by Tom Molyneux
It’s safe to say that influencer marketing is here to stay. Over the past 5 years the industry has grown from $1.3 billion to $13 billion, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Whilst other industries stagnated during the pandemic, influencer marketing saw a surge in activity as a result of the flexibility of working across digital platforms and the ease of activating a campaign at scale through a vast range of creators.
This growth is mainly down to a few sectors, one of which is health and beauty; a sector leading the charge by implementing influencer marketing as a pivotal part of their overall strategy. In 2021, over 57% of brands within the beauty and fashion space will utilise influencer marketing within their mix, and it’s no coincidence that the fastest growing brands in the sector, Pretty Little Thing, BooHoo and GymShark, use influencer marketing at the heart of their strategy.
It’s easy to see why so many brands are jumping on the influencer bandwagon; particularly as it becomes easier to measure ROI through influencer marketing activity, a main past pain point when the industry was blossoming. Social media has bridged the gap between the audience and the creator, allowing people to get a more in depth connection to the people they follow, which has in turn given creators the opportunity to share more of their world and their lives, including the brands that they like and partner with.
Over 92% of consumers trust online recommendations, and over 80% of online consumers have said that they have made a purchase based on an influencer's recommendation. The results also speak for themselves. ROI on influencer marketing is 11x more effective than banner ads, and 89% of marketers state that the ROI of influencer marketing is at least as good as other channels. Obviously these statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt but it’s clear to see that using influencers in the right way can be a very effective tool in building an authentic relationship with your audience whilst driving mass awareness.
But, as more brands adopt influencer marketing, pitfalls open up as brands overlook the nuances of working with influencers and don’t properly understand the platforms they are marketing on. We see time and time again generic influencer campaigns that fall flat because the brand just doesn’t understand how to effectively work within culture and create something that people genuinely care about.
Creating a good influencer campaign requires a level of understanding about your brand, the influencers brand, and the audience you are trying to target. But fear not! We have gathered our top influencer marketing tips to help you create a campaign that will have an impact, and be received well by the influencers audience.
Getting this right will really lay the foundations for a successful influencer campaign. At KRPT we will always start the strategy process by asking people within culture what they think about the brand we are working with and who is currently influencing them.
By doing the groundwork and getting the right consumer insights you can shape your creative ideas and make sure that what you are creating is really going to resonate. This could be as simple as sending out a survey to your target demographic or even speaking to a selection of micro influencers within the space you are trying to target - any insight you can gather that gives you some idea of what your target audience want to see and who influences them will be hugely beneficial.
As well as consumer insight, do your research into the platform that you are going to be marketing on. If you are doing a TikTok campaign, make sure you understand what the latest trends are (unfortunately they change every week!) and how people are using the platform. We see too many campaigns where a brand is working with an influencer on Instagram and there is no interaction with the audience, no thought about how they are working with the influencer on the platform in an engaging way. If you can really get an understanding of what the leading influencers are doing, what tactics they are using to drive engagement this will really help you shape your creative ideas.
This might be an obvious piece of advice but it’s surprising to see how many brands get it wrong. Before you work with any influencer you need to do your due diligence, make sure they are a good fit and that they will drive the right results.
Obviously with influencer marketing nothing is a guarantee, but there are certain things that you can look for that give you an indication of the results. The main one is engagement rate - an influencer can have 10 million followers but if they are only getting 100 likes per post then you don’t really want to work with them.
You also might find that influencers with a large following but a low engagement rate have an inflated price because they are basing their influence off the amount of followers rather than on how many people see and engage with their recent posts. As a rule of thumb, anything above 4% ER on Instagram is pretty good, and for bigger influencers over 1m followers anything above 2% is good.
Additionally, make sure you look at how branded content, not just standard posts, perform as some influencer’s audiences are not as receptive to these posts and the likes will drop right down. Again make sure you look at the number of comments on posts to see if they have an active and engaged community - if people are leaving quality comments that’s a good sign.
There are a few platforms out there which allow you to look at an influencer’s statistics and will help you recognise if they are the right fit for the brand. One of the main points to pay attention to is their quality of followers, and whether the influencer has paid for any of their audience.
The cardinal sin of influencer marketing is a lack of creativity. Time and time again audiences will yawn when they see yet another post of an influencer holding up a product saying ‘this is my fave ever’ and scroll on. Alternatively they might like the post because the influencer looks nice, but the brand gets completely lost.
If you are working with a creator, try and do something creative. It can be as simple as shooting a nice video, or you can opt for a more complex approach that integrates the brand themes in a more detailed way. If you want your brand to stand out, and for people to genuinely interact with it then you need to do something that captures your audience's attention and correctly utilises the skillsets of the influencer you are working with.
A great example of this is a recent campaign we did with WaterAid at the start of lockdown last year. WaterAid had a big gap in the donations that they would usually expect because Glastonbury festival was cancelled, as a result they needed to do something disruptive to raise money for their summer appeal.
Focused on the music industry, we recognised that a large majority of artists were live streaming from their homes because they were locked inside with not much else to do. We worked with this trend and decided to create an online music festival in partnership with Clash Magazine where an artist could perform from their homes to raise money.
To make this feel like a WaterAid campaign we knew we had to create something ownable, so we decided to get artists to perform from their bathrooms, and we created the first ever Bathroom Sessions festival. With over 45 artists performing and 15 million reach across the campaign I think this is a great example of how to do something creative to excite an audience and give them value.
A lot of brands will see influencer marketing as a separate channel but it is at its most effective when it can be linked to other areas of your marketing mix. An important part of influencer marketing is creating multiple touch-points and trying to extend the user journey so that you can drive people down your funnel. This can be as simple as having an influencer post multiple times across a month but if you can also link this up to your media strategy you can start to measure conversions more effectively and really drive results.
A key strategy within most of our campaigns will be to drive an audience to a specific landing page from an influencer's post and then retarget that pool of people with more content from the influencer in a different format. Think about your user journey, touch-points, and how you can use your influencers content to create a seamless audience experience from awareness to conversion.
There are a variety of tactics that you can use within influencer marketing to drive conversions but most importantly you need to offer some value exchange in order for people to take action. Something as simple as a discount can be effective, especially if it’s unique to the influencer, so can an event that people sign up for and win tickets to. Think about that value exchange and how you are creating an interaction with your audience that will give them a reason to learn more about your brand.
Finally, a good influencer brief can be the difference between a successful campaign and one that doesn’t quite hit the mark. Ideally the more creative control you can give to the influencer the better. They understand their audience and they should know what is going to resonate so letting them have an input into creative ideas will really benefit the content that you create.
Whilst it’s absolutely fine to have mandatories within the brief and things you need to get across, you don’t want to dictate what the content will look like otherwise it will become overly branded and unauthentic. Scripted content also does not tend to do very well across social media channels - you want it to feel as natural as possible so audiences won’t switch off as soon as they see the content.
Within the brief try to encourage the influencer to interact with their audience and create a conversation - asking the audience a question can really help to drive engagement and can help to explore your campaign themes. Make sure that you also include details on the link that you want to use if you are including a story’s swipe up and make sure that it’s clear in the copy where they can find the link.