Influencer marketing is a hot marketing trend. Companies are looking to actively engage influential people to help further the authenticity and reach of their marketing messages. Influencers offer the ability to take advantage of not only our own social networks but the large and, more importantly, engaged networks the influencers built for themselves too.
With the popularity growing fast, agencies have stepped up the plate to offer influencer marketing services to clients. The trick is to separate those that know what they’re doing from those simply looking to cash in on a current trend. Here’s how you can find an agency that will produce results rather than refuse.
Don’t Settle For Marketing-Focused Success
Some agencies show the success of their influencer marketing programs by touting results from marketing industry programs they’ve run. While these programs may have been successful, it’s largely due to the fact that they’re simply recruiting their own industry friends. Marketers LOVE to promote the heck out of marketing pieces and are quick to sign on to anything their name gets attached to and help promote it like crazy. Any marketer can ask their friends for a couple quotes on a marketing topic and then ask them to promote the ebook with those quotes but it takes a lot more to create a successful influencer marketing program in an industry which an agency doesn’t already have countless existing connections.
Don’t settle for examples that are simply friends promoting themselves and other friends. Make the agency show success from programs they’ve created for unrelated industries where people aren’t as keen to promote every piece like crazy. This will give you a far better idea of what their abilities are and the success they’ve been able to create.
Many seem to believe anyone with a lot of followers is influential on social. This is simply untrue. Anyone can buy followers for a couple bucks and anyone can build a following. You can see an example of this lack of engagement by looking at many of the biggest names in digital marketing. While they have large followings, almost no one is retweeting or replying to them. An influencer is more than simply someone with a bunch of followers.
So how do you know that the people an agency has picked for past projects are actually influential (especially if the examples they show you are in an industry you aren’t familiar with)? I’ve previously outlined how to make sure your influencers are really influential. Check them yourself and see if they’re good at picking the right people to work with. You’ll want to be sure they know how to pick the right people or your message will never see the amplification success that influencer marketing can offer.
Relationship Building & Outreach
Relationship building is a step many skip. They simply jump right from identifying people of influence to asking them to take part in what they’re doing. While this way often does work, the rate of failure (either influencers ignoring requests or saying “no”) is much higher. By taking the time to build a relationship first, not only are you more likely to get influencers onboard, but they’ll be far more likely to help champion your cause beyond just providing a little quote for your campaign. Ian Cleary at RazorSocial provides a great guide to engaging and relationship building with influencers before the outreach step.
You should also inquire about how they do outreach. See who will manage the relationship and how they plan to connect you and the influencer if they choose to be the one facilitating the outreach on their end without your direct involvement. While it can be more work to do the outreach yourself, it generally comes across as more authentic when the company is reaching out rather than a random agency on your behalf.
You’ll want to find out if they continue the relationships with those they work with after the initial campaign is done. Many have the tendancy to use influencers and never speak to them again. Think about how that will that make your company look if these influential people are simply used and then thrown away along with the bridges this could burn. The best agencies continue to foster relationships with influencers. This continues to build a stronger bond and means they can use these relationships in the future, should another opportunity to work together come along. Creating a real lasting relationship also increases the likelihood the influencers will continue to champion your brand, outside of just your campaign with them.
Ask to see results from other programs they’ve run. Generally the purpose of an influencer marketing program is to increase the credibility of your campaign and extend the reach of it, using the influencer’s own network. Make sure they’re showing how they did that within their results.
The agency should be able to show not just overall program results but how much the influencers (both as a whole and individually) extended the success of the campaign. If you can’t show how the influencers increased the success separate from the results of the promotion that happened through the company’s own social channels, how can they show that the influencers had any effect on the campaign? They really need to be able to clearly show this success to prove the worth of their influencer marketing programs.
Pick A Winner
Influencer marketing has the ability to really make campaigns stand out and see far greater success when executed correctly. Picking the right agency to help you make it happen is crucial to managing the process properly and getting great results. While many are offering the service, not many can show great success from it. Knowing what to look for will help you pick the right team to get you outstanding return.
Not being afraid to ask deeper diving questions to find out how they manage the process and interpret the results is key to finding a group that knows what they’re talking about, rather than one just looking for a pay day. Now that you know what to look for, you’re set to pick the right place to make your program pop.