We took a closer look at influencer marketing with our colleague Alina Bock, who is responsible for influencer marketing and social advertising at the JOM Group.
One thing is clear: influencer marketing is not an easy marketing discipline. Influencers are creators, models and often photographers at the same time. When it comes to choosing the right influencer, however, it’s all about the “fit” between brand and influencer. But also the change in importance of the channels as well as the general planning of collaborations is crucial for authenticity.
JOM: How do advertisers know which influencers are right for their marketing strategy?
Alina: Before we can even sound out with our clients which influencers are the right ones, there are a few things to work out in advance – three questions that every advertiser should ask themselves help with this: What do I want to achieve with the influencer campaign? Who do I want to reach? And: How do I want to reach my target group?
The question “What do I want to achieve with the influencer campaign?” serves to delineate the actual goal of the campaign. Possible goals include increasing brand awareness, improving brand image, supporting product launches or relaunches, and boosting sales of specific products. The question “Who do I want to reach?” asks about the target group. The advertiser’s knowledge of this forms the basis for the conception of the campaign idea and the ultimate channel selection. The question “How do I want to reach my target audience?” targets the campaign idea. Should it be posts around a specific product or around a complete product range. Advertisers can choose here, for example, between a classic product placement, an unboxing, a test, discount codes or sweepstakes, as well as an account takeover or an entire event.
Now we come to the actual task, the selection of suitable influencers. At this point, however, it should be said: Reach is not everything! The “fit” between brand and influencer is crucial – authenticity is the keyword here. In addition to the quantitative analysis of reach, likes and growth, the supreme discipline is to place value above all on the qualitative characteristics. These include credibility, likeability, interaction with the community, and an assessment of what topics the influencers stand for.
Finally, I would like to emphasize that the discipline of “influencer marketing” and influencers themselves are not a simple advertising medium that can be booked quickly. Influencers are creator, model and often photographer at the same time. In addition to a precise briefing on the part of the advertiser, intensive and good communication is the be-all and end-all.
JOM: What trends do you see coming up in influencer marketing in the near future?
Alina: From my point of view, these are the following four factors.
Less advertising, more storytelling.
The Corona pandemic also showed us what matters, and that carries over to influencer marketing – the community, and therefore influencers, care about cohesion, added value, and an authentic demeanor. Staging the products in front of a pretty backdrop is no longer enough today. The community wants to be taken along and entertained.
Nano- and micro-influencers are gaining in importance
“Smaller” influencers may have less reach, but they often have a more personal and familiar exchange with their community, which in turn ensures more engagement.
Long-term collaborations can be a win-win situation. If a more personal relationship develops between the company and the influencer, the advertiser benefits on the one hand, since the influencer identifies with the company and can thus convey the message/product more authentically. On the other hand, the influencer can thereby contribute integration ideas himself, which enable a new perspective and can be taken into account.
Change in the importance of channels
If the channels have been clearly defined in their use up to now, there will be more movement here in the future and this will also have an effect on the significance of the channels. For example, podcasts – these are an extremely popular format on Spotify, so that generally more and more podcasts are being created (even by previously unknown people). But even well-known big names from the influencer world are expanding their field of activity in this way and launching their own podcast. The live shopping function, which is already active in the U.S. and is soon to be introduced in Germany, will also change the significance of Instagram. Here, influencers can then advertise products during a livestream and present them for purchase. In the future, users will no longer have to leave the app to make a purchase.
JOM: Where do you see the pain points in the development of influencer marketing campaigns?
Alina: A clear advantage of influencer marketing campaigns for companies is that they have to invest less technical effort. In return, significantly more energy and resource must be put into communication. The agency or the influencer marketing managers are mediators between the company and the influencer.
Often a campaign “fails” due to the different ideas of the client and the influencer regarding “good content”. The challenge then is to maintain a balance between guidelines/control (how should images be staged and stories told) and creative freedom. Also, when it comes to issues such as timing and billing, it’s important to keep in mind that in many cases influencers are private individuals who may have children and are employees pursuing a job in addition to being an “influencer.”
How do you see this marketing discipline developing over the next few years?
Alina: Influencer marketing is here to stay. The unbroken demand for moving images also means that the importance of influencers will continue to grow. Today, Instagram, TikTok and the like are no longer just platforms for communication or serve as a source of inspiration. Keyword social commerce – especially in the area of spontaneously made purchase decisions, social media channels can score points. Customers don’t even have to leave the platform to do so.
Influencer marketing is already an integral part of the marketing mix today and should at least always be considered as a supplement.