate with the viewer and promote increased brand affinity or a clear path to purchase goods.