What Credible Influencer Marketing Looks Like
Do recent influencer marketing headlines raise questions about implementing influencers into your own marketing strategy? Common concerns are how to scale an influencer or ambassador program, and how to engage the right influencers who consumers actually trust. In this Adweek webinar, Experticity CMO Kevin Knight and Amer Sports Digital Marketing Manager Megan Porteous address those concerns, and more. Influencer marketing – when implemented correctly – can be credible and authentic, as explored here through the use cases of Arc’teryx and Salomon.
Because Kevin and Megan weren't able to get to all audience questions, we've included answers to the commonly asked questions here.
In which cases should you pay an influencer?
An influencer who provides advice or inspiration to their audience – be it large or small, online or offline – has maximum credibility when it’s done with authenticity. Unfortunately, the practice of paying these so-called social media influencers dilutes that trust factor for a consumer. Savvy consumers see through this practice, and for a brand to maintain maximum credibility, it’s important to prioritize authentic influencer relationships. Finding influencers who already love and evangelize your brand can take more time, but in the end their recommendation is more likely to lead to an actual purchase.
How do you convince an influencer to buy your product at a discounted price rather than promote a competitor for free?
When looking at providing product – whether free or discounted – the most important question to ask is if it will be perceived as authentic by the consumer. There’s no question that there are influencers who willingly go to the company providing maximum compensation, regardless of the fit or perceived credibility. Rather than focus on the large influencers who are often tempted by the carrot of compensation, look for the influencers who already use your product, who already advocate for you, and who consumers already trust.
What things do you look for in a good influencer and potential partnership?
Some key questions to ask yourself:
- Do they already have a presence in your industry? While some fashion or lifestyle influencers have large perceived reach, if they’ve never expressed passion for your industry, it will quickly be sniffed out by the consumer as an inauthentic relationship.
- What are their qualifications? Does the influencer have expertise, knowledge, or passion for your brand or your industry? Does the influencer work in an environment where he’s having consistent conversations about your brand and its competitors? Does the influencer participate in the activities important within your brand and industry? An influencer shouldn’t be judged solely on reach metrics. Instead dig deeper into why someone else would see them as an influencer – their credibility is more significantly tied to their abilities and experience.
- Are they having conversations about your brand already? While it’s always important that an influencer be given the freedom to share products they use and love, regardless of brand conflict, if they are already a fan of you, then seeding product at a discount achieves more than just promotional awareness. You increase their loyalty, and they become one of your brand’s most authentic advocates.
- Are they reliable? Do a little homework on this potential partnership. You might not be putting them on your payroll, but it’s always good business to build relationships with people who treat others with kindness and respect.
What are the core differences between experts and publishers?
Removing reach metrics, the most significant differences between an expert and a publisher is their area of focus, and their goals regarding who they reach. A publisher often begins as an expert in a certain industry or area, and through their own abilities, reaches the point where they are used in brand or product awareness campaigns, not dissimilar to something you would see in Vogue or Runner’s World. They might be an extraordinary cook or a highly skilled athlete, but they are often paid by brands in very specific campaigns that consumers recognize as brand advertising. Many publishers are extremely successful in doing so authentically for a brand, while others dilute this medium’s credibility.
Experts, on the other hand, have conversations about brands and products organically. They work in, or are passionate about the industry, and devote hours to gaining knowledge and expertise. They may evangelize the one brand and product that they’ve trusted for years, or they may always be on the hunt for the latest innovative product. Most importantly, the conversations they have with consumers – be they friends, family, or complete strangers – are completely credible, because these consumers trust the recommendations the expert provides.