Influencer marketing is no longer unfamiliar territory; brands are realizing the diminishing returns of one-off influencer campaigns and working towards building longer lasting relationships with influencers. In order to give content an authentic feel while also maintaining trust with influencers, brands are even giving influencers more control over content creation. As brands fine-tune their approach to influencer partnerships, several challenges persist, including identifying inauthentic engagement and creating cohesive storylines through influencer content. The Gartner L2 report identifies key steps for tackling these issues to ensure that the best influencers are being selected and the right message is being conveyed in influencer campaigns.
To produce authentic content, best-in-class brands shift away from “spray and pray” tactics and instead adopt more nuanced and managed programs. These brands weave a cohesive story together when working influencers into their broader social marketing strategy, selecting those who are genuinely excited about a brand’s products based on their existing content.
Early adopters of influencers, like beauty retailers and brands, have put the onus on themselves to find identifiable influencers for their customers by creating a comprehensive selection and vetting process. Earlier this year, Sephora requested applications for influencers to join its beauty collective #SephoraSquad. Part of the process entailed seeking testimonials from its community to discover the qualities of influencers that would resonate with customers.
Prior to finalizing a partnership, it is critical for brands to set clear guidelines with partners to ensure proper relationship management and to set the tone for a mutually beneficial relationship. As brands begin working with influencers and build out a roster to work with, they must deliver a consistent message across influencer and brand-owned content. Once campaigns are set in motion, it is crucial for brands to tie influencer performance back to KPIs. Finally, brands can consider partnerships with various vendors to provide a holistic view of influencer campaign performance and round out influencer management strategies.