What You (Really) Need to Know about Influencer Marketing: A Summary of This Year’s Best Reports.

Last I checked, there were about 150 influencer marketing activation platforms and sites brands could utilize. So, while we like to think that influencer marketing has reached maturity, it’s probably more like adolescence—unless you partner with the few that care deeply and equally about users, brands, marketers, and influencers themselves (disclosure: TapInfluence is my client). Given how broad the solution landscape is and how powerful this marketing technique is, there are easily six solid pieces written about it daily. For you, I’ve summarized the learnings from the best and most recent influencer marketing studies.  

It works.

Influencer marketing should be part of every B2C marketer’s strategy. As Morgan Fleming, the Director of Marketing at Amika, says in the eMarketer Influencer Marketing Roundup, “It’s very important to our brand…For Amika, it’s really not a question of being cost-effective. It’s just the way you have to reach people.”

It breathes life into brands.

Influencer marketing connects you to a rather elusive audience you care about in a way that drives purchase. Influencers are a media channel unto themselves and they spend every day thinking about how to deliver for their audiences. Co-create with them and make some magic.

Your shopper base doesn’t shop in isolation.

Your shopper base is fragmented and they don’t shop in a bubble. Not deploying social media marketing (beyond owned content, paid posts and listening) alongside your other digital tactics is a massive missed opportunity to reach consumers during critical, mobile-driven micro-moments of consideration, intent, and purchase.

Select your influencers well.

Set clear goals. Measure the impact. And brief influencers in inspiring ways while also providing campaign context and following FTC guidelines. I was talking to some badass creative directors recently, and they confided that their smartest clients have them working on the influencer creative briefs as opposed to making those the responsibility of a brand manager. Creatively-minded agents know how to stoke greatness out of other creators and seamlessly align them with your brand values.

Support and promote your influencers.

Regarding influencers as the (valuable) partners they are will deliver better results. Period. Take ownership of the relationship and make a conscious effort to build it. For instance, if your influencers need to buy product to test, try, photograph, video, create Stories about—make sure it’s in-store already! If not, ship some to them so they focus on creating content, not finding products. Also, be sure to promote the content they create, tag them, and thank them. Ok, no report informed this one but I’ve spend a lot of time with Tap’s Customer Success team who have facilitated tens of thousands of influencer campaigns and this comes up more than you’d think. In addition, it was a central topic  of conversation during a recent panel with two Tap100 influencers and one Tap customer. (ICYMI: check out the video recap.)

Influencer marketing has carved out its niche in the digital marketing space, but you won’t capture its full potential just by clicking your heels together. To unlock the power of influence, you have to give something back. Respect the relationship. Honor the connection. And above all, remember what’s on the other side of that computer or smartphone screen: your consumers.

I wrote this piece on TapInfluence's blog originally.