It may be tough for some, particularly marketers schooled in classic brand management, to see a promising future for influencer marketing. But indications are brands will ramp up their efforts to expand influencer marketing initiatives.
That’s one of the forecasts in the 2019 Influencer Marketing Report from SocialPublic, which sees a new influencer campaigns move in as traditional brand campaigns move out.
To learn more, I asked SocialPublic co-founder and CEO Ismael El-Qudsi to shed light on how brands are weaving influencer marketing into their campaigns.
Paul Talbot: When a marketer wonders if their brands lend themselves to influencers, how should this question be considered and thoughtfully answered?
Ismael El-Qudsi: All businesses nowadays must employ both traditional and modern marketing tactics to reach and engage their target audiences effectively. Although Influencer marketing makes sense regardless if your business is consumer-facing or B2B, and if your product or service has mass or niche appeal, some businesses are naturally better suited for influencer collaborations than others.
It is well known that business in the food, beauty, fashion and travel sectors are an ideal match for influencer marketing. But if you have a construction company, landscaping or pool cleaning business, then perhaps your dollars should be spent elsewhere.
To know if influencer marketing is right for their brand, a marketer should first analyze their industry.
Do a quick search on Google and social media to determine if there are influencers already in your industry.
Are your competitors using influencers to promote their products and services? If so, how is this working for them?
Can you tell if it is having a positive impact and making a difference in their businesses?
Have you seen a spike in their social media presence and mentions?
Another critical factor you must look at is your target market. Think about where your target audience is right now. Where are they consuming the majority of their content?
Where do they go for product recommendations, and how are they informing their purchasing decisions? If the answer is social media, then influencer marketing is something you should definitely consider.
Talbot: How should a marketer evaluate the potential value of an influencer?
El-Qudsi: You need to know whom you are trying to influence. Once you know this then you can vet influencers based on a series of criteria.
The value of an influencer lies in their ability to sway the opinions and influence the behavior of your target market. Relevance, credibility, relatability, and resonance are the top indicators of an influencer’s ability to influence.
The influencer must share content that is relevant to your business and industry, and their audience must align with your target market.
They must also be trusted and relatable to be able to genuinely connect with their community and produce content that will resonate with them. Also, their personality and style must be in synchrony with your brand’s voice and values.
A helpful metric to evaluate where a particular influencer stands in relation to these influence indicators is engagement:
How active and responsive is the influencer’s audience?
What is the influencer’s relationship with them?
On a more practical level, how many views, likes, comments, and shares is the influencer receiving on average per post?
Does their influence transcend social media?
Is the influencer a recognized expert that contributes to broadcast media or print publications?
Talbot: We’ve seen an influencer or two crash and burn. Other than creating a large pool of influencers, what should a marketer do to lessen the risk of such setbacks?
El-Qudsi: Given the human element of influencer marketing, the risk will always be there, and there’s little you can do to predict a setback but taking specific steps to vet influencers beforehand can make a huge difference.