Influencer marketing is one of the most valuable and effective ways for brands to advertise on social media. As the industry has grown, so have the ways that brands can access it. In particular, influencer marketing agencies offer brands expertise into a nuanced and quickly growing space with best practices, managed services, and proven results.
However, in an increasingly crowded space, some agencies are more qualified than others. The most outstanding influencer marketing agencies will have these 7 characteristics in common.
Influencer marketing is one of the fastest growing categories in digital advertising, and brands are eager to learn how to best proceed with the new strategy. The numerous options in the influencer marketing industry can be boiled down to three primary approaches:
For some brands, executing influencer marketing in-house may not be an option as executing influencer marketing campaigns properly require significant resources and expertise. MCNs do offer managed services however talent options are restricted to a network’s roster that may not be the best fit for a brand.
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Influencer marketing agencies, however, specialize in the complexities of influencer marketing, including campaign strategy, execution, and management.
In contrast to more common digital marketing agencies, these agencies are dedicated solely to working on campaigns with top social media influencers. They will often maintain working relationships with high-performing social media influencers, but do not contract them to a talent roster. Moreover, influencer marketing agencies will have deep knowledge of sponsored content, social media trends, best practices, contracts/agreements, licensing, and copyrights, FTC disclosures, and much more.
As influencer marketing agencies become more common, it becomes more difficult to determine which ones stand out among the rest. These 7 characteristics can help brands discern differences between top agencies from the average.
A top influencer marketing agency will have comprehensive knowledge of how social media and content marketing strategies fit into a brand’s overall marketing initiatives. Top influencer marketers will educate their clients on best practices and key tactics in the industry.
For instance, top agencies will know how to amplify sponsored content across social media channels and will know whether a brand should be using micro or macro-influencers to reach their goals. Top influencer marketing agencies will offer a wide variety of strategies to their clients and highlight the ones that work best.
Further, top influencer marketing agencies will educate their clients on realistic outcomes. Marketers should be wary of agencies and influencers that offer promises of engagement and guaranteed conversions. Recently, marketers and brands have been made aware of fake Instagram influencer activity prevalent in the space.
The best influencer marketing agencies will be able to align a brand’s social and messaging with influencer components in creative integrations. Every brand has different goals, whether it is to simply reach teenage audiences or to motivate loyal tech consumers to purchase an item.
Moreover, every influencer has their own style and format. A great influencer marketing agency knows how best to pair unique and well-performing influencers to create original and organic sponsored brand integrations for each client.
To determine whether an influencer marketing agency has the capacity to brainstorm proper creative campaigns, marketers should request multiple examples of creative case studies. Creative influencer marketing strategies should be customized for every brand as each one has unique audiences and each brand aspires to unique messaging.
Influencer marketing is still a nascent space with much ambiguity and misinformation on influencer pricing and rates. As a result, when brands work with an inexperienced agency, they will often find unexpected or hidden costs at the end of or throughout a campaign. Top influencer marketing agencies will be upfront with budget minimums and spends and guide clients through all possible monetary considerations.
With any influencer marketing outfit, marketers should clarify final costs of campaigns upfront and inquire about possible hidden fees. Brands should not be required to spend additional funds to supplement an influencer campaign.
Top influencer marketing agencies are experts when it comes to budgeting and allocating the right ad spends to achieve and exceed campaign goals. They have extensive knowledge and experience in maximizing campaign budgets to reach clients’ KPIs and campaign benchmarks. Moreover, their strong relationships with influencers allow them to negotiate fair talent prices for clients.
A top influencer marketing agency will not just be known for superior services and results, but also for its expertise and research in the space. The best agencies are thought leaders of the industry, deriving deep insights and strategies from a repository of experiences, historical performance data, and original market research.
Great influencer marketing companies conduct and share original market insights into emerging trends (e.g. how top influencers are now posting 2x more on Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat), how audiences use social media platforms, new technologies, and best practices and can provide ample resources and studies to support recommendations.
While influencer marketing tools and platforms seek to automate certain aspects of the campaign process, properly partnering and maximizing collaboration with influencers is far from a turnkey process.
Instead, the best influencer marketing agencies seamlessly manage campaigns, and the best ones elide and create maximum efficiencies for every client and campaign. From executing thousands of campaigns, these agencies have streamlined complex workflows (e.g. partnering with influencers, negotiating rates, and executing contracts and agreements) to the most timely and succinct processes.
Brand marketers should ask whether their campaign has a dedicated account manager who manages every aspect of each campaign, from finding the right influencers to appropriately scaling future campaigns.
Top influencer marketing agencies protect their clients and ensure proper disclosure with influencers according to FTC guidelines.
Federal guidelines require that sponsored posts are disclosed with an explicit and written notation on sponsorship. These practices may differ across platforms, and the top influencer agencies will know these best practices.
Agencies will also enforce disclosure because they know that disclosures don’t hurt campaigns. Contrary to common belief, research demonstrates that disclosures appeal to audiences as authentic. Posts that are overtly sponsored but not disclosed often face backlash from influencer audiences that are well-attuned to an influencer’s content.
The chances you’ve seen a campaign run by a top influencer agency are high. Top influencer marketing agencies have a history of results and have been responsible for high-performing, trending videos or photos on multiple platforms.
To gauge the efficacy of an influencer marketing agency, consider if you’ve previously seen or heard of their campaigns and clients. The results that a top influencer marketing agency produces are visible in its popularity against other pieces of content on social media.