We don’t pay influencers. We don’t believe in influencer campaigns. We haven’t seen any ROI from previous influencer campaigns.
These are just a few of the roadblocks that I have heard by clients and other agencies in my position as influencer relations director at Positive Dialogue Influence, a specialist consultancy within the Duke Group.
We’ve come a long way since the Wild West days when brands and agencies would shower anyone with a few thousand followers in desk drops, cross their fingers, and hope for the best – thank goodness! However, the art and science of influencer marketing is still emerging, and clients are understandably still on a journey to trust – especially if they were part of the big influencer boom of the mid-2010s.
Some clients simply don’t know enough about influencer campaigns to feel confident, and they need a knowledgeable and experienced partner. Others have been burnt by a bad experience and need reassurance and a better strategy to elicit trust.
In 2021, specialist influencer marketing agencies are seeing incredible success thanks to methodical campaigns that are researched using powerful software to validate the audience, engagement and reach of influencers before contracting, briefing and onboarding them on campaigns tailor-made to reach their target audience.
When we work collaboratively with clients to identify the key campaign messaging and mechanics that we know works, and hand-selected influencers to help curate and share it in their unique authentic voice to their real and engaged audiences, we see the kind of results even the most influencer-averse clients can’t deny.
You may be asking yourself, well why haven’t my influencer campaigns seen success?
Here are 5 possible reasons why working with influencers has not garnered the measurable success you were hoping for and tips on how to ensure better results.
1. The campaign was not made for influencers
Simply briefing a selection of influencers to “amplify” an above-the-live campaign across their channels does not an influencer campaign make. The campaigns that see the best results are those that integrate an influencer element as part of the campaign, with a strategy and brief specifically developed for the platform and the audience you’re hoping to reach.
2. Influencers don’t have any creative control
Handing over agency assets for influencers to post on their platforms is not the way to reach and engage their audience. People look to social media for authentic content produced by the people they follow, which is why having a solid made-for-social influencer campaign that allows influencers to share the campaign message as they see fit always works best.
An influencer’s Instagram account is not the place to share your TV ad – rather brief the influencers to create their own Reel around the campaign message, and link to your ad on YouTube from their Stories for a far more engaging campaign.
3. The overall campaign was off-target
An influencer component is not something you throw at a problem arising as the overall campaign unfolds and falters. Rather it needs to be well-integrated and well-targeted, from concept to execution, and deeply embedded in a spot-on campaign.
The quality of the big idea and over-arching creative concept matters, and you are more likely to capture the hard-to-grab attention of Millennials and Zennials when every aspect of your campaign is strong and meaningful.
4. The campaign only used mega influencers
There are many different terms for defining the size of influencer accounts, but for the sake of this article “mega” is referring to South African influencers with 500K+ followers. While these accounts are hugely effective for maximum reach and awareness, it’s important to diversify and include micro and macro influencers, who typically see higher conversion and engagement rates.
As an example, your mega influencer might receive 3,000 comments on their branded post, but at least half are simply the fire emoji, while a micro influencer might receive less than 300 comments, but at least half are displaying explicit intent to purchase or engage with your brand.
A good campaign goes after reach, engagement and conversion, using the right influencers for each metric.
5. The goalposts were only set halfway through the game
Often, clients will look past excellent reach and engagement (building awareness and resonance), questioning why conversion is low, when conversion wasn’t the top performance metric set for the campaign during the planning phase.
It’s important to speak to an influencer marketing specialist to explore whether your strategy, chosen platform, selected influencers and campaign messaging will ensure that whatever you’re hoping to achieve is both realistic and attainable, and to tweak mechanics in order to help you succeed.