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FEBRUARY 26, 2019 //     

What Influencers Wish Marketers Knew

Credit: Allison+PartnersBy: Brent Diggins

Studies about influencer marketing are often eager to dissect every detail and produce endless data on marketers, things like marketer pain points, spends or perceived effectiveness. And there are mounds of them. 

But what about the influencers? Marketers continue to devote more spend to them and rely on their creative ability and network to produce results in this flexible and unique marketing channel. Yet, few have sat down with influencers at broad scale to uncover their opinions, particularly in context with marketer viewpoints.

To uncover more about the marketer/influencer dynamic, Allison+Partners conducted qualitative interviews of both marketers and influencers that operate in the same arenas and asked them complementary questions. The study found there was a large divide between influencers and marketers on many topics, from the length of an ideal engagement to the essential question of return on investment.

While exploring the divide with influencers, there were topics that screamed to the top. These insights are things that influencers wished marketers knew for the sake of mutual success, improvement and continued growth of the industry.

We Can Help Optimize Your Campaign

Optimization is a standard practice for most marketing channels. Not so much in influencer marketing, according the influencers surveyed. Influencers indicated that it is rare for marketers to ask for active campaign data and even more unusual that adjustments are made midstream.

It is easy for influencers to see what type of content is performing best (or not) in both numbers and by understanding the pulse of their audience. They can help marketers understand the channel mix, where to allocate resources or even what message is resonating. This leads to better outcomes.  

Longer Engagements Produce Better Results

One topic that the influencers strongly agreed upon is that longer engagements would produce better results. They believe their followers will see brand partnerships as more authentic and will become more familiar with the brand as they see it more. They also feel that micro-relationships, like one-post campaigns, are ad-like, which can discredit both the brand and influencer.

Content Lives Longer than You Realize

Many influencers provided anecdotes of high-performing content, especially on blogs, that lived long after the influencer marketing campaign ended. Examples of continued performance include content interaction, traffic generated to a website and appearance in search results.

As an opportunity, marketers could engage with the influencer to amplify that content where it lives or extend it through paid support. At the very least, reengaging past successful partners or content should be top of mind.

We Know Our Audience Better than You Can  

Often, marketers are going blindly into relationships with influencers. Influencers said that marketers rarely work with them to understand their audience and what may resonate, everything from tone to type of content. Sure, marketers may have tools to gain audience insights or more in-depth information about influencer, but influencers believe that their innate understanding of their audience, what they like and what they don’t like, is something that can only be truly understood by them.

If given the opportunity to provide deeper audience insights, influencers believe they can add great value to marketers at multiple stages, from planning to optimization.

Be Open to Changes in Your Creative Asks

If you offer no flexibility in your creative brief or campaign, you may not get the results that you want. Since influencers believe they know their audience better than anyone, they also believe that, if given flexibility in creative, they can produce better outcomes.

Many influencers bemoaned stringent creative briefs, especially those that provide canned content and copy with no room for personalization, which leads to a lack of authenticity and ultimately performance.

You Need to Ask Us for Our Opinions

Influencers believe that marketers need to learn to work outside of accustomed transactional relationships. Many insist that marketers see them only as a contractor, not a partner, and therefore rarely ask them for their opinions.

At the same time, influencers are self-admittedly bashful about sharing their unsolicited opinions. While some of this communication gap is surely a two-way issue, marketers need to understand that influencers do have useful insights to share.

Search for Authenticity

One topic that influencers strongly believe in is “authenticity.” They believe that authenticity is one of their greatest attributes and is a strong indicator of success. However, authenticity most often emerges in comments and interactions, places that marketers don’t typically look. They also believe that marketers can spot inauthentic influencers by going deeper and looking for posts with little quality interaction.

We Have Data You Probably Want

Influencers have a mine of untapped data that marketers rarely ask for. Influencers said the most requested data points are page views, reach or engagements and little else beyond. However, influencers aren’t sharing more than is asked, as they are unsure if it would be wanted or useful.

With platform analytics continuing to advance, there is more data available to influencers than ever. In addition to platform-driven data, influencers also can provide anecdotal data including messages they may have received and benchmark context.

Moving Forward as Partners

As the industry continues to invest in influencer marketing, it is time to revisit the marketer and influencer relationship. It is time to look at influencers not only as conduits, but as partners. As marketers, we must take the step forward to bridge the gaps that exist. It is our responsibility to unleash the full potential of influencer marketing. See our infographic for tips we recommend for both marketers and influencers to help bridge the gap.

Brent Diggins is the managing director of measurement + analytics at Allison+Partners, a global marketing and communications firm. 

This article was originally posted on www.ama.org

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