A CMA Original by Harry Seaton, Managing Director, Fluential
So, influencer marketing. You’ve heard a lot about it, haven’t you? The press aren’t always the nicest about it. Whether it’s an influencer landing themselves in a bit of hot water or a brand seething over a gigantic failure that’s now being dubbed “the end of influencer marketing” or the “bursting of the influencer bubble”.
Now I can’t promise that this blog will put an end to either of those two things. Influencers will always attract drama, people will always get things wrong. But I can promise that if you listen to me carefully, you won’t become another seething brand.
A Numbers Game.
It’s all a numbers game, that’s what they all say. They’re wrong. They’re also right. It is a numbers game, but those that are winning it aren’t playing with the same numbers.
I’m not the first to tell you that follower counts aren’t all that and I sure won’t be the last. You may have recently heard about the influencer with over 2 million followers on Instagram that couldn’t sell 36 items of clothing. Not for someone else’s brand. For her own. Arguably a much easier job.
But it’s called influencer marketing. Not “People with lots of followers” marketing. There are plenty of them.
Influence is a completely different thing. It existed long before follower counts and it’ll exist long after they’re inevitably made redundant. Influence expertise and reason. It’s passion and communication. Above all, influence is trust and belief. From both parties.
“Harry, you were talking about numbers, now you’re talking about trust, stop waffling”. Ok, ok. I get it. These things matter because the numbers we’re meant to be playing with are your bottom line.
You think I’m Captain state the obvious, don’t you? Clearly not, or so many brands and agencies wouldn’t be getting it wrong time and time again.
Show Me The Money
Why do you do any form of marketing? To increase profits. Even if your answer is brand awareness. Brand awareness is just a path to increased profits. It all comes down to that. Growing your business.
If you’ve ever seen me talk or even just had a conversation with me you’ll likely have heard me say this. A lot of people seem to forget everything they know about marketing when they try influencer marketing. We measure influencers by their followers, likes, comments, shares etc. All these numbers that we can see, because it’s all we have on the surface to measure them by. For some reason, people have carried this across to their influencer marketing campaigns, measuring them simply by looking at reach, likes and comments. It’s not enough. They’re just vanity metrics.
It’s brand awareness, of course it is. Reach is sat underneath that umbrella, but it probably won’t convince a board to re-invest in influencer marketing. They’re going to want to see a return. How are you going to prove it to them?
I was going to come up with a witty title, but I can’t. So I’ve gone for one that’s as to the point as possible.
If you have a product you can directly sell – and I don’t just mean any product that’s readily available to buy, I mean something that’s also affordable to near enough everyone at any given time – then a clear option seems like simply sending people to the product page right? Right, kind of. If the content is strong enough, the influencer makes enough sense (do they actually need this or will it be obvious they’re just cashing a cheque?), and you’ve been generous enough to chuck in a discount then it might work. It’s definitely worth trying. It’s much stronger than doing the exact same but instead via Facebook/Instagram ads, as you’ve got the advocacy of the creator on your side.
But, and here comes the very special word that I’ve been saving up this WHOLE time, what about…. Integration.
Think about all the marketing methods you know and love, and all the ways you’re able to prove they work by accurately measuring the return. Why not feed your influencer efforts into those existing machines?
Integration in influencer marketing is where the true success happens. Both when you integrate the product into the influencers existing content efforts so that it makes sense and when you integrate the result into your larger marketing efforts.
For example, email marketing. We build specific email lists solely through our influencer engagement, and you bet they perform better than those that weren’t built that way. Why? Because of the nature in which the audience first discovered the brand, that crucial first engagement they had. Be warned, you might need to tailor the way you communicate to match what they’ve been used to when watching and listening to those influencers.
Even better, what about Facebook Messenger subscriber lists? An incredibly powerful way of communicating as a brand and a method as modern as the influencer ‘bubble’.
The point is these are all really easily trackable, and if the data is solely provided by influencers then you’re still seeing the effectiveness of influencer marketing.
I feel like there’s only so much ranting I can do before I’m asked to leave, so I’ll leave it here. In fact, I’ll leave you with a question…
What are you already doing that could benefit from influencer inclusion?
Because believe me, if you do these things:
- Find influencers that make sense
- Create content that has a purpose
- Integrate it into your existing marketing efforts
- Measure it all properly, as you normally do
It really will be a benefit.