There's nothing new about Influencer Marketing. It's been around since the dawn of advertising and PR through brands working with celebrities, journalists, editors etc whose job it is to influence people. These days, there are just more avenues for influencers to grow a following and brands to access audiences through.
The rules to a successful influencer marketing campaign remain the same. Find the right influencer, understand their audience and let them speak to them in their own voice. It seems simple on paper, but in practice it's very difficult. We see brands and agencies failing to deliver meaningful influencer marketing campaigns daily....often quite embarrassingly so.
The thing is, the world of influencer marketing is messy, brands don't fully understand it and everyone under the sun is calling themselves an influencer. It's a tough space for brands to navigate to find the right social influencers. It takes time, effort and lot of knowledge of where / how to find them. Picture the scene....you spend a week finding 10 influencers (time), you have to manage 10 influencers (more time), their schedules (where does it end), their questions....add to that your internal discussions, the creative planning, the execution and the delivery....is it any wonder people fail?
The problem with Influencer Marketing recently is that it's seen as a transaction. Influencers are talking about anything, as long as they get paid, some seem happy to flood people's news feeds with products they aren't really interested in or know a lot about. Brands are happy to purchase a Tweet, a YouTube video or a picture on Instagram without much thought into the creative, the audience insights or the actual goal.
The modern trend for influencers, is to grow a following and look to monetise it as quickly as possible...are they are real influencer or are they just interested in the cash? I'll let you answer that. Are the influencers specialists? Probably not. Have the influencers done their research on the brand / product? Probably not. Do they care the brand isn't relevant to their audience? Probably not. Will they say no? Probably not. Is it mostly about the money? I think you know the answer!
The relationship goes as follows : Brand approaches influencer, influencer says price, brand says yes, influencer posts, the campaign ends....they never speak again. Boy approaches a girl in a club, they get along, go home together, have their fun and never speak again. It's a short term gain, where's the value? Yes, I'm aware I just compared influencer marketing to a one night stand, but it's true! Influencers and brands are saying yes to anything, there's no creative or thought to connect to audiences...it's just "post this, you get £££"
Influencer marketing isn't about being sent a list of influencers, picking who you like the look of and saying yes...it's much, much more than that. When has marketing ever been so easy? It's not! To do something well, it's not easy and influencer marketing is no different.
It's time to evolve the process and show that influencer marketing is more than just a transaction or purchase....it's also time to show that influencers won't just post anything and that audiences are precious, smart and turn off to content that's not relevant.
For real influence, brands need to work with specialists. Brands need to be working with influencers that really care, that take pride in who they work with and are proud of the audience they have accumulated. You want an influencer to genuinely be excited to be working with you, to have creative ideas, to really want to share what they are doing with their fans. The influencer needs a sense of pride, with pride comes passion and with passion comes success.
If you have an influencer that really sees the value in your brand, you have your biggest fan. They'll talk about your brand outside any contracted endorsements or campaigns, they'll champion what you're doing to their fans organically. You want to create a relationship where you talk, you value and respect each other. What you don't want is one week to work with an influencer, then the next week, they are working with your competitors. That's why choosing the right influencer is key to any successful campaign and long term relationship.
Influencers need to remember why they have their audience, because they post content their fans enjoy and built their following through a love of what they started off creating / sharing. They should never take advantage of that and spam their fans timelines and subscription boxes with stuff they don't care about. Influencers shouldn't just work with anyone and everyone! You'll devalue what you've worked hard for and your engagement rates will drop off. Be picky, choose wisely and work with a brand that you see helping you and your audience.
Influencer marketing is evolving, it shouldn't be seen as a transaction, it's time for brands and influencers to be collaborating on a deeper level, form partnerships and deliver meaningful campaigns. Our vision is based on the importance of building long term relationships to generate impact and not just your one night stand influencer marketing campaign.