Will Taking Influencer Marketing In-House Negatively Impact Your Brand?
A few moments ago, I followed up with a prospect to learn that they decided to handle their influencer marketing in-house versus partnering with a specialty influencer marketing agency. In this instance it was no doubt a budgetary decision and I can certainly respect the concept of trying DIY to save money.
But does it really save money in the long-run? A few mistakes can mean a brand ends up paying as much as they would have anyway, with fewer results to show for it. In fact, that's just one of 10 things to consider before you decide to execute influencer marketing in-house instead of utilizing an influencer marketing company like Carusele.
1. Knowing How Much to Pay Various Influencers Based on Dozens of Other Campaigns
This alone can be a huge money saver. We've had clients pay influencers 3-4x more than market rate for their assignments. I mean literally the same influencer we'd worked with for X they paid 4x.
With no knowledge of what market rates are for these programs, and no formulas for calculating expected return, setting budgets for influencer fees can be a guessing game for a novice.
2. Comparing Your Performance to Other Campaigns
When the program ends, you excitedly go to your boss and say, "The campaign was great. We got X thousand engagements and Y hundred visits to our website." The next questions from your boss will likely include the phrase, "Is that good?"
While there are ROI based answers to that question, there are also "compared to what?" answers to those questions. It may be difficult to know if you're doing well if you're not doing dozens and dozens of programs every year.
3. Knowing Which Influencers Consistently Deliver for Other Brands
We keep data on each influencer's performance (including clicks to websites and conversions to sales) on every program we do. We also pull performance of their organic content as compared to their paid content to see who really has influence when they do sponsored content.
When you're only hiring influencers for a single brand, you won't have the data to know who consistently delivers real results. We even keep a black list of influencers we'll never work with for a variety of reasons.
4. Access to Advanced Infrastructure
If influencer marketing is just another thing your marketing team is working on, you're unlikely to have access to advanced infrastructure, such as Carusele's Content Performance Index and iStack algorithms. It makes sense for us to build those to serve all of our clients, but less sense for you to invest the time (or have the data) to build it in-house.
5. Paying For a Team 24/7 When Influencer Programs Might Ebb and Flow
The good part about using a team like Carusele is that you only pay when you're running a program. Influencer marketing is complicated enough that you'll want to have expertise working on it in-house and whether or not you're running programs all year round or not, they are likely going to want their paychecks to keep flowing.
6. Influencer Management is Labor Intensive
Some of our best customers did influencer management in-house first! They learned how much time it takes to build lists, vet influencers, find contact information, communicate with them, get them to accept assignments, execute contracts, ensure they post on time and on assignment, pay them, send tax forms out at the end of the year, pull data and report on results. It's no joke! Expect a lot of time bent over your screen.
We have systems that improve a lot of these activities, but it's still a lot of work. You may find that one person can't do it all.
7. Access to Implications of Industry Changes, Such as Algorithm or Platform Changes
We meet with representatives of the major social networks weekly and get updated on what's new and what's coming next. Then we see the ramifications of those changes across multiple campaigns for different brands with different content types driving to different results. It's hard for an individual brand to have that information and real world experience to know how to keep up.
8. Guaranteed Results at Agency's Risk
Not every agency does this, but we provide a flat fee with guaranteed results. If influencer costs rise (as they are doing currently) that risk is on us. If we didn't hit our guaranteed performance numbers, we keep spending our money until we do. If you do it in-house, either your performance or your budget is at risk.
9. Learning From Fits and Starts of Other Brands
Earlier I talked about comparing performance across many brand's programs, and that is valuable. But no less valuable is the ability to provide the learnings from many programs to the management of yours. What are influencers excited about doing today? What will they not do? What contract language is fine? What isn't? All of those learnings are better the more programs you do and an influencer marketing agency is going to do more influencer programs than a single in-house team.
10. Paying for Influencer Management Software With No Ability to Spread the Cost
Unless you have a serious love for crawling through social networks manually, building your own APIs and working in Excel all day, you're going to want one of the many (many, many!) influencer management software systems out there. You're going to sign a year long contract with no cancellation clause and you're not going to be able to spread that cost among all your various clients. (You also may not have done the research to see which of them are actually good, but that's an entirely different blog post.)
While in-house work will always be cheaper than agency services on a per hour basis (mathematically it has to be), there are a number of hidden costs and sacrifices that in-house teams will make.
If you need help with influencer marketing services, please feel free to reach out with the form below.