The one thing you need to look for before entering any Brand-Influencer partnership.
The influencer marketing space is growing and evolving – quickly. This marketing tactic comes with proven results, and according to new research, 74% of consumers say they trust the opinions they see on social media, including from influencers, when deciding whether or not to purchase a product. While ‘influencer marketing’ has become somewhat of a buzzword, and is fairly commonplace in the fashion industry specifically, it can also be one of the most cost-effective ways for businesses to acquire new followers, and convert them to shoppers, effectively boosting exposure, and eventually, revenue.
For brands, marketers are engaging with influencers like we’ve never seen before, with 71% of brands believing that working with influencers positively impacts their business, and 86% citing the use of influencer marketing in the past year. The question is: what is the best course of action for brands seeking out influencers with which to work? In today’s crowded landscape, many brands are hiring third-party influencer agencies to scout and qualify the best talent for their campaigns. In addition to these initial services, third-party agencies provide an array of other value-add’s, including: relationship management, reporting and analytics, technology and production, gifting programs, and activations. There is no question that these services are both helpful and needed for brands, however, they come with a hefty price tag, and in some cases, a loss of creative control on the part of the brand.
For influencers, there can certainly be limitations to this arrangement as well. In working with a management agency, essentially a middle-man, there can be a disconnect between talent and brand. With too many cooks in the kitchen, communication can fall off, and deliverables become lackluster, leading to frustration on all sides.
However, for brands that are either looking to engage with an influencer for the first time, or for brands that have experience in this space but are looking for an alternative to third-party agencies, there is a solution: work with an influencer that has an existing team in place. While influencers with this type of infrastructure behind them are not exactly commonplace, they are out there, and should be heavily considered by brands looking to have a more intimate and long-lasting relationship with the talent they hire. For those seeking this out, there are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Relationship management is key.
An influencer with not only a sales team, but also client relations personnel, will work to the advantage of both the influencer and the brand. In the absence of a middle-man, a direct relationship can be forged between brand marketers and the talent, allowing the talent to better understand the asks of the brand, and the brand to have more creative input during the deliverable process. A client relations team can also take the brand through each step of the process, allowing for transparency and communication to be free-flowing.
2. In-house production saves time – and money.
Working with an influencer that has a production team is a win-win for brands and talent. Without the lag time in assets being funneled to an agency prior to being passed on to the client, and the resulting feedback then passing through the agency on its way to the client, final deliverables can be shared much more quickly. The client can then share feedback directly with the influencer. Not only is this a time-saving practice, it’s also a cost-saving one. For the influencer, working with their own team is an advantage based on the fact that all parties are comfortable working with one another, and are already equipped to know what produces the best outcome from the influencer, making for a better result overall.
3. Accurate and real-time reporting is a must.
When brands decide to invest in an influencer, it is essential that they be able to measure their ROI, so that they can feel confident in both the success of their decision, and the potential for future engagements with the influencer. Influencers who have staff to measure and report on this is a huge advantage for brands who want to know how their investment is paying off.
As the influencer space continues to expand, and an increasing number of brands engage with them to market their products, competition is getting stiff. Brands must delineate in their influencer marketing strategy. Aside from choosing the best talent for their brand, they must also decide how they can cultivate a long-lasting relationship with that talent and how they can get the most from a potential partnership In short, hiring an influencer with a team provides the most seamless experience for both brand and influencer alike, and is the strategy that can have the most successful returns, financially as well as experientially.