By Lydia Bishop
If you are a brand marketer there has probably been a lot of discussion among your team about influencer marketing. Today, even the savviest big brands are grappling with the development and execution of a smart influencer strategy and how best to show its value. Emerging and mid-sized brands may be familiar with influencer marketing, but in the dark on how to plan, execute and measure an influencer marketing campaign; yet it’s these very brands that have the greatest opportunity to reap the ROI and compete at scale with brands ten times their size.
Sound familiar? If you’re in the throes of developing your marketing plan and have been asked to include influencer marketing into the mix, but do not know where to start, as influencer marketing experts, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about influencer marketing to get you started:
1. What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing focuses on partnering with key influencers to spread the word about your brand to your target audience. It is considered user-generated content because influencers experience your brand and write about it on their blogs with authenticity.
Influencer marketing benefits everyone involved; brands gain credibility with, and exposure to, the influencer’s audience; the influencer gets the opportunity to try a product or service that aligns with his or her interests (and is compensated for doing so); and their followers are inspired, educated and entertained by content from someone they trust, and ultimately motivated to purchase your services or product. In fact, according to a recent Nielsen study, influencer marketing can drive 11x more ROI vs the average traditional digital campaign.
2. How do you identify the best influencers to reach our target audience?
A powerful influencer is very knowledgeable about a particular topic, has credibility with their followers and creates content that is unique, creative and authentic. Influencers can be identified manually, much like editorial targets, which can be cumbersome, time consuming and inefficient. Utilizing proprietary platforms can streamline the identification process, help your brand efficiently find the most relevant influencers and offer end-to-end management of content, community, and analytics.
3. Do you have to pay an influencer to create branded content? If so, can you tell me what this fee should be?
Influencers are increasingly requiring compensation because, frankly, they’re powerhouses and they know it. Many factors determine an influencer’s fee, including their reach and the type(s) of content your campaign requires them to create.
For example, do you want a custom video? How about a product giveaway? Yeah, those’ll cost you. Why? They require more of the influencer’s time -- and time is money, folks. You get it. The good news is there’s always room for negotiation.
To answer your question in short: yes and no. Be prepared to compensate influencers. Exact fees will be determined once you complete your targeting, establish your campaign parameters and begin negotiations.
4. How do you ensure your influencers are communicating your brand’s key messages?
It’s crucial to the success of your campaign that you have a team of influencer marketing experts that can manage influencer expectations from the beginning. These include campaign goals, key brand messages, content requirements, preferred platform distribution and any additional “must-haves” or “do-nots” to ensure back and forth is minimized and the final product is a win-win for both the brand and influencer. The influencer’s authenticity and credibility is what makes their content unique.
Your team of experts should also keep an organized calendar to track the progress of your influencer’s content and to confirm assignments are completed on time. This is especially important if a blog or social post is focused around a specific promotion or holiday, when hitting a deadline is essential to the effectiveness of the content.
5. How do you measure ROI?
The best way to measure the ROI of an influencer marketing campaign is to assign a monetary value to each action, e.g., an Engagement, a View, a ‘Share,’ a ‘Like,’ a Click to eCommerce, etc., and compare the sum of those actions, also known as your “Total Media Value,” to your investment.
Using an influencer platform with backend analytics technology can help automate these calculations, saving time and resources. It can also facilitate retargeting and conversion tracking through pixels that are embedded into each influencers content.
Without a platform, you’re limited to using reach, Google Analytics and social media platform analytics, like Facebook Insights, to come up with an estimated Total Media Value. Not only is this method not capturing actual engagements, it also requires manual calculations, meaning? You guessed it -- it takes up more time and resources and leaves you susceptible to human error.
6. If a brand is paying an influencer to give them a review, isn’t this misleading to the consumer?
Influencer marketing is not editorial – and should never be presented as such. It’s sponsored content that requires transparency from both the influencer and the brand. The Federal Trade Commission requires that disclosure statements be integrated into every piece of content. Some examples of these include:
- Blog Post: This conversation has been sponsored by brandXYZ. The opinions and text are my own.
- Social Post: #ad or #sponsored
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