By Ideas Collide
If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve undoubtedly stumbled across an influencer’s sponsored content. Whether it’s as straightforward as a scripted plug at the start of a YouTube video or as carefully constructed as an Instagram post that’s seamlessly blended into a curated grid, influencer marketing is everywhere today.
In fact, according to Statista, the global influencer marketing market was valued at $16.4 billion in 2022 — more than double what it was in 2019. That growth isn’t surprising when considering the impact of influencer marketing on consumers: While only 38% of consumers trust recommendations made on social media platforms by brands, 61% are likely to trust recommendations made by an influencer. Plus, the younger the consumer, the greater that percentage, with Gen Z being the most, well, influenced.
Clearly, influencer marketing can work — but will it work for your company? Like so many things, the answer is “most likely, assuming you do it right.”
If it sounds like a full-time job, that’s because it is! Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be your full-time job. Just as there are significant advantages to working with an agency to manage your traditional and digital marketing efforts, influencer marketing is no different.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look at what influencer marketing means. It’s very similar to celebrity endorsements, except instead of celebrities serving as brand ambassadors, it’s everyday people who have amassed a significant following online by creating content around a specific topic or interest. Brands that partner with influencers can pay them for their services or offer them free or discounted products or services in return for their endorsement.
While influencer marketing can happen on any platform, Instagram was used by nearly 80% of the brands that engage in influencer marketing. That said, don’t feel limited to just Instagram influencers. Base your platform of choice on your target audience instead. For example, if you’re trying to reach Gen Z, TikTok is the place to be. If you’re looking for Boomers, rest easy knowing you can pass on TikTok altogether.
Beyond platforms, it’s important to identify the type of influencer that’ll likely have the greatest impact on your target audience. There are five categories of influencers, based on follower count:
Don’t get fooled by follower counts though — typically, the higher an influencer’s follower count, the lower the engagement rate. While nano-influencers have the fewest followers, they have the highest engagement rate average, sitting at 5%. In addition, macro, mega and celebrity influencers make up the smallest number of influencers, accounting for just 0.5%. Nearly half of all influencers are micro-influencers.
With all that in mind, it’s no surprise brands primarily try to work with micro-influencers. They have great engagement rates and are in ample supply. In 2019, 77% of brands said they wanted to work with this particular category of influencer, and that trend continues to grow.
So you’ve decided the best approach for your brand is to work with micro-influencers: Time to start vetting which ones you want. According to GRIN, that means sorting through approximately 3 million influencers across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and YouTube. No big deal, right?
That’s only step one. Once you’ve identified a few needles in the influencer haystack, you still have to contact each of them and appeal to your target audience, then negotiate contracts and payment.
When working with an agency, the weight of finding and vetting influencers is lifted off your shoulders and — better still — so is the hassle of negotiations. Agencies have experience working with influencers’ agents (yes, they have agents) and crafting contracts that not only make sure you get the most bang for your buck, but also protect your brand should the relationship go south.
Additionally, agencies help negotiate content rights so brands can repurpose the content on their social channels — a huge value to brands, and a cheaper alternative than photo and video shoots, which can be costly.
Great, so all the time-consuming research and negotiations are out of the way. On to the easy part where the influencer takes a photo, slaps it up on Instagram, and the money starts rolling in. Right? Not exactly.
Once an influencer comes under contract, you’ll still need to:
Even for the most dedicated in-house teams, that can be a tremendous lift. Working with influencers, particularly if your brand is working with many of them, can be a remarkably hands-on, time-consuming process — and greatly impacted by how much experience your chosen influencers have. By working with an agency to manage your influencers, your company can focus on the day-to-day things that matter most, while a dedicated team of project managers and digital marketers tackle the herding-cats-esque challenge of maintaining influencer relationships.
Social media is also a fickle beast. Keeping up with the ever-changing algorithms, new products and features, evolving commerce capabilities and, simply, whatever’s trending can be a weighty responsibility in and of itself. Agencies, though, are already paying attention to all of these things. And they can help you not only smoothly sail these tumultuous waters but monitor the horizon for future waves of change.
Plus, without experience in influencer marketing, it can be challenging to set accurate goals and know how to truly measure the success of your chosen influencers’ content. This is true not only of individual ads each influencer produces but of the whole campaign. Agencies have entire departments dedicated to digital analytics and strategy, closely monitoring which buttons to push and levers to pull to bring content atop consumers’ feeds and maximize the reach of a every dollar. When you work with an agency, their experts help your brand craft a successful initial influencer marketing strategy, as well as monitor every campaign in real time and evaluate the performance accordingly.
In a nutshell, working with an agency takes the guesswork and hard work out of developing and maintaining an influencer marketing strategy for your brand. It’s not mandatory, but it can mean the difference between successfully investing in a new marketing channel for your brand and being lost in a sea of social media ads.
At Ideas Collide, we have a dedicated team of influencer experts and years of experience managing stables of content creators for various brands across multiple industries. For example, take Best Western® Hotels & Resorts. For years we’ve helped this award-winning global hospitality brand partner with influencers across its key audience pillars to produce award-winning campaigns and content that appeals to each of today’s travelers. Through a combination of videos, blog articles and social media posts, these influencers develop content that showcases the modern amenities found at each of Best Western’s many unique brands, in wanderlust-worthy locations, across more than 100 countries worldwide.
We’d love to help you find similar success. Learn how we can become an extension of your team and harness the power of influencer marketing for your brand today.