That said, influencer marketing is tricky. There are a lot of things that happen behind the scenes of a successful influencer marketing campaign. A major aspect of this is of course managing the creators. In this article, we explore how brands and marketers can effectively manage their influencers.
But first, let's look at what defines an influencer and why brands should care about them.
Who is an influencer?
Influencers are creators with a large following on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others. The definition of a ‘large’ following varies quite a bit with nano influencers having 1000 to 10,000 followers to major influencers having more than a million followers.
According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of the UK, a creator doesn’t have to have a specific number of followers to be an influencer. If a brand paid someone to promote a product or a service, ASA defines them as an influencer.
Unlike traditional celebrities like actors, athletes, or musicians, social media influencers owe their fame largely to their content. Of course, there are many influencers who built an audience through social media by showcasing their skills as musicians and chefs and later leveraged the following to launch their careers.
Why should brands care about influencers?
As we mentioned earlier, influencers offer better results than most other marketing channels. Social media is where the world population is hanging out and around 72% of millennials and gen z follow influencers (Morning Consult - Influencer Report).
These numbers present an amazing opportunity for marketers to reach customers where they are.
Social media creators have also proven their capabilities to drive people to take action; to donate towards a cause, buy a new product, or sign up for a sale. The internet is full of stories of influencers raising serious funds for helping people in distress or sending supplies to areas struck with natural calamities.
In this landscape, companies simply cannot afford to ignore social media influencers and what they can do for their brands.
Why is influencer management necessary?
Here are seven reasons why influencer management is important
- Influencers are at the center of your marketing campaigns
- Influencer management is to prevent influencer fraud
- It can help brands better negotiate the costs of influencer marketing
- Influencer management is necessary to understand a creator’s audience
- influencer management is necessary to build long-lasting relationships with influencers
- Brands need influencer management to track and improve influencer performance
- Robust influencer management is important to protect brand reputation
Influencers are at the center of your marketing campaigns
Creators and their brands play a huge role in the success of an influencer marketing campaign. Marketers have to manage the influencers they work with, build good relationships with them, set clear expectations, and ensure they have everything they need to produce good results.
Influencer management is to prevent influencer fraud
Influencer fraud is an unfortunate reality that marketers have to deal with in the creator economy. There are creators who fake their engagement and follower counts on their accounts.
Before engaging an influencer, marketers have to verify influencers’ identities and engagement metrics. And they have to do this continuously. For this, marketers need a detailed influencer management strategy.
It can help brands better negotiate the costs of influencer marketing
Influencer marketing offers good returns, but it's still very expensive. Marketers need a strong strategy to manage influencers, negotiate the charges, and keep costs low while creating good results.
Influencer management is necessary to understand a creator’s audience
To maximize ROI on an influencer marketing campaign, you need to choose a creator whose follower demographics align with your target audiences and plan your promotion around them.
For instance, if you want to launch a new line of activewear in the US, you’ll want to work with sports or fitness influencers with a large following from the country. To do this, you have to analyze creators’ content and the people that follow them.
Influencer management is necessary to build long-lasting relationships with creators
When you work with an influencer over a long period, awareness of your brand among your audience grows with them. To get the most out of this, you have to regularly engage with the creators, keep track of their activities and viral trends they may create, and build a rapport with them.
Brands need influencer management to track and improve influencer performance
It’s not enough to track an influencer’s content and followers; marketers should also keep track of their own campaign metrics. These numbers can help guide later campaigns and produce results and is an important aspect of influencer management.
Robust influencer management is important to protect brand reputation
When a company works with an influencer, they’re associating its brand with that of the creator. So if they get into any controversies — for instance, make an unpopular comment or take a stance that doesn’t fit with the brand’s image — it can affect the company and how their customers view them.
Brands have to stay on top of any news or social media trends associated with the influencers they work with to prevent this.
Eight strategies to manage influencers
Here’s how brands can manage influencers effectively
1. Use influencer databases to find creators suitable for the brand and the campaign
There are plenty of influencer databases and platforms that can help you find creators for your campaigns. These platforms offer detailed insights into influencer content, their audience demographic, engagement rates, previous campaigns they have worked on, and other aspects.
It's important that you choose influencers whose followers fit your target audience. You should also check if the creator's content and brand are suitable for your business.
For example, Daily Burn, a fitness app, chose creators from a wide range of follower demographics; this helped them target different audiences. But they all had very similar goals.
2. Set clear goals and expectations
As with any partnership, everyone involved in influencer marketing should be on the same page about expectations.
Influencers may work with brands in different ways. Micro or nano-influencers may be happy to promote your products or services in exchange for samples or gifts while larger influencers usually charge brands for promotions.
Whatever the nature of the partnership, it's important to set clear goals for campaigns. Brands and creators should agree on the deliverables, payments, and metrics for campaigns.
3. Continuously track followers and engagement
When working with influencers, it's important to stay on top of their social media game. If their engagement takes a hit or if they lose a lot of followers, it can affect the performance of your campaigns. If they suddenly go viral or if some of their content gets good engagement, your brand can capitalize on the new followers by acting quickly.
4. Use an influencer database or creator management solution
Managing influencers and building successful campaigns is complicated. You have to find the right influencers, discuss the nature of collaboration, manage contracts, decide the type of content, work with the creator to finalize it, and track campaign performance.
Influencer management platforms help marketers handle everything from influencer discovery to contracts, collaboration, and even payments.
5. Keep track of campaign success metrics and ROI
By tracking engagement metrics, organizations can have better visibility into their campaigns. It can help them create strategies that work for their brand and a specific creator’s audience. It can also help negotiate better contracts with influencers and improve their ROI.
6. Keep an open line of communication and treat them well
To get good results, marketers should communicate well with influencers and be available for them. Be open to hearing them out and keeping them updated about your brand’s campaigns. For instance, if your handbag line is launching a limited edition collection, you can offer early access or even branded merch as a gift. If your brand is hosting a music festival, you can offer VIP tickets to your top influencers.
For example, Lululemon created a cult-like following among fitness and sports influencers by giving them free yoga classes, participation in worldwide events, and even including them on product feedback and design.
At the same time, be open to ideas from the influencers’ end as well. Ask them to keep you in the loop if they’re doing or creating something new.
7. Don’t change influencers very often
When working with influencers, you’re associating your brand with theirs. When their followers grow, your brand reaches more people. But if you keep changing your influencers, it reduces consistency in your branding and can affect customer perceptions.
But by working with influencers over a long time, you can better understand their brand and their followers, and create campaigns that perform well. You can also negotiate better rates for long-term collaborations.
8. Trust their processes
Even with all the data in the world, odds are no marketer will understand a creator’s followers better than they do. Influencers spend a lot of time engaging with the audience and creating content. They have an innate understanding of what makes their audience move.
So while you can definitely discuss what you want and make clear specifications, make sure you get their input as well.
9. Stay on top of legal requirements
In the US, Federal Trade Commission mandates that influencers must reveal their relationships with brands. If they’re getting paid for a post or a promotion, the influencers must mention that to their followers. The ASA has also created similar rules for brands and influencers in the UK.
For example, recently, Seaside Casual Furniture was investigated by the FTC over its claims that its products were made in the USA when significant parts were imported.
Failing to comply with these regulations can put agencies, brands, and influencers in trouble and may attract fines and sanctions.
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