“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is.” - Scott Cook, co-founder, Intuit
This is the first in a Women's Marketing series on influencer marketing.
Brands are increasingly investing in influencer marketing programs—in fact, a recent study found 84% of marketers are including influencers as part of their strategy. We spoke with Max Klausner, founder of influencer marketing firm BrandBacker, which focuses on beauty brands and has worked with leading companies in the industry (Redken, Markwins Beauty Brands, and Clarisonic) and works with more than 15,000 bloggers, vloggers, and social media superstars about the brand influencer relationship, overcoming common challenges, and how to evaluate the ROI of influencer programs.
Women’s Marketing: How have influencers changed the conversation between brands and consumers?
Max Klausner: In the past, the conversation between brands and consumers was top down. In other words, the communication was previously one sided; the brand advertised to consumers but the consumers had very little communication with the brand or other customers. This has completely changed in the age of digital media, which has allowed everyone to have a voice and become an “influencer.”
As the power has shifted to the individual so has the ability of the consumer to influence purchasing behavior. Consumers are more likely to trust the opinion of other consumers over the brand itself. As a result, brands must work with content creators (influencers) to shape the conversation and tell their story through the eyes of their consumers. Working with influencers helps brands reach new audiences across many channels as well as produce authentic content that can be leveraged across their marketing channels or the point of purchase.
Women’s Marketing: What makes an influencer a good fit for a brand?
Max Klausner: When picking influencers to work with, the first thing to consider is their affinity for your brand. Is this someone who is passionate about your product or space? Is this person already a customer? Does this person write about similar products? These questions generally align with the demographic of the influencer and their audience.
Two other considerations are the influencer’s size and content quality. The size of an influencer, or how many followers they have, affects what kind of compensation they will be looking for. Larger influencers, such as celebrities, are generally attracted to paid opportunities. Medium and emerging influencers will often create content (e.g. reviews) in exchange for the product. It’s worth noting that the size of the influencer doesn’t always correlate with content quality. There are many smaller influencers who create beautiful content (e.g., great photos) and larger influencers who aren’t necessarily as strong. This means you’re ideally looking to optimize for reach and content quality when selecting influencers.
Women’s Marketing: How have influencers adapted their practices to stay relevant to consumers?
Max Klausner: Influencers have to adapt to new media and channels as technology changes, particularly social media dominates. Bloggers and writers in many cases have adapted to social media as a distribution channel. Other bloggers have shifted to social media as their primary channel, creating shorter form content. Video is now becoming more accessible and important as well (e.g. YouTube, Instagram, snapchat). It really comes down to being where your audience is and creating engaging content that provides value to readers /viewers.
Women’s Marketing: What are the biggest challenges brands have when working with influencers and how can they overcome them?
Max Klausner: Identifying, reaching out to, and collaborating with, influencers is time consuming!. Working with multiple cre simultaneously and tracking the performance of the posts can also be challenging.
We worked to overcome those challenges through technology. BrandBacker helps brands build relationships with influencers by combining software with a network of over 15k influencers. The platform allows you to discover influencers to work with, manage the content creation process, and track and measure the performance of content created.
Other challenges outside of the logistics of managing the process come down to expectations and voice. Brands need to understand that influencers have their own unique voice that might be different than the brands. This is what makes the influencer authentic in the eyes of their audience. Brands also need to clearly communicate their objectives and be prepared logistically before the beginning of campaigns (e.g. sending samples in a timely manner).
Women’s Marketing: Beyond ROI, how can brands evaluate the success of an influencer campaign?
Max Klausner: There are a number of benefits to working with influencers: The first is original content. Brands often neglect the value of the content itself and fail to leverage it as effectively as possible. Authentic reviews and articles are valuable for educating and engaging consumers. Increasing your content base and integrating into your marketing materials and at the point of purchase is now essential. Having content created about you can also help your discoverability and influence the conversation when consumers are researching your brand.
The benefit of creating content specifically with influencers is that you’re reaching new audiences on new channels in a more authentic way. Measuring reach, engagement, and virality help evaluate performance of individual posts and a campaign as a whole. Unlike other forms of advertising content does not disappear once it’s created and can continue to influence decisions long after it’s created.
Is are you trying to extend the reach of your brand through influencer marketing? Contact Women's Marketing today to learn how!
Source: Social Times, October 2015