10 Point Plan: Influencer Marketing

by Joe Friel The Big Shot

With brands dedicating an increasing amount of their budgets to influencer marketing, having a strong influencer marketing strategy is now essential for many brands and agencies. Social Circle – a service and platform that connects brands and influencers – runs through some simple

  • Know what you’re looking for


With everyone talking about influencer marketing, it is easy to dive in without truly understanding what you want to achieve from this campaign.  Are you looking to engage influencers who are already talking about your brand or reach out to entirely new audiences? Are you looking to make a lot of noise around a particular time or product, or to build an ongoing influencer community around your brand?


These sorts of questions are crucial in deciding the types of influencers you want to work with and how you want to work with them.



  • Dive into the data


When looking for influencers to work with, it’s easy to get distracted by impressive subscriber numbers or because your CEO’s daughter loves a particular influencer, but this will result in inflated prices and ultimately poor results!


Dive into the numbers. Look at average views, engagement ratings and audience demographics. This will help ensure you minimise wastage and save time before you even begin opening a dialogue. At Social Circle we also analyze trends to see which influencers are growing the fastest, not just in reach but also in engagement, helping identify the most exciting and often more cost-effective influencers to be setting up relationships with.


  • Get to know these influencers


That said, it’s not completely a numbers game. The purpose of influencer marketing is fundamentally to tap into the powerful, essential relationships these influencers have with their audience to deliver engagement with your brand. Take time to understand the influencers you want to work with and their audience, look at how they’ve worked with brands before, the sort of content they deliver.


Doing this will not only help when you start working together on the content they will create with you, but also ensure that when you pitch to them you understand what works for them and how you can also bring value to them and their audience.


  • Engagement


We know! Engagement is the go-to word. But engagement is at the core of what you want influencer marketing to do, and can provide a great tool for you to measure upcoming and existing influencers across all sorts of platforms.


At Social Circle we measure all sorts of engagement metrics and importantly give weightings to each one to apply proper value attributions to each type of engagement. This allows you to start assessing influencers on a cost per engagement model, providing a tangible currency to trade on and to see who will deliver, and is delivering the best value for your brand.


  • Platforms


Often, when a brand first decides to go down the influencer marketing route, their first thoughts are YouTube-centric. However, there are multiple platforms – from “old” platforms like Twitter through to new platforms like Blab and Kwickie – all providing different audiences, influencers and interesting ways to communicate with them.


Influencers may often have one key platform but are always looking at new ways to communicate and interact with their audience, and brands should be too. At the moment we’re finding cross-platform influencer marketing strategies are allowing for greater creativity with strong engagement and better value.


  • Help influencers influence


There is a big misconception when people think of “influencers”. The term gets bandied about covering anyone who is popular across social platforms. However, popularity and influence are different things. They may create content their audience love, but not always be able to influence them to do things.


This is a very difficult area to navigate. However, one way to help is to work with the influencer to deliver an engaging story around your brand. This is where collaboration can be so important. Don’t forget – an influencer knows how to work with their own audience in the most effective way. Their followers respect them, so it is important to liaise with the influencer to create a story that appeals to that following, . This will naturally maximise the chances of the audience engaging with the content.



  • Big rocks vs Small rocks


For one-off campaigns, it can be a lot easier (and tempting!) to work with one ‘big’ influencer (big rock) for the entire budget. However, this can be to the detriment of your overall campaign. We’ve found that working with multiple ‘smaller’ influencers (small rocks) can not only be more cost-effective, it can also create a bigger splash in the pond and drive better engagement.



  • Safety


Influencers and brands have got into trouble for not disclosing paid commercial content, resulting in ASA and CAP releasing a number of guidelines on how paid-for content should be sign-posted in this space. However, recent surveys still show a large number of marketing professionals are either unaware of the rules or still choose to ignore them.


It is vital that you pay close attention to the CAP code of conduct. As a relatively new market, we believe there will only be further regulations so make sure you’re always on top of these changes. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t an excuse!



  • Management


As tricky as it can be, finding the talent and getting them to agree to be involved in your campaign is only the start! Managing influencers can be full of potential pitfalls and we’ve seen many brands and influencers get burned from previous partnerships – before they work with us of course!


This isn’t due to any malicious intentions (most of the time anyway!). Every influencer works differently and some may never have worked with a brand before.


The best tip is to assume nothing! Do you want exclusivities? Would you like to use their content as part of your wider commercial activity? Is there a destination you want to drive to?


Communicate clearly what you need and ensure all key deliverables are outlined clearly in your contracts and briefing documents.


Remember though, these aren’t traditional media owners. These are often people who have worked incredibly hard to establish their influence. Open an honest conversation early on to see what they are comfortable to do before you walk blindly into walls further down the line.



  • Control


As we said, you’re not working with traditional media owners where you can buy advertising space and control the entire creative – and you don’t want to anyway. There are countless horrible examples of where brands have had too much control and it has ultimately undermined the overall campaign.


These influencers know the content that best excites and engages their audience and working with them needs to be a collaborative process.


This can be a scary prospect for brands – how do you stop influencers running off and saying something completely misrepresentative of your brand. Again, the key here is communication. Make it clear what the deliverables are and have a veto in place to ensure nothing goes live without you and the influencer being happy.