The rise of influencer marketing doesn’t seem to be slowing, and it’s easy to see why.
It is the inevitable result of content and social coming together, and many brands have already seen some impressive results from this channel.
But with it comes a number of challenges that many marketers are struggling to overcome, as outlined in our recent report, The Rise of Influencers, in collaboration with Fashion and Beauty Monitor.
In this post I’m going to cover the top three challenges that marketers face when it comes to working with influencers, and how you can overcome them.
If you want to learn how to ace influencer marketing in three steps, join Fashion and Beauty Monitor’s webinar on 3rd March.
Identifying the right influencer
This is the most commonly cited hurdle by the fashion and beauty marketers surveyed, with almost three quarters (73%) saying it was the biggest challenge in working with influencers.
Q: What has been the biggest challenge in working with influencers?
This could come down to an education gap, or it could be down to marketers simply lacking the right tools to effectively carry out influencer research.
Brands are realising that it takes more than a quick Google or Twitter search to find relevant and valuable influencers.
Frequently this task is outsourced to an agency that may or may not know any more about finding influencers than the brand does, so it becomes a convoluted process. A better approach is to bring talent in-house.
British beauty blogger Jane Cunningham says:
Employing a digital person who has no PR skills and, more importantly, no press contacts, is fairly pointless.
The second biggest challenge is trying measure the return on investment (ROI), and therefore justifying spend on the channel.
This issue certainly isn’t unique to influencer marketing. Brands and agencies alike have been struggling with ROI for many years, particularly when it comes to areas such as content and social.
Perhaps instead of looking at direct financial return it would be more useful to consider the specific non-financial objectives of a campaign.
79% of respondents cite ‘web traffic generated’ as their biggest indicator of success, for example, while 54% say ‘press coverage generated’.
Q: How do you measure the success of a campaign where influencers have been used as part of the strategy?
These metrics might not translate easily onto the balance sheet, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valuable.
Getting their attention and engaging them
The third most-cited challenge is approaching and engaging influencers, with 59% of respondents struggling with this issue the most.
Part of this problem probably stems from the increasing popularity of influencer marketing. As more brands want to get on board, demand for influencers goes up, which means brands have to work harder to win them over.
Currently the influencers have the power.
To have the best chance of engaging an influencer, brands need to not only offer a financial reward but also propose ideas that are relevant and of interest to the influencer’s audience. After all, the influencers themselves have a brand to protect.
Tim Bax at iCrossing does, however, issue a stark warning to those influencers who might be at risk of alienating the brands that provide them with an income:
Influencers think that because they have some audience, they have the power. And of course they have some power, but they should be careful in how they use it.