Stephanie Stabulis, Strategy Director and Second-in-Charge at HireInfluence, shares her expert tips on creating data-driven, high-impact Influencer Marketing campaigns. Listen up! 🗣👂
With a whopping 94% of marketers believing in the effectiveness of Influencer Marketing, and the market becoming more saturated each day, it comes as no surprise that consulting agencies like HireInfluence are increasingly sought after. https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/the-rising-importance-of-influencer-marketing-statistics-and-trends-info/519084/
HireInfluence helps clients develop and implement influencer marketing strategies that impact sales, brand awareness, and brand loyalty. They create strong data-driven strategies for clients and then partner them with their strong network of specialized influencers as best suits their campaign. After years in this business, these are their best practices.
Pro-Tip #1: Managing Expectations in the Age of Virality
As we began to speak with Stephanie, she shared that one of the biggest challenges marketers in this industry face is managing client expectations. People have strong notions of what influencer marketing can do, and in a growing industry, clients often think that working with influencers equates to high-return viral ad campaigns from working with celebrities. The truth, she finds, is that this is not a one-size-fits-all formula, and clients see much better returns from highly customized strategies.
Consider, for instance, that micro influencers with smaller, more engaged audiences are consistently rising in popularity for industry professionals because of tried & proven observations that they are able to get more buy-in from their smaller follower base. This is because they tend to be more personally engaged with the influencer, and therefore have more trust for what they recommend. This is just one of many insights that come from years of working in the influencer marketing field, and what companies like HireInfluence have to communicate with clients in order to get buy-in.
"When clients come to us, they've heard of influencer marketing but they don't know what to expect, or how to use it and implement it. So, everything is skewed. People want to use it as an advertising platform and we know that that's not what it is. It can be used in a very specific and powerful way, but if you use it in ways that it's simply not designed for you're not gonna be very happy with the results."
This is why we using data is so important for influencer marketing agencies like HireInfluence: social media data allows them to accurately demonstrate what's possible from each partnership (and a lot is) and help manage client expectations.
"We take a consulting approach to influencer marketing and say: this is what we've done in the past, this is what works. We have the statistics to prove it & this is what we suggest you do. We'll set the strategy in a way that they exceed our client's objectives but still use influencer marketing the way it's designed to be used. This way, we know that all expectations will be met and we know what the end result is going to look like."
Pro-Tip #2: Let Data Guide Your Strategy
The 2 key data pieces that HireInfluence considers when building new influencer marketing strategies are impressions & engagements of past campaigns.
They look at what influencers in different industries have been able to accomplish in terms of these metrics to provide clients with benchmarks of expectations, what their most successful campaigns were, and use social listening tools like Keyhole to identify trends in these campaigns to find what content worked best & why, and to replicate what’s working.
”We really rely on Keyhole to figure out what the elements are in a campaign that makes content most engaging. We look at the top engaging content within every campaign and compare it to what didn't perform as well for our influencers. This helps us pick out the differences between posts and what specific elements helped something perform [or not]. This way, our clients are getting the best ROI for their buck, the least cost per engagement, the lowest CPM. It allows us to drive those metrics down and create content we know will create higher engagement.”
Stephanie then takes all of these insights and builds them into the next strategy.
“Then I analyze it from a strategy perspective: what is it about this strategy that worked, what didn't work. We'll learn from the data, learn from the metrics, and use our learnings to let our clients know what we expect to come out of the next campaign and what content elements lead to certain metrics.
Pro-Tip #3: Authenticity is King
If you're in a similar position to Stephanie, this sentiment is probably all too familiar:
"One of the biggest things that I deal with is people wanting the influencer to talk so much about the product or service because they have to get all their marketing points across. It comes off as an ad. And we have to display that it's an ad. So, if you sound like an ad and you look like an ad you have to say you're an ad, you fall into the same tune out that ads fall into."
This is why authentic content is key. If you want influencer marketing to work and be authentic, you can't try to use the influencer as an actor in a TV ad- they are a brand ambassador, and if they like your product and decide to partner with you, you can trust that they know better than anyone what resonates with their audience.
"If you let the influencer do what they do best: about how this product relates to them, you make it more creative, you make it more authentic, you make it more about the experience of the product. We have proven that this is more effective in getting the want from consumers. The most difficult thing for us to do is to get all those objectives into one strategy that is also authentic. We hear: this is what needs to be in it, and often we suggest taking a more authentic route. We'll always tweak the strategy for it to be successful."
In an era where influencer marketing is growing, managing client expectations can be difficult. Use data and benchmarks to inform your campaigns and share those findings with your clients to get buy-in.
Build data-driven strategies. Guesswork is ineffective, and anything not data-driven is exactly that. Instead of assuming what the best influencer is for a campaign, or what kind of brand impact or ROI you can expect from a partnership, let data guide you. This helps you get buy-in and deliver the best results possible.
Authenticity above all. If you want to use influencer marketing to avoid the tune-out that ads create, don't fall into the trap of making these partnerships a different kidn of ad. Instead, allow influencers to promote your brand authentically, and see your numbers skyrocket.