Last week, we hosted an Influencer Focus Webinar discussing strategies for optimisation ahead of the Golden Quarter. Awin’s Influencer Partnerships Manager, Francesca Dakin, was joined by Nick Jackson from Orpiva, Ana Thorsdottir from Tagger Media, and Alex Chavez-Munoz from Viral Group.
We collate the five key takeaways from the webinar that will help shape and support brands' influencer strategies moving forwards.
The relationship between influencer and brand is two-way
Influencer collaborations are not like TV adverts, influencer marketing is a relatable channel. Too much control over aesthetics and captions can hinder performance. Creating a staged image may not be the best way to encourage sales. Follower numbers are not the be all and end all, it is the influencer’s relationship with their audience. In addition, influencers prioritise brands they love and respect. They will reward the brands that have supported them and may over-deliver on content organically for the brands they enjoy working with and that allow for creativity over stylised posts.
Brands need to take a step back
Brands should supply a clear and stripped back brief to influencers and agencies. The main focus of the brief should be to convey Key Performance Indicators and main campaign objectives. This allows for influencers to create and communicate to their audience in the way they know best. Remember, you have already selected the influencer for their quality content and audience alignment. Now, let the influencers be themselves. Too much brand dictation creates a sponsorship feel and deters followers from purchasing – a follower will easily be able identify when an influencer’s post seems out of line with non-sponsored ones. Get the creator involved from the campaign concept stages – if they are not inspiring you, then you know they might not be the best representative of your brand.
Influencer activations should be considered a long-term investment
Brands should look to invest in longer-term activations with influencers. There are approximately 9.2 touchpoints before a consumer makes a purchase. As we know, influencer marketing is often attributed to the upper funnel, piquing audience interest and inspiring online users to research products before buying. By implementing regular collaborations, or ambassador-style activations (plus, some brand boosting), audiences become aware of your brand via multiple experiences. Regular activations help to build a level of trust with audiences rather than a one-off call to action. This consolidation of brand affinity helps to build credence to the influencer partnership, whilst reaching a niche and targeted audience without discounting or supplying vouchers.
ROI goes beyond transactions
Commencing an influencer strategy with transactional return as the key performance metric is a common brand mistake. Whilst there is potential for returns, the mistake lies in undervaluing the influencer opportunity. Influencer marketing is not an independent channel, it both supports and complements brand KPIs. Influencer marketing delivers engagement and success via the interaction with their audience. They can create content from anywhere and in shorter turnaround times. The global pandemic has shown us the true value of influencers: they are versatile and reactive. Throughout lockdown, influencers have created content for brands unable to shoot planned content, they communicated information and last minute changes in brand messaging, and produced UGC for brand boosting and social channels.
Scheduling is imperative for brand and influencer
As with most campaigns, start your campaign planning early. Influencers are often working with multiple brands across a quarter or month, and they best understand when to post or integrate sponsored posts within their social feeds. Too much advertising deters followers and reduced engagement as audiences are looking for lifestyle value and a community feel when following an influencer. Rushed campaigns, delayed product launches and over-posting can mess with an influencer’s schedule and consequently the success of your campaign.