Is Influencer Marketing Still Experimental?

By Erick Schwab, COO and Co-Founder at SYLO

Here’s something I’m sure all marketers can agree with – you don’t have it easy.

With so many different marketing approaches popping up on a regular basis, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. The question is always: “what to add to your core marketing mix and what to leave behind?”

Influencer marketing is one of those tactics that often inspires lively debates.

Is it still new and experimental? How do you measure its ROI? Which team should handle it – PR, media, social? Seeing how it hasn’t been long since it became mainstream, it’s easily understand the confusion that influencer marketing creates internally.

So, is influencer marketing still experimental?

The answer can be both yes and no, and it depends on how you treat it within your company. If you’re activating your first few campaigns then yes, it’s experimental. However, the costs will balloon up quickly, making its ‘experimental’ status unsustainable in the long run.

That’s why it’s important to plug influencer marketing into your core marketing mix as soon as possible. Treat it as you would any other media you purchase so it can be evaluated equally against contributes to your overall goals. As for who should handle it, the answer is – dedicated professionals who will make sure that influencer campaigns don’t devolve into more questions verse results.

Integrating influencer marketing into your core marketing strategy and benchmarking it against past practices allows you to see its effectiveness in relation to everything else you’re doing. It also gives you an opportunity to measure the impact influencer marketing is having on your other marketing mediums – what it boosts and by how much.

If you fail to do that, you run the risk of executing campaigns that miss the mark more often than they hit it. Experimenting is good and well, but if you’re not measuring—if you’re not learning from those one-off campaigns—you can’t evolve your strategies. The real threat here is becoming locked in superficial partnerships and never exploring what you can get from deeper, long-term relationships with creators.

Why One-Off Influencer Marketing Campaigns Are a Missed Opportunity

Instagram alone is a $1 BILLION economy in terms of influencer marketing. It’s possible that the economy on that one platform is even bigger when we factor in the related costs. Add all of the other social media platforms to that and the amount of money spent on influencer marketing becomes mind-boggling.

I’m willing to wager that a good chunk of that money is spent on one-off campaigns, with just a fraction of it being diverted into long-term relationships that actually have some value.

Consistently engaging in one-off campaigns without exploring the deep end of the pool can put both brands and creators in jeopardy.

  • Campaigns will feel like adverts – an underlying thread connecting the brand and the creator is often missing, resulting in disjointed campaigns that are not in sync with everything else the creator is producing.
  • The possibility of sending a wrong message increases – since there’s no connection, there’s no way to know how audiences will react to the brand. Will they consider the collaboration an ‘intrusion’? If they do, they will simply manually ‘ad block’ content and that will be the end of that collaboration.
  • No access to any substantial data – monitoring campaigns over time gives brands the opportunity to learn about demographics, trends, engagement, and more. One-off campaigns are a very unreliable source of said data.

This is part one of a two part series on how brands can integrate influencer campaigns into their marketing mix and measure for success. Click here to read part two which dives into the best practices for making influencer campaigns a part of your core marketing strategy.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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