With the path to purchase becoming increasingly more complex, could Influencer Marketing be the solution to help consumers navigate through Google’s ‘messy middle?’
Being a comparatively new marketing channel, there is a danger of Influencer Marketing being characterized only as a B2C Awareness function – however, with consumer behaviour becoming more complex by the day, and as cynicism of advertising grows, the potential of Influencer Marketing to build trust and drive audiences to your business grows too.
In this roundup of our latest Influencer Marketing event, ‘How to Influence Consumer Decision-Making Through the ‘messy middle,’ our experts discuss some of the key considerations when implementing and scaling your Influencer Marketing campaign.
Alec Harden-Henry, Managing Director at the Influence Network, describes Google’s ‘messy middle’ as “the process between a consumer’s interest being triggered in something, and the point when a decision is made to purchase.
And as much as we would like, this isn’t a linear process. Google says that we go through this ‘infinite loop.’ People can’t be forced out of it; brands just need to give them enough information to tip them over into purchase.”
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So, where does Influencer Marketing fit into this ‘infinite loop?’
“Influencers are more like you and I,” says Alec. “They work hard to create highly engaged audiences who like to follow their lifestyle and advice. If a highly engaged and trusted influencer is using one of your services or products, they will build up that credibility and trust in your audience.”
Where you work with the influencers in the funnel, and the ‘size’ of influencer, is key to the success of your campaign. See below for a more detailed guide.
Read the roundup of our previous Influencer Marketing panel.
So, how do you know if an influencer strategy is right for you?
Media Marketing Expert Jessica Brennan advises that before you know if an Influencer Marketing strategy is right for you, “start by knowing what you want the campaign to achieve. I often recommend to brands that they introduce influencers to the middle of the funnel."
If awareness if what you’re trying to achieve, Sylvia Enotiades, Head of the UK, Country Manager at Izea recommends “using celebrities or super influencers, and then adding smaller influencers to be constantly posting and reminding customers about your brand.”
One of the biggest challenges is knowing which influencers are right for you. How do you know if they are ‘authentic?’ Ed Brittain, Head of Digital at Pitch Marketing Group says that one way of tangibly measuring authenticity is by looking at how commercial they are.
“Is every other post marked as an ad? Do they still post about genuine life experience? By looking at their profile, you’ll be able to see if there’s space for your relationship with them to be a close one.”
Jessica continues by saying, “good influencers will take the information you have given them and conduct their own research on your brand to find out what they and their audience would find interesting.”
As with considering any new strategy, you will be assessing what benefits influencers can bring to your marketing campaigns. In this case, one of the biggest benefits our experts say is ‘creativity.’
Alec explains that “When you give creative freedom, influencers can flourish. There might be some content that misses the brief, but you will also get ‘happy accidents,’ and ideas that you never even thought of.
The first time you do this, you might be nervous about handing your brand over to someone you haven’t worked with before. That’s why it’s important to build in some parameters.
Make it clear what you do and don’t want. Also make sure that there’s a robust approval process in place before anything goes out on social media.”
“We have had certain brands that have onboarded creators help built out a strategy,” says Sylvia. “Sometimes, they know best.”
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So, if you’ve decided that influencers are right for you, the next step is knowing how and where to use them as part of your wider strategy.
Jessica recommends that it’s best when influencers are used as part of an integrated strategy. “If your Influencer Marketing campaign is siloed, it’s more difficult to have a clear goal. You need to know what is going on above and below. If you have a paid campaign where to goal is ‘reach,’ influencers could be used in the middle of the funnel to build the trust.”
The advice from Alec is “don’t do too much at once. When we’re talking about integrating influencers across different channels, it can sound overwhelming. You can start small, for example, putting some money behind your influencer content. You could use the content on you own socials channels and use the imagery on the website. It can be a natural and stepped way without having to do everything at once.”
Ed tells us that your other strategies, such as SEO, can also be considered as part of your Influencer Marketing campaign. “SEO and keyword consideration isn’t something you’d normally see on an influencer brief, but if you put all your ducks in a row, it really starts to fit in.”
A question that came from our audience was around scaling a global campaign across multiple cultures and languages, and how to go about centralising and managing this.
“It’s quite challenging to manage in-house or by yourself in terms of different cultures and languages,” says Sylvia. “I would recommend speaking to teams and agencies in the regions that you are wanting to campaign, because they will have localised knowledge of the area.”
This is something that is echoed by Alec. “We would tend to partner with agencies in the territories we are working in. Their local knowledge will let you face challenges across different cultures and languages.”
Due to the nature of Influencer Marketing, it can be more difficult to directly measure its success. For Sylvia, “other than the usual vanity metrics used for awareness campaigns, it’s not easy to measure influencer campaigns due to changing algorithms and the amount of content people consume.
To get an idea of how your campaign is performing, you could bolt on a paid strategy and put money behind the content. You could also generate unique codes and discounts that your influencers can promote.”
Another way that Jessica recommends is by using polls and quizzes. “If you relate this back to the brand, it shows intent and interest.”
If you’re wanting to implement an Influencer Marketing strategy but feel you need some extra support or advice, GO! can help. Get in touch here to let us know your requirements.