Social influencers are making waves in how digital marketing is done. You will find them on different social media platforms; each with their niche and a community of like-minded followers.
Some may be YouTubers creating vlogs that provide tips on exercise and nutrition, or any other topic they’re interested in. Many have also been able to monetize their vlogs by positioning products for brand campaigns on Instagram and Snapchat.
Their followers are always on alert for a new post by their favourite personalities on Instagram, Facebook, or other social media platforms because they can enable notifications. The people they follow range from celebrity influencers, macro-influencers (big names in reputed trades), and plenty of micro-influencers.
The reason people are finding success on YouTube and Instagram is because consumers are shifting how they’re engaging with a brand. That’s because people no longer wait to be told what they want, they actively seek it out, but now the salesman is on social media and push products that are relevant to their following.
The change in consumer behaviour is measurable:
- Purchase decisions of 40% of Twitter users are direct outcomes of an influencer’s tweet
- 7 out of 10 teenage trust YouTube influencers more than mainstream celebrities
According to a survey by Linqia:
- 86% of marketers already use influencer marketing
- 39% want to allocate more to their budget for this strategy
- 52% of marketers find influencer content more effective than branded content
So you can see why your competition is looking to work with influencers. And if you want to stay relevant, then you must too.
Influencer marketing is the biggest thing right now, and all the big brands are getting on board.
Before you launch your influencer campaign, answer this question:
Who is best suited to manage your influencer marketing strategy? Will you look for a third-party agency, or build an in-house team?
If you don’t the have the resources in-house, whether it be staff or software, hiring a third-party agency will make all the difference in your influencer marketing campaign. Outsourcing to an influencer marketing agency is easy and requires less time than having to build a team. An in-house marketing team need specialists in email marketing, SEO, paid advertising, outreach, affiliate marketing, and social media.
Influencer agencies charge a flat rate for managing your influencer campaign who can help you reach your target audience through several marketing channels.
Another benefit of an agency is the experience they have working with clients in various industries. They’ve already spent the time and energy to gain market research and the strategies for success. For an in-house team, this experience is missing, and all efforts are based on experimentation and learning. Online marketing agencies leverage the latest influencer marketing software and platforms to manage your campaigns.
Businesses have to incur considerable costs to make these tools and marketing resources accessible to in-house teams. However, outside marketing professionals have ready access and better experience in using various influencer marketing platforms and automation tools. This makes them more talented and efficient in these areas.
While outsourcing to a marketing agency is more efficient and the quality will likely be much higher, it often fails to leverage the full potential of influencer marketing:
When you hand over the reins of your marketing campaign to someone else, your brand voice may be altered. That’s why it’s essential to communicate your company’s needs as well who the target audience is and the image you want to portray.
Marketers sometimes complain that the agencies they hire have a more transactional approach and value volume over quality. This is why influencers often miss the brand’s voice in their marketing initiatives.
These challenges with third-party agencies are inspiring many big brands such as Redbull, Nike, and Mars to create their own influencer marketing teams.
After all, influencer marketing is not all about transactions. It’s not only about paid social media posts and customer outreach. It’s about establishing long-term relationships with the right influencers, who become a key channel for customer acquisition.
If you want long-term partnerships with influencers, measure key performance indicators like sales and impressions, and generate user-centric content on social media.
An In-House Team Equates to a Higher ROI
Involving influencers directly in your marketing campaigns saves you from unnecessary expenses that influencer agencies charge for reaching out and pitching.
In-house influencer marketing keeps your brand’s voice at the forefront. No agency can understand your brand’s message better than your own team. You are in a better capacity to control the time and money invested in managing influencer relationships.
It gives you greater control over influencers. You can properly monitor what brand message the influencers are putting across to their audience and how. You can even measure their effectiveness on various influencer marketing platforms like Grin, which can also help you discover influencers, engage with them, and grow your influencer marketing campaigns.
However, influencer marketing in-house has its own set of challenges.
Marketing in today’s world is diverse and full of complications. It’s not just about producing marketing content. It involves copywriting, SEO, graphic design, and other dynamic marketing techniques. An in-house marketing team has a set bandwidth, and it becomes difficult to leverage all your marketing efforts.
Influencer marketing is best done through blog posts, social media posts, videos, infographics, GIFs, and podcasts. All of this requires skill and experience, which can be hard to find.
When outsourcing to an agency, you don’t have to worry about these costs. But there may be other costs depending on the needs and extent of your marketing campaigns.
You may experiment with new marketing companies that are comparatively cheaper than long-established ones. These newer agencies usually charge less with an aim to hold clients for long-term and build their name in the industry.
How to Choose Between In-House and Outsourced Influencer Marketing
The best thing you can do is follow a blended approach.
You can outsource things like strategy and brand promotion. You can then leave the execution part up to your in-house team.
Ultimately, the goal of influencer marketing that matters more than the means to achieve that goal. And the good news is influencer marketing is here to stay. Social media has totally transformed the way marketers look at digital marketing today.
That being said, in-house influencer marketing is the right fit for big brands. That’s because they have all of the internal resources and surplus budgets to make it happen. However, for new brands experimenting with influencer marketing for the first time, the experience and specialization of an outsourced agency is best.
While many big brands are successfully building their own influencer networks, newer businesses are trying external agencies to learn the influencer marketing game.
If you are looking to build your own influencer network, you need to focus on the right approach to involve influencers, hire the right talent, and find the right partner.
What this Means for You
A blended approach is the most thoughtful option. It utilizes the efficiencies of both an in-house team and an outsourced agency. Integrating the proficiencies of specialized companies into your internal marketing department can definitely push your influencer marketing strategy to new heights.
So why not try it out? Follow this hybrid approach and let us know your experience in the comments below.