Influencer Marketing is here to stay. In fact, it’s driving such terrific results that Forbes predicts brands will spend $15 billion on Influencer Marketing in 2022. As long as consumers prefer people over ads, Influencer Marketing will continue to WOW us with creative content. Additionally, brands will continue to thrive, watching their target market progress through the buyers’ journey. Now that’s a win-win!
However, before your brand invests more budget in what you hope will be the world’s next viral campaign, stop! First, accept these seven truths about Influencer Marketing. Then, watch out for one big lie that could keep your brand from getting its desired results. Finally, check out these 10 common misconceptions and ways we dispel them.
Truth 1: Proving Influencer Marketing’s success is fast and easy.
Measuring campaign success is possible when you follow a tried and tested process. First, familiarize yourself with what results are possible from each Influencer Campaign activation. Next, identify the campaign’s desired results. Then, create a tracking plan. Finally, ensure you have the right tracking tools.
For example, if your goal is to increase brand awareness by 10 percent, then you could measure that goal by tracking impressions and engagement. However, if your goal is to drive sales and you’ve decided to pair affiliate marketing with Influencer Marketing, then you could measure that goal by the influencer affiliate’s unique click-throughs.
Check out our 4-step process to ensure you’re set up to succeed on your next Influencer Marketing campaign.
Discussing metrics at the outset ensures you have a plan in place so stats aren’t an afterthought. Most importantly, create a baseline at the campaign’s outset, track regularly throughout the campaign, and capture quantitative and qualitative data. That way, when it comes time to craft your results report, you can simply drop the data into the design and prove ROI.
Truth 2: New or small businesses can afford Influencer Marketing.
At Forward Influence, we have worked with businesses of all sizes with budgets small and large. The only thing holding brands back from investing in Influencer Marketing is their decision to take the leap. You can pour huge amounts of money into a campaign or you can limit your spend. Regardless, creating campaigns based on your brand’s desired results—and not your budget—is the number one way to drive ROI.
That said, budget is important. Coupling the right campaign activations with the right budget—whether big or small—does increase the likelihood of hitting your objectives. First, get clarity on your consumer persona and create campaigns with activations that guide them through the buyer’s journey. Next, test your campaign tactics, tweaking and investing more budget as you see results. Finally, develop and implement new strategies as you hit your goals. For instance, you could focus on generating repeat business and evangelists who refer you to their followers.
Starting with a small budget and proving conversion is smart. Then, once you have tried and true practices, investing more budget ensures your already hot marketing fire keeps burning. The results? Attracting and converting more and more customers while turning your current consumers into super fans.
Truth 3: Influencer Marketing works for B2B marketing.
Fortunately, Influencer Marketing works for B2B, too. In fact, InfluencerMarketingHub.com backs up this idea, identifying four elements of a successful B2B marketing strategy. You might be surprised to learn that those elements are similar to any B2C campaign. For example, knowing your audience and setting clear goals. On the other hand, B2B Influencer Marketing may differ from B2C in terms of the types of influencer partners they seek. For instance, LinkedIn business influencers, certified professionals, or credible resources who write or speak on subjects including, but not limited to, the following:
- Data analytics or market research
- Popular topics, requiring expertise or advanced degrees: finance, healthcare, technology
- Supply chain trends
- Trends in consumer goods
Just like with B2C marketing, partnering with the right influencers makes all the difference. They can tell you specifics about their followers and where they are online and offline. Furthermore, they can share the best dates and times to reach them. Lastly, they can share their content preferences and ways to help them take steps toward key calls to action. In short, consulting with expert influencers is a great way to tap into your target market.
Truth 4: Brands can partner with boutique to huge PR firms to drive ROI.
