“In a world in which we have little external control over the brand narrative, communications professionals must influence, not wrangle, the way the narrative spreads through social and other digital channels.” ― Erin Estep, Director of Strategic Communications at SiriusDecisions
Most are fully aware that traditional avenues of advertising are in serious decline right alongside consumer trust in advertising. What many may not be privy to is that many digital tactics are also becoming antiquated and ineffective.
Banner ads and similar adverts are all but dead. This is largely due to the fact that consumers don’t just distrust traditional advertising; they don’t trust advertising as a whole. This is why 47% of consumers employ ad-blocking technology, as reported by the Reuters Institute.
Considering that buyers are turning away from marketing messages at an unprecedented rate, coupled with the fact that organic reach on social media continues to recede, marketers have a serious problem.
In recent years, however, a solution has emerged; influencer marketing. This practice allows brands to spread the good word about their offerings, without meeting the more typical hurdles like ad-blockers; and it works stunningly well.
Proving this point, Fanatics Media CEO Mark Fidelman recently chatted with John Rampton about what CEOs are missing when it comes to influencer marketing.
Check out the deep insights Mark and John brought to light. These guys know their stuff and are entertaining too; big time bonus!
#1: The Turtle Knows Best
As the saying goes, slow and steady wins the race.
Influencer marketing, while extremely effective, does not produce overnight results like PPC ads might. A brand might gain some sales from the initial push, but the real result of such campaigns is long-term engagement and heightened brand perception; and that takes time.
The long play is well worth the investment, however, as one Tomoson study uncovered that influencer marketing generates $6.50 for every $1 spent, on average.
As Mark pointed out, however, certain industries can achieve a higher ROI. Fanatics Media’s sister agency, Evolve! Inc., managed an influencer campaign for skincare provider, Curology, in which $15 in subscription revenue was created for every $1 spent on YouTube influencers over the course of 1 year.
The practice might require more time than some are comfortable with, but the long-lasting effects are well worth the patience.
#2: Sturdy Groundwork is a Must
To succeed in influencer marketing, campaigns must have clearly defined goals that correlate to an organization’s overall intentions. These objectives should be able to be quantifiably measured by data points such as cost per conversion, cost per video view, and other metrics that can point to effectiveness.
A concise and resonant message is also critical. If your message is off point, the campaign will likely fail. No matter what idea you seek to communicate, be sure to allow ample room for influencer variance.
Social authorities have become so respected and sought after because they present themselves authentically in a market that typically just tries to pander to audiences. If you don’t allow an influencer to shine and be themselves, your message will probably feel like a pitch and turn off audiences.
Most importantly, if you really seek to gain an ROI from your campaign, stay within your budget. There are many factors here where price varies greatly; influencer size and engagement rates, sponsorship types, and similar elements will all impact cost.
In Mark’s experience, however, integrated videos should clock in at about .04 – .07 cost per view (CPV). Dedicated content naturally costs a bit more at around .08 to .15 CPV.
Be sure to account for all of this in addition to other vital elements such as promotional advertisements, supporting content, listening tools, etc.
#3: Find What Works and Scale Up
Influencer marketing is not going to produce results for brands across the board. Much like how social media ads produce stellar results for about 20% of companies, influencer marketing follows a similar pattern.
The key to generating results with influencers is to A/B test every aspect of the campaign; play with calls to action, campaign messages, video formats, influencer niches, etc. and move forward with your most prosperous elements. Moreover, A/B testing will help prevent you from sinking money into failing tactics.
In Curology’s case, dedicated videos were far more effective than integrated. Additionally, the most successful influencers were able to drive 50,000 – 250,000 views each.
Once you have identified the best messages and avenues, scale up by investing more into those aspects, but continue to A/B test and really sharpen your sword.
#4: Take Inventory of Your Resources
Managing an influencer campaign properly comes down to one simple question: Do you have more time or money?
If you are abundant in time, conduct your own influencer research using the bounty of influencer identification tools at your disposal along with social media.
If time is limited and you want to trust the pros, hire a professional, specialized agency. These type of agencies understand the nuances and intricacies of influencer marketing and have working relationships with a wide range of influencers. Since the environment of influencer marketing has yet to solidify or become standardized, these folks will be able to have you navigate the landscape better than anyone, saving you from some potentially costly mistakes. Moreover, there is a good chance that such firms will be able to reduce the overall price of your campaign as some have premium rates with social authorities.
#5: Social Media Hacks
The ability to differentiate the strengths and weaknesses of each social platform is essential to influencer marketing.
A powerful social hack for Instagram is to leverage smaller, up-and-coming influencers to give your brand shout-outs. This is a great way of driving traffic, sales, downloads, and other company goals for a minimal cost. If you see that an influencer lists their Kik information, reach out to them there.
Twitter ad hacks can also ne an excellent resource of traffic. Simply build a list of top influencers within a given niche, go to their demographics and target similar audiences at an extremely low bid; roughly $0.02.
After about a day, the campaign will be stopped as it is not profitable. Just clone the campaign, making minor adjustments, and start it again to continue driving traffic for a few pennies.
Influencer marketing certainly has its challenges, but the benefits that can be reaped are well worth the semi-steep learning curve. Be sure to check out the rest of the insights shared between John and Mark here.
Ready to try your hand at influencer marketing? Let us know and we can significantly shorten the learning curve for you.