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Influencer marketing has been increasing its relevance in digital communicacion strategies lately. Brands’ motivations to use influencers realy on how it allows to conect in a more emotional way with the audiences and, consequently, opening new interesting fields. However, at the same time, it also rises the risk bar since, opposite to what happens with the majority of paid media used by corporate communication, influencers add the element of impredictability that we must take into account.
In this report we will be analysing the use of influencers in corporate communication, including all benefits as well as risks. Besides, thanks to the cooperation of law firm Pérez-Llorca, it is our intention to bring a legal vision to the study of what a company must contemplate about the latest marketing trend of the moment.
What you need to know before hiring an influencer
In his article, Daniel Cifuentes, Work Associate at Pérez-Llorca law firm, explores the legal applicable regime when hiring new activities and service performances from influencers, something that goes beyond those traditional working models that we were used to.
Influencers influence in Communication
During the “influencer influence” round table that took place, we could chat with four female leaders in social media and communication fields. They supported some different perspectives we are able to observe in Corporate Communication when working with leading content creators, as well as the media relevante they have achieved, as it is becoming even more acknowledged every day by companies.
Influencer marketing is increasingly calling the attetion of brands and corporation every day due to its ability to reach a rather acclimated public to traditional advertising. It is not unusual that brands seek for potential clients wherever they can be found. May this example illustrate this trend change: the Annual Social Network Study 2018 presented by Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB Spain) since 2009, claims that the spanish population know an average of 8,7 social media, while they use 4,7 of it, beign Instagram the social media platform with the most growth regarding the gathered data from former report edition.
Luxury business has proven to be a pathfinder, especially “influencer-dependant” in its attempts to reach consumers’ hearts. However, influencer marketing seems to be arriving to all digital communication branches, and exploiting all its options to obtain results is just a matter of creativity, regardless the activity sector.
If we talk about politics, for instance, is it possible to call to participate in the elections through influencers? The answer is affirmative: there are plenty of examples, but one of the most recent comes from the European Parliament, when they activated a campaign for the elections on the 26th of May, 2019, clearly focused on a younger audience. To do so, they counted, among others, with the popular spanish Youtuber Jaime Altozano, who simultaneously analyses Beethoven’s 9th symphony as an European Union symbol while he encourages his viewers to participate in European Elections. Besides, at the end of the video and aiming to stimulate his followeres, Altozano challenges them to create their own version of this anthem.
How to design an influencer campaign in 8 steps
As it happens in every corporate management field, it is essential to establish parameters that allow us to preview the comeback of our decision before making any, as well as consider their effectivity and measure potential risks. Therefore, firstly we must ask ourselves: what use can we give them? What goals are we trying to achieve? Only afterwars we can use social listening and influencer hunting tools. Besides, traditional 5w grow as relevant as in newspapers. If we cannot determine something as simple as what we want to communicate and why are we even making the campaign, reaching success will be almost impossible to achieve.
Once we have set our goals, we can proceed with the influencer hunt, meaning the deep search for the accounts pool that best fit our policies when positioning messages. Despite of the many formulas to measure engagement and sentiment that influencers generate, there is no better machine than the human to take the pulse to social media. Communication teams must measure the interest that influencer accounts rise, and engage them with the brand’s values and goals.
To generate a clear briefing for influencers to understand what we expect from them and what they can or cannot do or say.
To hook the influencers group, having each one of them their own narrative, us communication experts must prepare the most clear briefing. It is key to leave no doubt on what we are expecting from them. Contents must adapt to the brand’s style, but also match the influencer’s. It is all about the combination of those intangible values of the brand with those that are brought by the influencers, in terms of visibility and positioning. Some times, this mixture means that the brand shall exit their conformt zone. This is the only way to reach at least one of the main foals that should take part of any activity with influencers: to earn credibility and get closer to users in a less intrusive way.