We are big fans of the biggest PR firms in the world. They have the expertise, bandwidth, and creativity to deliver results on a large scale. However, they are not the only option. Sometimes, the best way to accomplish your goals is to let a boutique agency hyper-focus on just a part of your overall marketing “pie.” At Forward Influence, we’ve helped brands of all sizes drive Influencer Marketing campaign results like the following:
- Amplify social media buzz
- Create live events with VIP experiences
- Develop long-term ambassador partnerships
- Drive sales
- Enjoy repeat business
- Generate impressions
- Get contest/giveaway entries
- Increase video views
- Produce creative assets and content
- See positive ratings and reviews
- Raise brand awareness
Truth 5: Influencer Marketing is gaining more traction.
While you may think that Influencer Marketing isn’t going to last, the numbers say the opposite. This popular form of marketing has grown consistently for more than five years. As these statistics share, Influencer Marketing spending is huge and it’s not going away any time soon:
- Shopify predicts: “By 2022, it’s estimated that 72.5% of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budgets over the coming year.”
- Seventy percent of teens trust influencers more than traditional celebrities, according to the Digital Marketing Institute.
- The average earned-media value per $1 spent has increased to $5.78, says InfluencerMarketingHub.com.
- Eighty-six percent of women surveyed rely upon social media platforms for opinions, advice, and recommendations from others, according to Alistdaily.com.
Let the numbers do the talking and bank on Influencer Marketing to round out your marketing plans.
Truth 6: Influencers thrive on community.
Influencers, like other industry members, are connected to and help each other grow. For example, they could belong to trade unions, participate in mastermind groups, and go on retreats together. Or, you may find them frequenting the same conferences, participating in brand-sponsored events, and hanging out in Facebook groups. They talk about everything from best practices and fair pay to which brands and agencies are great partners. Though they are in competition for views and engagement, they partner with other trusted social media mavens to hone their skills and improve their personal results.
What does this mean for your brand? First, you need to treat influencers as relationships instead of transactions. What happens between you and an influencer on a campaign likely won’t stay between you two. Second, maximize the opportunity to tap into their influencer networks. For example, consider asking them for influencer recommendations and introductions they feel would be a fit. This works especially well on campaigns and ambassador programs. Third, consider crafting campaigns that involve teams of influencers.
Truth 7: Finding, vetting, and managing influencers manually lead to results.
Automated tools can be great for finding, vetting, and managing influencers. But, they are not the only option! Furthermore, they are not always the fastest or most accurate choice. When you use (or partner with an Influencer Marketing agency that uses) a manual approach, you benefit from the following:
- Strong relationships with influencers
- Flexibility and adaptability in reaching your campaign’s precise objectives and desired results
- Direct communication, person-to-person as opposed to through a chatbot
- Ability to resolve influencer or campaign problems quickly
- Partnering with resources who are up on the trends
- Quality assurance performed by a human
- FTC compliance ensured by a person
Before making a decision about whether to find, vet, and manage influencers using automated tools or manually, do your research. Then, do a cost/value analysis to see which path is perfect for your brand. If you don’t have the bandwidth to bring on internal resources but you want to go the manual route, consider hiring an Influencer Marketing network.
Lie: Any campaign can go viral with the right tactics and budget.
Not to be repetitive, but the key to campaign success is matching objectives with activations that drive results. While doing that gives you a greater likelihood of creating jaw-dropping, shareable content, nothing can ensure it will hit viral status. That is to say, even if you follow the steps to creating viral campaigns, like the ones Forbes shares, your brand has no guarantee of being the most popular post on the internet. Believing this Influencer Marketing lie leads to missed expectations and frustration with team members or vendors.
Instead of wishing for your content to go viral, follow these steps. First, create Influencer Marketing campaigns based on proven practices. Second, anticipate realistic results—those that match your objectives and activations. Third, increase the budget as you see what moves the needle for your business.
Wrapping It Up
When you enter into campaign planning and execution knowing the truths and lie about Influencer Marketing, you are better able to set realistic expectations. Additionally, when you follow proven processes, you can predict your results. While going viral is fun, the real test of whether your market works is whether you drive your desired results. So, test ideas, analyze findings to see what works, and pour money on that marketing fire to watch it heat up as your consumers convert.