As influencer marketing matures as a discipline, the decision is usually not if to implement it but how. One of the first decisions is whether to manage it in-house or through a network or agency. This common influencer marketing challenge is one nearly every brand faces.
Given the significant time commitment and exceptionally high attention to detail necessary to identify brand-right influencers, when departments are stretched thin or just need an extension of their team to manage, engaging a third party is often a natural choice. When researching a partner, marketers are faced with the prospect of evaluating dozens of organizations: large influencer databases or marketplaces, boutique networks, influencer-run collectives and numerous other operations.
As a social media marketing agency that has pioneered and executed hundreds of award-winning influencer marketing campaigns, The Motherhood understands the unique benefits of engaging a boutique agency.
High-Tech vs. High-Touch
Many large influencer networks tout their marketplace of tens or hundreds of thousands (even millions) of influencers who are available to brands at the click of a mouse. Campaigns are run through slick-looking dashboards with hands-off capabilities that are positioned as an advantage.
While on the surface a high degree of hands-off automation may seem like a benefit, the reality is that a high-tech approach can, at a minimum, fall flat without a high-touch element, or could snowball into a PR nightmare under the wrong conditions.
Connecting Humans with Humans (And The Secret We Love to Keep)
Considering 75 percent of professionals say identifying the right influencers to be the biggest influencer marketing challenge for a sponsored content campaign, it’s not just a significant time commitment but also an exceptionally detailed task. Reviewing thousands of prospective influencers within a database — even after extensive filtering, sorting and filing — doesn’t take into account the very necessary human element to the selection process.
A few examples of special circumstances that it takes a human to handle:
- A pharmaceutical company wants to engage influencers but their drug is not suitable for anyone who is pregnant or nursing, and there’s usually not a way to accurately screen for the latest information when filtering through a database (considering parenting status changes on a daily basis). So having a partner that has the latest information on-hand is a game-changer. (It’s very common for influencers to share their pregnancy status with us before it’s public news so we can confidentially consider that criteria for upcoming campaigns. It’s a secret we love to keep!)
- A leading manufacturer and distributor of lumber wants to connect with influencers in western states in the U.S. to showcase their high-quality product through unique, influencer-built projects, but doesn’t want “typical” DIY influencers.
- An influencer’s child was just diagnosed with lactose intolerance so we know to exclude her from a dairy campaign or target her for a lactose-free product launch.
- With the rise of CBD and THC product marketing campaigns, we know if a creator is open to CBD-only products, hybrid products, medical marijuana, and other special considerations, including the legalities of each person’s geography.
Avoiding “The One That Got Away”
We understand the frustration that comes after prospective influencer partners undergo multiple layers of review within an organization, only for the brand to then learn that the influencer they’ve jumped through hoops to get approved isn’t interested in a partnership, is out of the available budget range or is about to launch a campaign with a competitor. Then it’s back to square one.
Influencer marketing is a relationship business, and specialized influencer agencies typically maintain ongoing relationships with creators. This personal connection leads to a higher campaign acceptance rate when extending an invitation, as well as a knowledge of past, current or upcoming partnerships that may be considered conflicts of interest.
Keeping the Spark Alive
In an average campaign, account directors have many dozens of hours of communication with influencers – and that number rises to the hundreds for longer-term ambassadorships. There are numerous touch points with prospective and confirmed influencers, including:
- The initial program request
- One or more rounds of negotiation
- Contract signature or request for tax-related documents
- Briefing the participants on the messaging, theme and approach
- Copy review and approval
- Coverage monitoring and reminders; monitoring for disclosure and FTC compliance
- Legal, medical and/or regulatory compliance oversight, if relevant
- Follow-up to request corrections
- Results collection and reporting
We view influencer marketing as a very human, very personal discipline. Each communications touch point is an opportunity — person to person, not person to dashboard — to endear an influencer to your brand and generate long-term affinity. By creating a human connection and putting a face behind the network and the brand, the influencer knows they are heard, valued and appreciated. We know this to be a powerful incentive to build lasting partnerships and to produce high-quality content that moves the needle.
To discuss ways our boutique agency can deliver value and help overcome this influencer marketing challenge, email firstname.lastname@example.org.