It’s time for brands, both big and small, to get smart about influencer marketing if they really want to see it working for them.
This message, delivered at Fashion and Beauty Monitor’s ‘Not Your Average Influencer’ session on day one of the Festival of Marketing, revealed an important fact about influencer marketing – i.e. marketers need to be as involved as the influencers they invest in to get the business results they’re after.
“Influencer marketing is not about throwing money at someone and expecting wonders to happen overnight for your brand,” said Sarah Penny, editor of Fashion and Beauty Monitor.
It is about a long-term partnership with a person who will consistently add value to your business because of the influence they yield online.
Joined on stage by Katharine Plunkett, managing director of Centaur Marketing, Penny debunked some common myths associated with influencer marketing.
There is a general misconception that influencer marketing is for big brands with deep pockets, which, according to the speakers, is simply not true.
“As long as you have consumers to reach, you have influencers that can reach them for you,” said Katharine.
While brands with bigger budgets can undoubtedly afford the price tags that come with the more powerful influencers, smaller brands can also optimise return on their investment if they adopt a smarter, more creative approach.
2. One Size Fits All Approach
There are different kinds and scales of influencers and even if they advocate similar subjects, their content, style and digital network is what makes them unique.
Therefore, even if they are powerful, the impact they can have on one brand will be different from the next depending on how good the fit is.
“Ask yourself if the person you are investing in echoes the same value and belief as your brand. Getting a famous person with a big digital network is not all there is to it. Content is a two-way stream,” notes Penny.
Katharine added, “Zoella may be a YouTube mega star but if there is a disparity in the kind of brands she recommends and those she represents, it’s only a matter of time before consumer trust starts waning.”
On the topic of trust and hot on the heels of the controversy stirred by teenage Instagram star Essena O’Neill after she denounced her Instagram account for being ‘fake’ and ‘dishonest’, the point on transparency cannot be more relevant.
Is influencer marketing dishonest? No.
“At the end of the day, influencers are paid content creators,” said Penny. But not mentioning in the post that they are a paid content creator can be misleading to customers.
“It’s up to brands to maintain a level of trust with their consumers. They have to set out their objectives and contract it with the influencers they are working with.”
4. Influencers are easy to find online
It requires more than a search on Google to find influencers. Sure, there will be lists and hundreds of names to choose from. But to find influencers that are actually right for your brand, it’s not that simple.
That’s because identifying and connecting with influencers is only half the battle won – the other half, well, understanding if they will actually be the right fit for your business.
What do marketers need to do then? One option is to invest in a tool that does the legwork and provides context to reduce man hours spent on research.
Penny gave the audience a first glimpse of Fashion and Beauty Monitor’s new influencer tool, slated for a January 2016 launch.
Apart from listing useful information such as birthdays, speciality subjects and social networks they can be found on, this tool will allow users to drill further down into details such as previous brand affiliations, gifting policies, partnership rates and the other extra details.
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