Influencer marketing is no longer a buzzword reserved for indie digital brands; it’s a fully-fledged global media industry worth $3.69 billion in the US alone.
In turn, 92% of marketers said they would allocate budget towards influencer marketing in 2021. Yet, there are many challenges marketers face when proposing increased participation in the influencer marketing space.
In my decade of running influencer programs at companies of varying sizes and agencies, I’ve experienced every challenge and push back imaginable! I’ve found the most success in garnering support from stakeholders by arming myself with the right data and employing empathy for their challenges. Below are four questions I’ve encountered (and that you will likely get) when trying to gain support for influencer marketing, and how to answer them.
If you have access to historical campaign data, do a quick audit to get a feel for whether the approach was effective.
If the answer to all of the above is yes, then there may be external factors affecting the effectiveness of your campaigns (i.e. the considerability of your product or competitor activity). If the answer to any of these troubleshooting questions is no, then this is a great opportunity for you to fine-tune your campaign and ensure a greater success rate in the future.
Coming to the table with concrete reasons why something didn't work and a plan of action for the future will better your chances of getting stakeholders to reinvest.
The concept of influencer marketing being a game of “gifting” and favours is outdated. We, as influencer marketing experts know this, but our stakeholders may not. Here are three points I like to make when I’m met with this question:
What’s key here is to teach your stakeholders to think of influencer marketing as just another marketing channel. They need to know that if they want to reap the rewards they’ll need to invest just as they would with any other channel.
This is a common misconception that you may come up against, and is a good moment to educate your stakeholders. Let them know that authenticity is less about whether money is exchanged, and more about the details of the partnership. It's easier to stay authentic when you create a well-thought-out partnership with an influencer who is genuinely aligned with your brand values and loves your products.
One data point that I like to share to back this argument up: LaterxFohr found that ad content on accounts with fewer than 100K followers had equal average engagement rates on organic and paid content. For accounts with 1M+ followers, ad content outperformed organic content by +75%.
This is a perfect moment to lead back to the conversation of investment. The ability to source the right influencers, build deep and creative relationships, and pay partners appropriately all hinges on whether your team has enough monetary (and technological) resources. Let your stakeholders know that this is why you need budget!
You are likely getting this question because influencer marketing has traditionally been seen as an upper- to mid-funnel channel where influencers build awareness and drive proximity for your brand. However, with the increase in ecommerce capabilities on social media platforms, influencers are now affecting every stage of the marketing funnel.
What your stakeholders want is to see how these programs will impact the things they care about. Show them how you plan to align your influencer programs to their business objectives, and provide a clear way to measure success.
Here are some benefits of working with influencers that your stakeholders may not be considering:
The word “authenticity” is potentially overused in this industry; however, this is because it’s the greatest value an influencer can bring which cannot be replicated by any other marketing or media channel. The relationship between an influencer and their audience is unparalleled, and harnessing this with honest relationships and watertight contracts will grow your brand’s reputation, awareness and proximity in a way that your own content never could.
Additionally, you can measure influencer marketing success through quantitative metrics (i.e reach/impressions, engagements and clickthroughs) as well as qualitative measures such as:
Pro tip: Consider adding competitive benchmarking to your list. It looks at how you’re performing compared to your competitors, but can offer more specific insights into which strategies are driving results for your brand and your competition. Traackr’s Beauty Brand Leaderboard provides insights into how your brand performs against competitors in influencer content.
To build a business case that will unlock budget, resources, and/or support from internal stakeholders, it’s important to consider these points:
Don’t be discouraged if you’re struggling to explain the value of influencer marketing to internal stakeholders - unfamiliar technologies and avenues can seem risky to senior team members. By using statistics and case studies to alleviate any uncertainty around influencer marketing you’ll gain more opportunities to test and learn what works well for your brand.
Want more? I offer in-depth training videos on topics like this one, including navigating the industry regulations and crafting watertight contracts, on my website happycat.agency/courses