8 minute read
The proliferation of influencers in the recent years has marketers across industries wondering, "what is influencer marketing in 2020?" With most marketers adding an influencer marketing platform to the top of their wish lists this year, you would think this marketing strategy is a well-known one. But many marketers are still figuring out this marketing strategy for their own brand.
What is influencer marketing?
In many ways influencer marketing is a modern take on traditional affiliate marketing. Instead of a network of smaller affiliates driving traffic, influencer marketing targets specific people - influencers - who have large, captive audiences. Brands leverage the existing relationships that influencers have with their engaged followings in exchange for a fee for their endorsement, which is shared to their network along with their non-sponsored content.
Who is influencer marketing right for?
With the rise of social media celebrities, like Instagram bloggers and YouTube stars, it may seem that influencer marketing is more prevalent in millennial-focused consumer brands. But today, that isn’t the case. Many B2B organizations are developing influencer programs with subject matter experts that can help shorten their sales cycles and lead to higher close rates. As long as your company has a quality product or service that customers love, a captive and engaged audience, as well as, a process to track, manage, and pay influencers, this marketing strategy will work for you.
What makes influencer marketing unique?
Today, someone with hundreds of thousands of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn followers wields an incredible amount of power to drive interest in a product, and many brands are seeing big results by incentivizing those influencers to talk about their products or services. The magic here is when influencers are able to keep up with all the changes that happen quickly with algorithms, trends, news, and more.
How can influencer marketing tools help scale this strategy?
In most cases, marketers manage influencer marketing manually — handpicking target influencers, reaching out to them individually, and tracking the entire program through spreadsheets and email. There are some tools designed to manage the procurement of the influencers themselves, which is usually via an agency with or a matching algorithm. But these apps or programs do little to help manage the process of managing influencers, attribution, payouts, reporting, and further empowering influencers to perform better. To really scale this strategy, brands need to leverage an influencer marketing platform and automate the manual intricacies of running these campaigns.
Just like any other marketing initiative, reporting and optimizing is key in understanding the success of your influencer program. Especially now as influencer marketing is gaining traction and understanding in the C-suite, engagement metrics just won’t cut it.
Brands need to partner with a data-driven influencer marketing software that can provide influencers with the tools they need, track activity and conversions, manage payouts, as well as analyze trends and measure ROI. The ones that are able to automate emails, customize share links, and white-label their programs are the brands that will see the most success this year.
How to find the best influencer marketing platform for your brand
Social media management, website platforms, influencer marketing tools - the list of must-have tech for marketers is endlessly growing. With any new software, it can be daunting to figure out how to best integrate them with your existing ecosystem. And influencer marketing technology is not exempt from this.
Not to fear, let's look at four steps to finding the best influencer marketing platform for your brand:
Step 1: Determine how influencers will join your program
Whether your program allows for open registration, is invite-only, or you prefer influencers to apply - make sure you influencer marketing tool is doing the heavy lifting. While your team might be manually vetting which influencers to go after (this is what we recommend!), leverage your influencer marketing platform to run the actual registration process. That means embedding a form on your site to enroll or apply, generating unique share links and coupon codes for influencers, and of course, giving influencers a run-down of what joining the program entails. Try creating a “welcome package” with influencer on-boarding videos, assets for the influencers to start using right away, as well as a reminder to bookmark your portal page so they can easily manage their end of the campaign.
Step 2: Leverage tech to automate the logistics
Have a new campaign your launching to a group of high-performing influencers? Most influencer marketing tools have the capabilities to segment members and manage communication via the platform. This frees up the time spent manually inviting and individually emailing each influencer with campaign details. Furthermore, you can leverage technology to automate the entire process of tracking, rewarding, and paying influencers. The time and resources saved will allow your team to focus on other marketing initiatives that require their skills and expertise. Let your influencer marketing tools simplify their day-to-day activities.
Step 3: Incorporate influencers into the overall marketing strategy
Are you launching a new product or running a flash sale? Make sure to use your influencer marketing tool to create a campaign tied to this larger marketing initiative. Strategically incorporating influencer marketing into your overall marketing strategy is the best way to leverage this customer acquisition tactic. By integrating your influencer platform with your existing technology you can provide your audience with a seamless customer experience.
Step 4: Continuously test, evaluate, and optimize campaigns
This is probably the most important best practice when it comes to utilizing influencer marketing tools. Use the data your influencers are bringing to you to better understand your business. From campaign performance to product placement and pricing to overall marketing strategy, there is a lot that can be learned from mining that data. For example, if you have a product that is consistently promoted by influencers and is flying off the shelf, yet the display ads you purchased for the same product are not converting, should you consider pulling back your advertising budget and bringing on more influencers instead?
Ambassador Influencer Marketing Management Platform
With an influencer management platform, like Ambassador, you can easily attribute new sales activity to the appropriate ambassadors, fully automate campaign logistics (i.e., issuing payment, re-engaging disengaged ambassadors, creating/sending emails, etc.), and quickly integrate other third-party systems to seamlessly sync data between platforms.
Why is this so important?
By automating the influencer marketing process, you remove much of the complexity, tedium, and guesswork from running multiple campaigns with many influencers. Ultimately, this frees you up to focus on the things that really matter — executing efficient, measurable, and profitable campaigns that, over time, positively influence every aspect of your marketing strategy.
The one thing that can make it or break it when it comes to influencer marketing is not the technology itself, but rather, the importance of developing lasting relationships. Relationships are critical to successful influencer marketing partnerships, so don’t forget that human element. Check in with influencers, ask for their feedback, implement requested changes - the more you can learn from them, the better positioned your program is for success. Discover how to build a smarter, more organic influencer marketing strategy in our latest eBook below.
Posted January 29, 2020 in Influencer Marketing