Influencer marketing is a complex space

As the practice evolves, different offerings (both traditional and tech driven solutions) co-exist in the market ranging from talent management agencies, influencer marketing agencies, to influencer discovery, influencer outreach, and influencer marketing technology. 

To help marketers (like you) figure out whether or not a platform is an influencer technology platform check for these 5 capabilities:

  1. Discover — Find influencers based on user criteria including online/social metrics, audience, topics (e.g., influencer profile).

  2. Connect — Communicate with influencers via the platform to discuss the engagement (e.g., email integration).

  3. Engage (unpaid) — Engage influencer for an unpaid activity like writing a blog post (e.g., reporting dashboard).

  4. Recruit (paid) — Engage influencer for a paid activity like speaking at an event or creating content (e.g., budget planning).

  5. Measure — Advanced metrics and analytics for performance management (e.g., ROI calculator).

“Influencer Marketing” technologies typically have all five capabilities, while others only cover one area — like “Influencer Discovery,” which just covers Discover. In case you missed it, CatJira does all 5 :)

Fundamentally, marketers work with online influencers because there is a divide in how advertising budget is spent and how consumers respond to content they are shown to. 

This therefore raises 2 questions:

  1. How can brands have a positive impact on content (organic user generated content) while aligning it with their marketing spend?

  2. How can brand optimize the ROI of their marketing budget with influencer marketing with meaningful impact?

To have it in the most laymen of terms: how can I justify my spending with influencer marketing although I know it works (through gut feel)?

This of course does not happen overnight. Just like other successful marketing campaigns, it involves a journey of testing, learning, optimizing before repeating it at different scale. 

Influencer marketing can be roughly segmented into 3 different models, each of them having different objectives and skill sets. 

1. Mass Content Drop

This method believes in that the value of influencer marketing is to work with them at scale and that influencer marketing is about placing advertorials  in their channels the same way brands are buying ads in magazines. Usually influencers with high reach are selected for this method. It's a quantity rather than quality game. 

This method provide seemingly great benefits to marketers because it is easy to implement, you can scale fast, and produce quick results. 

However, this method neglects the main reason why influencers are powerful for marketing - their relevance and engagement to their audience. Furthermore, brand-influencer engagement and reward mechanisms go directly against the concept of organic and authentic endorsement that is the core value of influencer content.

2. Influencer Relationship Management

More marketers realize the success of influencer marketing sometimes lies in building long term relationships that are authentic, and mutually beneficial between brands and influencers. In other words, turning influencers into advocates of your brand. 

This method is supported from start-ups all the way to global brands. This method involves brands to manage influencers in similar ways brands would work with customers, but by looking into their social influence and share of voice data instead of buying behaviour. 

However, the main downside of this is it takes time to nurture relationships. 

3. Snowballing Approach

This method is a hybrid of the 2 above. While the 1st approach focus mainly on reach and the 2nd focus on engagement, this 3rd approach looks into closing the gaps when the above methods are used individually. 

Think of this method as cascading information. While influencers that have high reach generates the awareness of a particular campaign, influencers with high engagement statistics seed and engage in conversations with their followers on the topic. 

This method involves more meticulous planning as it requires you to (1) know the influential followers of influencers, (2) plan out when what conversations are to happen, and (3) how you would channel those conversations into actions you would like consumers to take. 

Transforming your paid-ads driven marketing strategy into a content-driven engagement approach that will deliver authentic impact on social conversation is a long but necessary journey to impact audiences. 

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