Victoria Luck is managing director of Buzzoole UK, and will speaking at #smlondon LIVE! 2016. Click here to book your tickets!
2016 will go down as the year of the influencer.
They have just the human edge and authenticity that brands are after: a direct line to real people, real conversations and real emotions. The right influencer/brand partnership is gold dust.
Of course, it’s no use bringing any old influencer on board. For brands, knowing your audience is paramount. We all know that UNILAD readers don’t want to hear from the latest makeup blogger!
Until recently, finding the right influencers for the job wasn’t easy. Now automation has transformed the search by streamlining and bringing real transparency to the process. It enables what used to be a very labour-intensive task to be done in a fraction of the time, with much improved accuracy and efficiency.
Plus, it’s an approach that is scalable, robust and capable of generating significant cost-savings.
Quite simply, automation has changed the dynamics of influencer marketing. Marketers can rest assured that their campaigns are rooted in real data-led insight; with algorithms taking on every aspect of a brand’s requirements to ensure that only true ambassadors are chosen, thus connecting brands directly with their audiences. What’s more, the entire process is carried out with total transparency: allowing budgets to be set and stuck to, providing real-time reporting focused on agreed ROI and analytics.
Automation is a means of getting to the true nature of influence. When compared to manual approaches, it’s the difference between a rough sketch and vivid, realistic detail. Focussing on reach alone is outdated. What really matters are the types of conversations that influencers are having with their followers and the actual levels of engagement they achieve. Automation brings the ability to scrutinise all of these things as well as identifying who the key influencers are within specific topics. This means brands can target audiences that count.
So, you’re probably wondering whether you should put all your trust into an automated system?
Up to a point. Just ask any Tinder-user: whilst the app itself is reasonably accurate, the human element of swiping left is still an essential part of finding that perfect match. That’s why the best influencer marketing platforms counterbalance automation with a little human touch.
Brands need to ensure they are working with influencers who will boost their brand reputation, not destroy it. And leaving that process entirely in the hands of some software can feel risky. Influencer marketing businesses like ours are well aware that the stakes are high for brands dipping a toe into the influencer space for the first time.
We understand that the savviest brands have learned to value authenticity just as much as their consumers. They want to ensure above all else that what they share isn’t weak, awkward or at worst, irrelevant. So our highly experienced campaign management team adds an important human element in delivering successful influencer marketing programmes, providing marketers with vital reassurance.
Having someone on the campaign team to check all posts before they go out, and who is constantly monitoring the conversation on the brands’ behalf, means the margin for error is practically zero.
Of course, like all relationships, the marriage between influencer and brand relies on intelligent understanding and must deliver mutual benefits for both parties. Most brands know that influencers also have their reputations to protect, and that they simply won’t push out a message that doesn’t fit with their values, style or persona. If they behave out of character, especially as part of a sponsored post, they risk alienating followers.
This is especially true of micro-influencers (those with a following between 10,000 to 100,000), whose engagement rates amongst their followers are significantly higher than that of big-name celebrities. Automation enables a clear, consistent and data-led approach to influencer marketing to creates relationships that last.
A few quick takeaways:
- Analysing engagement gives a more detailed picture of influence than reach alone.
- Automating the hunt for influencers is quicker, more effective and delivers greater transparency.
- It’s not just brands, influencers have reputational concerns too.
- Don’t forget the human element: having experts to monitor campaigns is crucial.
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