As part of improving CatJira's services to solve pain points of marketers working with online influencers, I stumble upon an article on May 2016 titled "Confessions of a social media executive: We threw too much money at them".
Let's start with what went wrong
The author felt they were spending too much, too fast when it comes to influencer marketing. They prefer "Photographers" than "Influencers".
When it comes to influencer marketing, marketers are willing to spend. However, marketers in general don't know what to pay influencers. Are they paying for content created by influencers? Are they paying for the engagement generated by influencers? There simply isn't a way before this on how these are to be measured to determine pricing of influencers.
Marketers end up separating fees to 2 parts: (1) Content production, (2) Content distribution.
What could potentially went wrong here?
(1) Marketers don't sufficient information when engaging influencers.
(2) Content performance analytics are not accessible to most marketers.
(3) Influencer marketing being new, it is not well understood on how to plan, execute and measure one.
Instead of shooting in the dark when hiring influencers, marketers simply shy away from it.
“I want to take a car and pick it up in London and drive it around Europe, so give me $100,000,” they say. Nope, let’s totally never do it that ever. These people don’t understand budgets.So if brands don’t know how much to charge, do the influencers know how much to ask for?
The quote above potentially is something most if not all marketers have heard.
Influencers are good at creating content to engage their audience. Their opinions are trusted by their audience. BUT, influencers in general lack the skill sets in understanding business objective of influencer marketing campaign, how they can contribute to it, and finally pricing their services. This is where guys like us justify how influencers contribute to campaign objectives and assure marketers the investment is worth their money - through data analytics.
By putting price commanded by influencers into numbers that correlates to business objectives of marketers such as potential cost per engagement, and potential reach of an influencer, marketers could now better understand what they are paying for. In case you missed it, cost per engagement for influencer marketing can go as low as USD 0.03. But you would need to know what and how to come out with those numbers.
Influencers prefer paid collaboration, while marketers prefer in-kind
Speaking of influencers, some of them have been vocal about how they believe brands take advantage of them. Marketers get influencers to create content, engage their audience, potentially getting sales - all that for exchange of make-up kits and lipstick. But lipsticks don't pay bills.
For marketers,they know this. But at the same time, it seems like a pretty sweet job to them creating content and getting paid. But hey, if they know what they are paying for, it would be a different story. Marketers hire people to create content for their ads and then have a certain sum budgeted to spend on adverts, but they can not buy the engagement and relationship forged between influencers and their audience. That is what marketers are willing to pay for.
When influencers understand how marketers think, the payments will come. Create content, distribute it on your channels, and get the engagement numbers - this proves you do have influence over your audience and content is your tool. It's about telling "for every content I create, X amount of people would be reached where Y would be engaged. Hence this is my price, equivalent to USD XXX per engagement."
Influencers are dying
Professionally and personally we beg to differ. Influencer marketing has been around for decades - celebrity endorsement, expert reviews, and community leader engagement are some of the names influencer marketing are known by.
What's dying is the old way of working with influencers, where marketers start to refuse paying prices commanded without knowing what are the contributions of influencers to their marketing objectives.
Influencer marketing will live and thrive because there are companies like CatJira making influencer marketing data-driven like other forms of digital marketing - justifying the value of influencer marketing, thus improving perception towards influencer marketing.
The author is right about one thing here - pretty pictures and number of followers means nothing to influencers and the business of influencer marketing is about relationship between influencers and their audience. It's the engagement that matters, that's why it is called influencer marketing.
So, have you been approaching influencer marketing the data-driven way? Head to catjira.com to find out more on how we make influencer marketing data-driven.