Despite the multiple options there are to obtain digital presence, a brand does not need to be everywhere. It actually is quite the opposite: their profiles in these platforms must be tidy and be taken care of daily, and this is where the previous analysis when activating an influencer campaign becomes key. Even though today Instagram is the ideal channel, social marketing might might be more effective to younger audiences through other alternatives, such as YouTubem with a broader potential audience reach. This is not only a key concept for the success or failure of a campaing: getting to know the channels where we will be taking action as a corporation also benefits the study of the influencers’ profiles from any field in order to know what to expect from each platform.
Each campaing must be understood within a specific context and determined time, not only for the brand, but also for both the influencer and society itself where the action will be taking place. This is why the communication strategy must be equipped with a results template where two scenareos figure: the plausible and the ideal. As long as the measurement displays the data within this range we can understand that the investment in influencers is justified.
Social media monitoring is increasingly becoming more necessary for all companies, whether they are working with influencers or not, since it is an excellent way to measure the pulse to an audience in its own environment, and approaching the objective public’s wonders and demands
Once the campaign has begun, it is a priority to continously monitor the conversation in order to correct the incidents that might occur, to be woke and actively listen to the objective public, and discover who are the actual conversational agents about a brand and the influencers they are working with.
Monitoring also allows us to discover real influencers around a product: it is a key tool for a brand to be able to acces data that proves if they have developed a digital community, what is the user sentiment regarding the brand, and if the perception on online reputation is appropiate. The “democratization of the information”, beyond crisis situations, encourage social listening to be a suitable complement to any offline action by a company.
Besides, no matter how much preparation or analysis a brand invests on influencers, crisis can always come out at any time. This is why it is essential to count on alerts to immediately point out when something seems odd with the campaign.
Monitoring is as important as pausing to asses the positive aspects of the action and how to improve it. Evaluating the selection of influencers and the fitting of content and results will allow us to make more precise and powerful campaigns in an environment as complex and changing social media.
As it usually happens in life, to prevent before taking action will be the best strategy before possible crisis to rise in influencer strategies. This is why it is essential to set clear rules, leaving nearly no margin for the brand or influencers to improvise. Besides, traditional crisis management procedures are still operative. For instance, to keep crisis management plans that contemplate possible user reactions before the campaign and a response manual will become very handy is a specific collective does not connect with our campaign.
How to measure ROI
Let’s not forget about the results report management on any work done with influencers. When it comes to digital communication, there is more room to monitor and evaluate results. However, in this case, we must not forget that with ROI comes other harder elements to measure, such as empathy or attitude changes generated by the brand with the aid of influencers’ work.
ROI calculation allows us to evaluate the possibility that the relationship between the influencer and the company might extend or not. There are certain parameters to take into account when it comes to ROI in Influencer Marketing, such as, for example, having the result to overcome the invested money, to increase the campaign’s organic content or experience a rise in the brand’s visibility in social media.
On the other hand, the main role that the user plays in the compilation of results must be also taken into account. In many cases, options displayed by social media for clients to interact in a private way with a certain content obscure those real impacts that advertising campaigns produce in the audience. The increase of the use of the so-called “Dark Social”, or the trend to share a reaction to a publication through encripted channels, makes it harder for a company to fully access the results that their campaign has received through these channels. Influencers, however, may help companies to gather these hidden data. As content creators, influencers might know how many users have decided to send their publication to other people, how many times it has been saved or if they have received private feedback by the audience. However, not all social media platforms display these data, nor all campaigns behave the same with private interaction.
To obtain a good economic return is important to the future of any publicity campaign, and becomes crucial when working with influencers. If we consider ROI’s two main points to analyse as expenses and results, one seems to be clearer than the other to the eyes of the companies. The is not yet any standarized monitoring able to clear out this incipient influencer marketing world, which cause many companies that could benefit from it to be reticent.
Each communications campaign is developed under specific standards and determined context. Even though it might seem obvious, it is important to highlight this idea, specially for planners before choosing influencers they will be working with. This is where segmentation jumps in the game. Depending on the goals to achieve, we must pick one person or another.
Macro influencers offer a high impressions and reach report. Besides, their wider professionalization seems to bring a stronger commitement with the action.
Same happens with celebrities, where their high reach possibilities contrasts with their low user conversation engagement expectations.
Micro and nano influencers as alternatives