How Brands Can Play an Important Role in the Evolving World of Influencer Marketing

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Influencer marketing is currently incredibly popular in an industry with social media increasingly at its epicentre. Influencer marketing was originally characterised by an unstructured approach and lacked what would be typically regarded as a stitched-up strategy. Larger brands then started to dabble in the space under the guidance of influencer marketing specialists that brought some methodology to the process. The net result was an increase in positive brand sentiment that has been repeated through both campaign performance and industry surveys.

Influencer marketing has grown into one of the most measurable ways to gauge performance across all media. Brands have developed a level of confidence that was previously lacking in recent years. The use of digital creators or influencers has subsequently become a more accepted part of the marketing mix with more budgets being allocated to it. Today, brands have the chance to truly drive influencer marketing sophistication and innovation to the next level.

Being More Integrated

Early-day tactics of just placing a product in the hands of an influencer with the hope of getting a positive outcome are proving increasingly less effective. Influential creators can be selective in the brands that they work with as well as when and how they work with them. It is only when the core message of a brand is integrated seamlessly into the influencer’s content in an authentic and organic way that the best results are achieved. The message should be just as clear as in any sponsored Facebook piece or 30-second TV ad, but it will be far more compelling in this context.

Marketing roles have evolved and marketers need to be much more proactive than before. Instead of a simple endorsement or ‘shout out’, marketers need to seek to find new ways of integrating the use of a product into a storyline so that it actually adds to the content. The gaming industry has excelled in this domain, with brands like Ubisoft working with influencers to create live-action campaigns for teasing new games. Mercedes Benz, on the other hand, has opted to work with Loki the wolf-dog, an Instagram star, whose owner takes a trip through the Colorado Mountains with the journey shown through the dog’s eyes. Brands should have the courage to allow influencers to push the limits of their creativity such that it that still remains true to the style and tone to which their viewers have become used to, but is still aligned with the values and messaging of the marketer. By providing creators with important talking points and brand guidelines, brands are still able to retain some level of strategic control with the communication itself still feeling organic and authentic.

Finding the Perfect Influencer for Your Brand

When it comes to choosing creator talent, brands have hundreds of thousands of options available to them. To this extent, it is very important for brands not to have a preconceived notion of who they would like to use, but instead to first narrow their field of view using the demographic analysis of creator audiences.

In addition, considering the growing level of influencer fraud, brands need to continue with their due diligence by auditing the profile analytics of influencer’s audiences from the backend. Peeking under the hood quickly reveals signs of such fraud. For instance, if a person claims to be a famous UK influencer, but has a massive audience from say, India and other random countries, it is highly likely that the person is probably paying for followers and/or cheap engagements. If brands base deals on guaranteed organic engagements/views instead of subscribers/followers, they can ensure that it .is human actions rather than bots behind the metrics.

Once they have done that, it would be an excellent idea for them to step back and gauge the creator’s passion for a particular project. It is only when a creative’s end piece is authentically delivered with a genuine passion that brands can unleash the power of influencer marketing. It is also worth remembering that making an ad isn’t the goal, but rather to create an authentic and original piece of content that resonates with the end viewer and creates greater brand affinity or a clear purchase path.