60% of all of U.S. 13- to 34-year-old smartphone users are active on Snapchat, one out of four Gen Z members report checking Facebook “constantly” and 500 million people use Instagram every single day. The rise of social media, coupled with the decline of television, is prompting many marketers to redirect their focus from traditional advertising to influencer marketing.
On Instagram alone, influencer marketing is now a $1 billion dollar industry. As more and more brands look to adopt influencer marketing, this figure is growing steadily.
However, there are a host of challenges associated with implementing an influencer marketing campaign from start to finish. Here we’ve broken down the top six influencer marketing challenges advertisers face and how to overcome them. From choosing the right influencers to meeting FTC guidelines, learn how to manage each obstacle.
The success of any influencer marketing campaign depends on a brand’s ability to identify the right influencers to deliver its message. This is no easy task — in fact, 67% of marketers state that finding the right influencers is their largest influencer marketing challenge.
With millions to choose from, finding an influencer in your niche with the optimal reach, engagement, and audience demographics to achieve your campaign goals can be like searching for a needle in a haystack. Furthermore, choosing the wrong influencers can result in a loss of money, time and brand reputation.
To overcome this challenge, start by identifying influencers that are tangential to your brand and examining the demographics of their followers. Selecting influencers whose audience demographics are in line with your target audience is the best way to set your campaign up for success.
To increase campaign authenticity, select influencers that are in the same category as your brand and have supported similar products in the past. Looking at an influencer’s historical content can help you determine whether the partnership would be a natural fit.
Evaluating quantitative metrics like engagement rates and follower counts is also crucial, especially in light of the rise of influencer marketing fraud. Before agreeing to work with an influencer, verify that they achieve consistently high engagement rates, and vet their profile carefully for fake activity.
Additionally, an influencer marketing agency can be instrumental in selecting the right influencers for a campaign. Agencies have years of experience vetting influencers, as well as historical influencer performance data, and are thus uniquely equipped to optimize the influencer selection process.
Once a brand has identified the “right” influencers for a campaign, the next step is to contact and build a relationship with those influencers. Contacting major influencers and establishing partnerships with them is not as easy as it may seem. Many influencers receive a constant flow of partnership opportunities and are highly selective when it comes to sponsorships.
Be mindful of this challenge when you approach influencers.
Rather than assuming that an influencer will jump at the chance to partner with you, pitch your opportunity in a thoughtful and enticing way. Establish credibility, be friendly and personal, and provide detail on how the partnership will benefit them.
In addition to monetary compensation, offer them value in the form of other perks such as free products and/or trips, access to exclusive events, or contact with high ranking company employees. These added benefits will indicate to the influencer that you’re interested in building a long-term relationship that isn’t merely transactional.
Fresh is one beauty company that has leveraged long-term influencer relationships to produce highly effective sponsored content. The brand is known for taking influencers on exclusive retreats with its CEO and offering value in the form of complimentary trips, product, and education.
After securing influencers for a campaign, the next challenge brands face is giving creative freedom to influencers. Many brands have difficulty relinquishing creative control, which can result in messaging that sounds insincere or scripted. This common mistake can be extremely detrimental; if an influencer’s followers don’t enjoy the content, they aren’t likely to engage with it.
To avoid this common difficulty, trust the ability of influencers to create effective sponsored content. Influencers are creative professionals who make a living producing social media content and in many cases are better equipped to create branded messaging for social media than brands.
Influencers have a deep understanding of what type of content their audiences respond to and enjoy. If given the chance, influencers can create highly authentic sponsored content that is viewed and shared widely.
In order to strike a balance between giving influencers creative freedom and maintaining control of messaging, consider implementing specific copy point requirements and a final approval process before influencer content goes live.
Communicating with influencers during an influencer marketing campaign is extremely time intensive. Many brands fail to budget enough time for influencer communication, which can seriously impact the success of an influencer marketing campaign.
There are many details that need to be coordinated for an influencer marketing campaign to run smoothly, such as product shipment, content approvals, and influencer payment. Additionally, a host of issues may arise during the campaign that requires attention, such as missed deadlines, incomplete deliverables, and content revisions.
One way to overcome the challenges of coordinating with influencers before, during, and after a campaign is to partner with an influencer marketing agency. Agencies have implemented thousands of campaigns and can serve as the primary touch point for influencers. Additionally, agencies are well equipped to prevent and resolve any problems that arise during a campaign.
In conjunction with influencer marketing’s growth and popularity, the Federal Trade Commission has become increasingly strict in enforcing proper advertising disclosure on social media. 2017 was a year marked by FTC crackdowns, with notices sent to 90 celebrities and brands for violating the commission’s guidelines for sponsored content. As abiding by FTC rules becomes more important than ever, its guidelines continue to be extremely difficult to navigate.
To avoid violating FTC guidelines, ensure that influencers clearly and conspicuously identify content as sponsored though written disclosures such as #sponsored or #ad on Instagram. On YouTube, instruct influencers to include a written disclosure in their video’s description box as well as verbal disclosures and text overlays within the video that explicitly identify the content as sponsored.
Brands should also consider consulting an influencer marketing agency that keeps up to date with all of the latest FTC guidelines and updates.
In a recent study, 65% of fashion and beauty marketers identified measuring campaign ROI as the most challenging aspect of influencer marketing. As with any form of advertising, there are difficulties that come along with measuring the return on investment associated with influencer marketing. Luckily, there are a variety of strategies marketers can employ to measure influencer marketing ROI.
The most direct way to measure campaign ROI is to utilize influencer-specific links or coupon codes. These trackable items can provide valuable insights, such as influencer-specific click-through rates in the case of links or conversion rates in the case of coupon codes.
Click through rate is an extremely valuable tool for measuring influencer marketing campaign success. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even if a person buys a product as a result of influencer content, they might not do so by clicking through the sponsored post.
Brands should also focus on metrics like reach, the number of engagements and social sentiment to evaluate the success of a sponsored campaign.