Last month we published a blog post entitled ‘5 Most Common Reasons why Influencer Marketing Fails’. Now, while we are confident that this article was helpful in pinpointing exactly where brands can go wrong when implementing an influencer relations program, we appreciate that we’ve only told half the story; what’s a story without a happy ending? Understanding where you can go wrong is an important first step in knowing what not to do, but in order to really increase your chances of achieving results, it is important to understand exactly how you can put your foot on the accelerator and drive success.
To remind you, the 5 most common reasons why influencer marketing fails as per our previous blog are:
- Lack of influencer-focussed resource
- Lack of program management or measurement
- Lack of quality content/brand messaging
- Employees’ lack of confidence in building personal relationships
- Lack of understanding from senior management
Now, for those of you with a keen eye, you may have already noticed the good news; there is a theme in the above problems- the word “lack” appears in each one. To lack something means that something is missing; easily remediable by simply introducing that something. While the word “simply” may be an understatement, this is still a far more ideal scenario than having to change entirely. With this said, below are some suggestions as to how you can mitigate the above problems.
Focus initially on the short term wins to demonstrate success to senior management
While in the grand scheme of things it is very important to have scalable long term plans and measurable targets for influencer relations, in order to get senior management on board, it is important to initially think short term and demonstrate where you have had success as quickly as possible. If senior management can see tangible proof that influencer relations has the potential to not only produce impressive ROI but contribute to the achievement of business objectives, they’re far more likely to dedicate more resource and perhaps expand plans across the business.
While the long term results from influencer relations have the potential to be impressive, in a business world where results are demanded almost instantaneously, it is important to be able to justify the investment costs to senior management. For example, hold a networking event where a well known influencer gives a talk or presentation; this can attract prospects, facilitate sales opportunities and yield instant results- something that will get senior managements’ attention. This puts you in good stead to focus on a long term influencer relations plan; building relationships with key influencers in which you can reap huge success perhaps 3-6 months down the line.
As mentioned in our previous blog post, while senior management are harder to convince, once you win them over they’re likely to be a great advocate for influencer relations across the business and may well sell the benefits to other senior managers.
Evangelise internally with program participants as well as senior management
Implementing influencer relations is no mean feat. Like anything revolving around change or a new, ambiguous territory, there are going to be resistant and dubious team members. Marketing is a huge space in which it’s impossible to understand and appreciate every aspect- the harsh reality is that not everyone will get influencer marketing straight away.
It is both unreasonable and unrealistic to expect an entire team to embrace a new marketing activity without question, simply because you can understand the benefits. You may well need to factor into the implementation strategy some time and effort to actually convert your team’s thinking into one where the benefits of influencer relations are deeply rooted into them. This is not just converting senior managements’ perceptions, but those that are going to be very actively involved in the project on a daily basis too, such as the Social Media Managers and Account Managers.
The by-product of this may also increase employees’ confidence when actually interacting and building relationships with influencers- if they can see the benefit, they’re going to be far more invested and confident in general.
Slow and steady wins the race- experiment, learn and improve
Influencer relations is still a very new area, so mistakes are likely to be made. In addition to this, influencer relations is popular in both the B2B and B2C space amongst all kinds of brands in varying industries- therefore, there is not a one size fits all model in which brands can implement and expect a 100 % guaranteed success or your money back scenario. While there are common tips and tricks every brand can benefit from, influencer relations is a slow process taking place along an extensive learning curve. You may make mistakes and struggle with certain aspects initially, but it’s easier to know what to do and what not to do when something goes wrong, than it is to know when everything goes right. Experiment and make mistakes, then embrace them, learn and improve.
Where many brands go wrong, is that they expect to see results straight away and therefore get put off when they do make mistakes. Implementing an influencer relations program requires not just effort and confidence, but persistence, patience and stamina also.
Develop your content marketing strategy
As discussed in our previous post, content is a huge part of the influencer world, so if you want to reap success from implementing influencer relations programs, then you’re going to need to ensure that your content is in a position to keep up. Content is a huge conversation starter and an opportunity to receive high levels of social media engagement, therefore, a perfect opportunity to develop relationships with influencers. This will in turn also increase your own influence as a brand.
You need to ensure that your content is:
- Good enough.
- Offering something different to your competitors’ content.
- Well aligned with your influencers’ content.
- Is going to interest your influencers and their audiences.
If you come to realise that your content isn’t up to par, then perhaps some further resource needs to be considered to get content to an appropriate quality.
Seek external assistance and build momentum
Much like recruitment, influencer relations is seen as being important but often outside of our core role. This is why many companies now turn to recruitment agencies to exploit their expertise in this area- this frees up their time to focus on what they do best, while aiding in higher success rates. The same applies here; brands with limited time and resource should consider turning to external agencies to initially get the ball rolling.
There are various influencer marketing agencies offering software solutions to both discover influencers and manage relationships with influencers, as well as professional and consultative services; aiding in the smooth implementation of an influencer relations program. Even if you seek external help to build momentum and impetus to achieve initial results, this will help tremendously in being successful in the long term.
Just starting an influencer program and need to identify your influencers? Trial our influencer discovery platform free of charge for 7 days by clicking the button below. Alternatively, if you’re interested in relationship management, get in touch here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alicia manages Onalytica's content creation and collateral to help new and existing customers get the most out of their influencer programs. She also plays a large part in the design and user experience of Onalytica's SaaS influencer marketing platform, to ensure that the platform best serves clients' needs. Alicia is passionate about educating the industry on influencer marketing best practice, one thought leadership blog post at a time.