Influencer marketing is a booming industry, with billions being spent on it, so it’s natural for marketers of all kinds to consider their place in the space. But the first question to ask yourself is: Is your brand ready for influencer marketing?
Ideally, you’ve likely already implemented social media marketing, social media paid advertising, Google ads, and perhaps other tactics. If you’ve done none of those, I’ll stop you there and suggest you work on those first. But if you have, there are a number of considerations to take into account as you make your decision.
1. Do you Have Enough Budget?
The days of offering influencers free products in exchange for posting are all but gone. Established influencers will not accept these arrangements, so you’ll be left with up-and-comers with limited experience.
At Carusele, we pay each influencer in every campaign we do, usually in addition to free product. They are providing a content creation service and lending their image to it, both of which have value. Influencer fees also vary widely depending on a number of factors. If you can’t afford to pay the influencers, you can’t afford to run an influencer program.
Similarly, the promise of a payout (affiliate) is more attractive to an influencer coming from established brands with a demonstrated history of conversion and payment. But in those cases, you generally don’t maintain as much control over the content.
Do you have funds available for paid syndication of the influencer content? Organic reach rates (defined as the percentage of an influencer’s followers who are likely to see a given post) have continued to decline over the years. There’s no reason to expect that trend to reverse itself.
We recommend at least $25,000 in total budget for an initial program to have sufficient funds to pay the influencers, media costs, and agency fees.
2. Is Your Campaign Timeline Realistic?
We have brands coming to us 2 weeks before they want to launch a program and that’s simply not realistic. In between the first call and the first content going live, a strategy needs to be set, a contract and terms need to be agreed upon, influencers need to be found, briefed, and put under contract, and product needs to be delivered. Then influencers need time to create the content.
Many influencers do this as a part-time avocation, so they need larger chunks of free time to create the content, meaning it’s often created on the weekends.
We typically look for 4 weeks between contract signing and the first content going live. If there is additional time needed to develop and sign the contract and/or educate the influencer on the product, that will add more time to the timeline. During peak periods, such as holidays, the most desirable influencers book up early so more lead time is a benefit to the brand in those cases.
3. Is Your Product’s Lifetime Value High Enough?
All e-commerce efforts have an acquisition cost to them. While influencer marketing can be highly effective, there is a cost to pay an influencer marketing agency like Carusele, pay the influencers, and pay for media syndication. Products that have a small lifetime value are unlikely to recoup the initial investment.
4. B2C or B2B?
An early question to ask is if you’re brand is business to consumer or business to business. While B2B influencer marketing can be successful, the process is very different. Why? For starters, there are thousands of influencers in place already in common B2C categories, such as food, fitness, fashion, lifestyle, electronics, and more. They create content, paid and unpaid, around these topics.
If you’re a B2B brand, how often have you seen influencers writing about your industry in a credible way? Do they exist? If they exist, are they able to enter into contractual relationships with companies like yours? Some thought leaders in an industry are prohibited by their employers, their contracts, or their personal ethics from endorsing any particular brand.
It’s not impossible, but it’s certainly different from the more common B2C influencer marketing.
5. Are you in a Regulated Industry?
Regulated industries such as finance, supplements, and alcohol can do influencer marketing. In fact, at Carusele we’ve worked in all three areas. But they add additional challenges that can impede programs, increase costs, increase timelines, or reduce efficiency.
Ask yourself what limitations your industry would require you to put on influencers.
- For banks, for example, would influencers need to put a full banking disclosure on each piece of content?
- For financial advisors, are you comfortable with the influencer giving financial advice that you are sponsoring?
- For supplements, would you be asking them to ingest a supplement that they may be uncomfortable with? Do you have ingredients in your products that influencers would object to?
- For alcohol brands, are you ready to comply with alcohol marketing guidelines with your influencer content?
- For the healthcare industry, are influencers with a particular condition readily found? Are they likely to want to discuss their conditions and/or your medications?
6. Are you Comfortable with the Measurement Options?
We’ve written a lot about measuring influencer marketing and we feel that more can be measured than what a lot of our competitors do. Having said that, measurement is getting a bit harder with the launch of iOS 14.5 and the demise of the cookie.
Even beyond that, however, a product sales cycle, price, cross-promotion, and other considerations impact the likelihood of being able to measure the impact of a specific influencer program.
- Product Sales Cycle: Influencers can, and do, talk about cars to buy. But if people purchase a new car every 5 to 7 years at a dealership not digitally connected to the marketing, attribution is going to be quite a challenge.
- Price: Selling a $3,900 piece of jewelry is going to be harder than selling a $149 piece of jewelry;
- Cross-Promotion: If we’re promoting Frito-Lay products, for example, that are also being promoted in a retail circular, on TV, and being moved to an end cap in a grocer, pulling out the impact of the influencer program will be challenging.
When you consider these six questions, it should become clear whether your brand is ready for influencer marketing. If you are, please feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to discuss your options. Alternatively, keep yourself and your influencer team up-to-date on the latest news and trends in the industry by subscribing to our newsletter below.
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