Influencer Marketing: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.
Updated: Mar 25
Nearly a decade ago, celebrity endorsements were the only form of influencer marketing.
Commercials were plastered with familiar Hollywood faces and even the Superbowl clearly demonstrated to us that Kendall Jenner is a huge fan of Pepsi and social activism. It absolutely made us go out and grab a case of Pepsi and fight for our rights. Right? Wrong. So wrong.
The problem with using celebrity endorsements is that the average consumer isn’t well… dumb.
We know Kendall Jenner doesn’t wake up and crack open a soda before shooting her Vogue cover. That said, businesses everywhere began seeing the value in this sort of marketing, but consumers needed a subject that was more believable and more relatable.
With the digital space being fiercely competitive, businesses found themselves needing an alternate approach to build a solid sense of trust from their consumers. One of the most effective ways to do that is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing is a form of partnership or collaboration.
A brand or business of any size can collaborate with an influential person to promote something. This could be a product, service, or even a cause.
So, what makes these people so influential you may ask? Numbers. Simply numbers.
A metric called an “engagement rate” is used to measure the level of interaction by followers from content created by a user. It is calculated as total engagement divided by total followers, multiplied by 100. There are ways for social accounts to pretend they have these numbers and simply buying followers or likes. This is why we always recommended running a Social Media audit. These audits can detect any fishy numbers and let you know if their followers are engaging enough to prove value to a business, or if they’re ghost followers (followers who are not active = typically purchased!).
Although engagement rate is important, there are a number of additional key factors businesses should consider when scouting for their ideal influencer or influencers.
1) Discover your Ideal Candidate
Remember, influence is not simply about popularity. People don’t automatically become influencers because they have large followings on social media. If that was the case, the biggest influencers would be those with the deepest pockets for buying followers. For example, if you’re a business that offers fitness or wellness services, make sure that your candidates have the same passion and love for the industry and services offered.
2) Define Your Target Audience
Don’t just think “Is this Influencer my target audience?” because you’re not selling to the influencer; you’re selling to the influencer’s audience. (MMG Pro Tip: It is absolutely okay to ask potential influencers to send you their Facebook or Instagram audience insights such as gender, age range, and locations. They can simply pull these details from their own profile to prove their value to your campaign!)
3) Set Objectives
It will be impossible for you to measure whether your campaign is successful or not if you haven’t set any objectives! The measurement of your ROI at the end of the campaign depends on how you have performed in relation to your initial objective. We recommend you track the following KPIs from each of your influencers:
You can request this information after your influencer has posted their required content. Also, give your influencers adequate time to gain insights before requesting to see the results.
4) Set Your Budget
Most influencer campaigns are based on one of two methods of exchange:
Monetary: The influencer will receive monetary compensation for posting.
Product Exchange: The influencer will get to keep the products they are posting about.
Now that you’ve considered the key factors in implementing your influencer marketing campaign, the next question you’ll need to ask yourself is “Where do I find my perfect influencer?”
The best way to source or scout for aligned bloggers and influencers is to get on your phone, hop on Instagram and start using available resources like location geotags, hashtags, and lookalike accounts. For example, if you’re a small donut shop in Chicago and are looking to get food bloggers into your bakery, you’re likely to search for hashtags like #chifoodies #chitownfood #chicagoblogger.
Save the accounts you think maybe a meaningful partnership. Once you have a clearly defined list of potential influencers, it’s now time for outreach.
When it comes to outreach, we have another valuable MMG Pro Tip! When sending out your initial introduction, don’t give away all the details to the campaign off the hop. Give them select, general information such as type of campaign, budget, and value of the product exchange, and ask if they would be interested in hearing more.
You will reach the most success with your influencer campaign if you reach out to your prospects directly via email, rather than a direct message on social media.
You don’t want to send the campaign details to ALL of your prospects, as a large portion may not be interested, and you don’t want to divulge your entire marketing initiative to every one of them. Save that for the ones who are interested!
Once you have a shortlist of those who are interested, send them your ideal requirements for the campaign. It’s wise to have your influencers sign off on their requirements to ensure accountability, so consider drafting up a contract.
You may also want to review all of their posts - images, captions, and hashtags - before they go live to ensure they are carrying out your carefully curated brand tone and messaging! Although, for some campaigns or with some trusted influencers, you might not deem this necessary.
At this point, your influencer campaign should be off to the races! However, there may be some bumps along the road. Some of your prospects may want more monetary compensation, and some of your influencers may not post on the day you decided on, or at all!
At Marr Media Group, we have been on both sides of the influencer management spectrum and we know how to navigate every move in this ever-changing marketing trend. If you’re thinking influencer marketing may be right for you, don’t hesitate to contact us here to discuss your goals!