2022 planning is underway... and might even be finished if your influencer marketing teams have been able to get ahead of the game. But don't dot those I's and cross those T's just yet. After another eventful year of running many successful influencer marketing programs for a variety of consumer brands and retailers, our team of influencer marketing experts is sharing some of the valuable insights we've gained this year - insights your teams should apply to your 2022 influencer marketing strategy.
8 Insights to Enhance Your 2022 Influencer Marketing Strategy
Step Back From the Creative Process
It's very important that brands stop strictly dictating influencer content. Part of the reason influencers are so influential is because of the way they authentically tie brand sponsorships into their everyday lives. They approach their content from the consumer's point of view, not the brand's point of view, and they know how to position products in a way that appeals to their audience.
If your brand is micro-managing their work, or worse, copywriting their content for them (which is a HUGE faux pas) you're not allowing the influencer's voice to be heard and you're likely hindering the performance of the content.
Instead, "build the fence and then let them play in the playground." What we mean here is set some guardrails with your influencers but then step back and let them do what they do best. Trust that your influencers are going to create a story that really resonates with their audiences. Plus, if you're working with an agency like Carusele, our teams are working on your behalf to make sure influencers are following the guardrails put in place and keeping your brand safe.
Diversify Your Channel Strategy
If the Facebook outage taught us anything this year, it's that brands should never rely on a single channel for their marketing efforts. Too many influencer marketing contracts are dependant on Instagram and Facebook, and while these channels have made it much easier to execute influencer marketing initiatives (almost too easy), there are others out there where your audience is active.
TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest are excellent and dependable alternatives if you're looking to add a new channel into the mix. In fact, TikTok has become the #2 platform for influencer marketing this year. That said, be mindful of how influencer rates change from channel to channel, especially when a new channel (like TikTok) focuses on video content (which is a lot more expensive). There are also some complications when it comes to music rights for sponsored posts on TikTok, so be wary of that as well.
Pay Influencers Appropriately
Influencers can't pay their bills with free products or experiences. What's worse is blindly sending an influencer product with no proper introduction and hoping the influencer posts about your brand. These types of exchanges just simply aren't profitable for your business.
Influencer marketing has 100% become a pay-to-play world, and it's time brands set aside appropriate budgets to compensate influencers for their time and creativity. Unsure what amount is appropriate to compensate your influencer partners? Learn how to confidently calculate influencer rates.
Set Realistic Timelines
Are you trying to launch influencer marketing programs in a 1-2 week timeframe (or less)? Meaning during that two weeks you're going to vet and identify influencers, negotiate contracts, ship products, have influencers create social images, videos, and copy, review influencer assets, and have content go live across multiple social channels. Does that sound doable in 2 weeks? What happens if you need to request revisions? What if you're entering the holiday season and are having trouble identifying available influencers? There are so many variables and moving pieces in an influencer marketing program that it's important to set realistic timelines.
At Carusele, we typically require a minimum of 4 weeks to conduct all of the behind-the-scenes work (everything from vetting influencers to reviewing final content). For those brands that require additional attention and want to review items internally, that timing increases to give the influencer adequate time to do their part in the program. If you're looking for ways to speed up the approval process, check out our tips on simplifying content approvals.
Enforce FTC Compliance
Following FTC guidelines is extremely important. Last month, the FTC sent notices to over 700 brands and retailers reminding them of the rules of disclosure and warning them to use disclosures in all of their influencer marketing efforts moving forward. We're still unsure why so many brands refuse to be FTC compliant since it really doesn't hurt your brand content. If anything, it shows that an influencer is more credible in the content that they're creating and that the brand is truly sponsoring that influencer. Regardless, it's something you're required to do. If you're not up-to-date on how your influencers should be clear and conspicuous about their paid sponsorships, download our FTC Compliance Cheat Sheet to have on hand.
Be Mindful of Content Rights
Within all of our programs, our clients get perpetual rights to reuse influencer content after a campaign has ended, which is a tremendous added value. That said, it's added value that more and more brands need to be willing to pay for. We're seeing influencers increasing requests, especially from TikTok influencers, for additional compensation for content rights. Why? Influencers don’t want to be working with a brand one minute and seeing their content on another brand’s channels at the same time, so they're charging more for both usage right and exclusivity terms.
Consider an Ambassador Strategy
We’ve seen influencer ambassador strategies outperform one-off campaigns on many different levels. These types of programs allow for better, longer optimizations, an increase in overall engagement rates, improved content quality, efficiency over time, and so much more. Additionally, when you're running an ambassador program and working with the same influencers on multiple campaigns, you not only create a positive relationship with the influencer (who will likely choose to work with you over a competitor now) but with their audience. The content that an influencer creates when they're more regularly talking about your brand provides a more authentic look and feel since they're not endorsing tons of other brands.
Know the Difference Between Influencers and Affiliates
Affiliate marketing and influencer marketing are two very different things, however, some marketers tend to use these terms interchangeably. Affiliate marketing is more focused on lower-funnel activities. Influencers are getting a percentage of what they sell, which gives them more incentive to work harder so they can make more money. That said, affiliate content isn't always the best quality. On the flip side, influencer marketing, while more focused on high-funnel activities, requires you to pay an influencer a flat fee for content and promotion of your product.
Hopefully the above insights can help guide your 2022 influencer marketing strategy towards success. If you're looking for a new influencer marketing agency to help manage your programs, contact us today.
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