Influencer Marketing in 2020: Invest, Carefully
Now is an ideal time to invest in influencer marketing, but these charged and unpredictable times require a carefully managed, nimble approach. A brand’s influencers need to adopt a tone and language that’s authentic to the brand, content must be thoughtful and relevant, and brands must be ready to pivot on a dime as circumstances shift unexpectedly.
Why Invest Now?
Engagement on influencer channels is on the rise and influencer costs are coming down. Facebook and Instagram have recently seen a 50% increase in livestreams and YouTube US viewership has increased 63%, according to Entrepreneur magazine, with some influencers seeing as much as a 76% increase in “likes” in sponsored Instagram posts. In the meantime, brands are cutting budgets, leading influencers to drop their prices to compete, with some influencer fees dropping as much as 25%. More importantly, in this time when consumer trust is more elusive than ever, a good influencer can speak directly to followers who trust them, bridging that trust gap for brands. Furthermore, most brand marketers are likely prevented from accessing their full suite of studio production resources. Influencers offer a great value here, developing and producing brand-specific content and providing brands the opportunity to reuse that content as needed.
Careful Management is Essential
Consumers feel the impact of every new headline and economic shift, so getting your brand’s message just right across all channels is tricky – and essential. Best practice is to carefully vet your influencers, which includes obtaining detailed information on an influencer’s audience demographics and habits to determine their fit with your campaign goals. While an influencer might appear to be the right fit initially, you may be surprised by who is, and isn’t, following them.
Upon contracting with an influencer, brands should partner closely with them to ensure their content and language reflects the brand’s point of view. Several of our agency’s brands are in regulated industries, so close collaboration also ensures these influencers can speak with confidence about the brand’s benefits, while staying within the legal boundaries of allowable language. Brands can also empower their influencers with consumer insights to inform messaging tone and content. The result is a strong, authentic connection between brand, influencer, and consumer—leading to increased engagement, trust, and sales.
This agency has a baby care client and, in preparation for launching a new influencer campaign, we surveyed a panel of people planning to have children, in order to understand their mindset in the COVID-19 era. We have an ongoing AI-driven digital campaign running for them which tells us – in real time – which brand messages our consumers are connecting with, and which ones they’re ignoring. We closely review the types of engagements we’re getting on the digital media, and what they’re saying. Taken together, this data informs the influencer strategy for our baby brand, helping our influencers avoid costly missteps while demonstrating that our brand can be trusted to deliver what they truly need, at a fair price.
Measure Relentlessly and Adapt Often
Careful management extends to thorough and frequent measurement. Setting up your influencer campaign must include a comprehensive measurement strategy, complete with appropriate KPIs and frequent measurement and optimization. By measuring KPIs such as impressions, engagements and clicks, as well as analyzing audience sentiment in their engagement, brands will be armed with the most up to the minute data to anticipate what messaging and content will compel their consumers to choose their brand.