Over the last six to 12 months, a number of new influencer marketing businesses have entered the industry, each offering their own slant on how campaigns should be run.
For industry people looking to get more value out of their digital strategy, exactly what is best practice when it comes to running an effective influencer marketing campaign can still be vague.
Let’s clear up some of the biggest myths around influencer marketing:
1. Influencer marketing is just another form of media buying
When we started Hypetap in 2014, it was the first influencer marketing tech platform in the Asia-Pacific. We thought a purely automated service could be a great solution but quickly realised once we had run campaigns of our own that there needed to be an element of collaboration and conversation. Influencers need to be able to communicate with marketers and discuss what content appeals to their audiences and how that fits the brief. Tech can never automate this creative process, only aid it.
The most effective influencer marketing campaigns that we’ve seen on Hypetap involve the art and science of authentic content creation. They are produced as a result of true collaboration between the brand or agency and the influencer who knows their audience well, backed up by analytics and good workflow management and reporting tools to ensure campaigns run smoothly.
2. Most influencers are happy to work for product
A common misconception from some brands is that they don’t see the need to pay influencers for their work, particularly if they receive great products to work with.
There is no denying that it is important to find influencers who can genuinely connect with your brand’s offering and become authentic advocates. But it also takes time and effort to create content that is of high quality and it’s important to factor that in.
Influencers are increasingly realising that their time and their reach has the ability to generate significant media value for brands. As a result, they are being seen as professional publishers who are paid for their time, creativity and reach.
3. Influencer marketing is about you as a brand
Very often brands believe that simply paying an influencer to place product is going to suddenly lead to a surge in ROI. The best way to develop relationships with audiences and in time create brand advocacy, is to invest in the influencers. Give them a great experience and something worth sharing beyond a product sample.
Think about ongoing relationships and how you can build advocates and ambassadors for your brand rather than viewing them as a digital billboard.
4. It’s all about the numbers
At Hypetap we’re of course extremely data driven. Numbers are very important and we care about reach and engagement, but the most important element is the cut through of that reach and engagement. How clever was the content? What kind of sentiment did it generate amongst followers? Does the advocacy communicated from the content come across as genuine or does it make you cringe? Will it drive action? These are all questions we should be asking when we are working with influencers on a campaign.
5. A fast campaign is a good campaign
Don’t be drawn into choosing an influencer marketing solution based on how quickly campaigns can be executed on a platform. If anything, it could mean a bunch of content creators have gone out there and created prescribed product placement content without putting much thought into it.
Instead, look at how efficiency will contribute towards creativity and ultimately result in cut through by giving you more time to spend on idea and content generation. Unless there is a very short timeline, which can be expedited by technology, how quickly a campaign is executed tells you nothing about its success. The only benefit to the brand is that they spent less time on execution.
6. You can price an influencer based on their following alone
This is almost as bad as defining influence based on following alone. There is so much more to influence than just following. Things like engagement, sentiment, commentary by followers with intent to purchase and quality of original content. For that reason, all of these things need to be taken into account when you price the work of an influencer for your next campaign.
Although we look at complex data sets to optimise pricing internally, at a very basic level pricing an influencer’s work should be:
Media value (their influence) + an additional sum for how involved the brief is (their time) + what kind of ownership rights you want on their content
Incorporating influencer marketing into your campaign strategy can be a cost effective way to achieve strong reach, engagement and cut through. So take the time, consider your options and think about what will not only help your brand in the short term, but also later down the track.