What is Happening in the World of Influencer Relations?
Since its inception, the online influencer industry has continued to be flooded with new faces, leaving it an ever-growing mixing pot of newbies, savvy micro-influencers and well-established top dogs. (Pun always intended.) For you, this means building relationships with individuals, agencies and even Instagram Pods, all of whom have greatly varied (and rising) price points and types of engagements on different platforms. In sum, there is a freaking lot happening in the world of influencer relations, but luckily there is help out there (dusts shoulder off) to navigate the wild west of influencer relations. With 60% of brands having used influencer marketing in 2016, a number predicted to grow to 75% in 2017 by Forbes, you don’t want to be a late adopter of this marketing channel.
What Makes a Good Influencer?
This can be trickier to determine than it seems. While a huge audience never hurts, be sure to look for the following when choosing your influencers:
- The most important factor when choosing influencers is whether they are a good fit for your brand. Misalignment will cause the promotion to fall flat, but a good fit for both the brand and the influencer will ensure a strong, positive relationship and a more impactful promotion. A perfect example of this is Zuke’s where every influencer they work with truly lives life off leash, which is the bedrock of the Zuke’s brand.
- It is engagement relative to audience size that we use as an initial litmus test when looking for new influencers, as “buying likes” has become common with bots. Note which feeds fans like and comment on, as well as the influencers’ replies or lack there of.
- Next look at their posts for the past few months to get a sense of tone, look and feel, promotional cadence and overall account health and growth.
- Find influencers whose images you would want to repost on your feed. This is a perfect source of curated content, builds on user generated content as a source of third party credibility to your followers, and improves the relationship you have with influencers, all while maintaining the integrity of your brand’s own feed. A perfect example of this is Zippy Paws – each of their chosen influencers create content that can be used on the Zippy Paws feed.
- Finally, passion and professionalism count! We find that the very best influencers are responsive, polite and provide up-to-date media kits and post-engagement metrics, but most importantly have an apparent love for what they do.
Platform, or No Platform?
There are countless managed platforms and software options on the market that will help you streamline your influencer programs. At price points from budget-friendly to super-brand, these platforms will help you to find, vet, manage and report on your influencer relationships on a campaign level. While platform capabilities are attractive, make sure to find the right one for you and ensure the cost is justified as influencer relations can certainly be managed in-house, it just takes time and creativity.
What’s Next for Influencer Relations?
Based on OLC’s years of experience and overall industry trends, we speculate that:
- Influencer relations is reaching a paradigm shift moving from growth to refinement due to increased management and expectations on both the brand and influencer side.
- Genuine and innovative influencers who truly understand what their audience values along with price tags that are well aligned with their effectiveness will reign strong.
- Clear campaign goals and measurements, along with ongoing testing and to scale budgets, will be what brands need to continue to evolve with this powerful channel.