How Brands Can Play a Leading Role in the Evolving Influencer Marketing Realm

In an industry where social media is taking centre stage, influencer marketing is now an accepted marketing tactic and not just a fad. During the formative stages of influencer marketing, the entire industry was characteristically poorly structured and in many regards, lacked what are typically considered clear-cut strategies.

However, over time, influencer marketing specialists emerged and along with them came a methodology to the marketing process. Afterwards, big brands began to test the effectiveness of this new marketing process. And the results have been stellar. There are countless studies that have shown that using influencers generates positive brand sentiments. Furthermore, brands have experienced positive campaign performance.

The ability of digital marketing to track and measure performance has made influencer marketing one of the, if not the most measurable marketing method across all media. As such, this has fuelled the increased acceptance of this marketing method and process; more brands have gained the confidence of influencer marketing. Consequently, more brands a making use of digital content creators and influencers. Brands are dedicating more budget to influencer marketing. All these developments have the potential to enable brands to drive more innovation and increase the sophistication of influencer marketing, thereby growing the industry as a whole.

More Strategic Increased Integration

Gone are the days when all you had to do is to get a product in an influencer’s hands and hope to generate some positive outcomes. This strategy is proving less effective with each passing day. Typically, top influencers are very selective with the brands they work with. Furthermore, they are selective as to when and how they work with any brand.

In the place of the above strategy, we now have a seamless integration strategy. Brands are experiencing the best results when their core message can be seamlessly and organically integrated into an influencer’s content in an authentic manner. And while the message should be very clear for the audience just as is the case with Facebook ads and TV commercials, the message ends up being far more compelling.

As such, instead of seeking endorsement or a ‘shout out’, marketers should seek to integrate product use into the storyline of a piece of content produced by the influencer. Importantly, the product should have additive qualities to the storyline of the digital content.

The gaming industry understands this aspect of influencer marketing very well. Brands like Ubisoft work with influencers in the gaming industry to create live action content whereby they tease new upcoming games. Another good example is Mercedes using Loki the wolf-dog, an Instagram star, to create content of a journey through the Colorado Mountains as seen through the dog’s eyes.

At the heart of such campaigns is brands empowering influencers pushing their creativity and allowing the influencers to remain true to their identity. As such, the content creator can create content that has the same style and tone that their viewers that their viewers are accustomed to, albeit with a message aligned with the brand’s message and values. Brands can still retain some element of control over the project by having brand guidelines and having key talking points for the content creators to follow. However, when the content creators have the freedom to be creative, the message ends up being authentic for the audience.

Which Influencer Should You Work With?

On the options front, brands have thousands of creators/influencers to work with on their campaigns. As such, it is of critical importance for brands not to limit their options by having preconceived ideas of who they should work with. Instead, marketers should narrow down their options by looking at an influencers’ audience demographic makeup.

Furthermore, brands should make a point of diligently checking their influencers to negate falling victim of influencer fraud. To this end, they should conduct a profile analytic of the influencers’ audiences from their backend. Scrutinising an influencer’s back-end analytics will give you a glimpse of their true value.

For instance, when an influencer says they have a solid following in the UK but their backend statistics show that majority of their views come from the Philippines or another random country, then it is pretty obvious they are paying for their engagement – views, like, and subscribers/followers. Furthermore, doing this helps to ensure that it is not bots that are responsible for the engagement.

Even after ensuring that there is no influencer fraud in play, it is important for a marketer to ensure that they are working with influencers who are passionate about their project. To accrue the benefits of influencer marketing, the creator should be passionate and enamoured with the project. That is when they get really creative and deliver original and authentic content that resonates with their audience.