The growing popularity of social media channels has led to the rise of the influencer, a relatively new marketing phenomenon. Influencers quickly played a pivotal role in a brand’s marketing mix, delivering brand exposure at the top of the funnel, engaging content to use on both paid and owned channels, and influencing fan and customer buying. subscribers.
Influencers have a lot to offer brands, however, traditional influencer campaigns have always been difficult to track and measure. Many companies have turned to the performance-based model, measuring influencers by results and giving them more control over their marketing costs and a better way to measure ROI.
The impact of Covid-19 on marketing budgets has led to these new rules of engagement. Rather than paying only a flat fee per post, companies have opted to pay influencers based on performance, such as new revenue, new customers, or additional sales. Many influencers have adapted to these changes, partnering with a wider range of brands and better controlling revenue streams.
Changes in consumer privacy controls are also creating a tailwind for influencers, as recent changes by Apple and Google make it harder to track and measure traditional paid media. Brands are moving dollars where they can effectively measure results, and consumers continually turn to content from trusted authorities to help them make purchasing decisions.
As brands begin to bridge the gap between influencer marketing and affiliate marketing, they are aligning their partnership goals, strategies and processes. Rather than operating influencer and affiliate marketing in silos, companies are aligning their partnering strategies to gain efficiency and improve performance.
Here are four ways to align your influencer and affiliate marketing efforts:
A traditional influencer relationship tends to be transactional, with brands paying for a single promotional post and following high-level engagement metrics. This is a somewhat limited approach and generally not a good strategy for improving long term performance. By collaborating with influencers over time, the same way brands manage their affiliates, businesses can build stronger relationships, track ongoing activity and promotions, and get better return on the time it takes to recruit. and influence a high performing influencer partner.
A long-term relationship also gives brands time to better understand the influencer niche and what has worked for them in the past. Influencers have unique ideas and can help find ways to promote various campaigns. Additionally, an ongoing relationship gives influencers the opportunity to promote a brand when it organically aligns with their audience’s interests. This gives them a more holistic view of how their followers are reacting to the brand and the ability to optimize campaigns for maximum impact.
Influencer campaigns have been difficult to scale due to their reliance on manual processes – phone etiquette, long email threads, and spreadsheets – and the hours each week spent on them. . Brands can’t take every step manually to reach scale and need to make sure they automate themselves to improve their relationships with influencers and gain better access to data for insight and decision-making.
Additionally, large, fixed budgets spent on content creation have fostered an environment in which there is enormous oversight over every campaign involving legal, marketing, PR, social, and agency representatives on the creator side, often to the detriment of the creator. authenticity of real work. be produced.
Technology has gotten more sophisticated, automating influencer discovery and communications, and payment tracking and processing. This has allowed the influencer industry to flourish, freeing up brands to focus on building stronger relationships with their growing list of influencers and analyzing data to see the role and value that a partner plays in the path of conversion.
Any business with a growing partner program has likely seen some internal overlap when it comes to managing influencers. Influencers can encompass PR, social, and affiliate teams, which typically perform similar functions and have different facets of those relationships.
The key to a successful partnership strategy is making sure that all of your internal teams are aligned and moving in the same direction. Avoid duplicating efforts, such as two teams contacting the same partner or influencer about the same campaign and sharing different instructions, this can lead to poor performance.
When onboarding new influencers to a partner program, marketers should make sure that the PR or social team doesn’t already have an established relationship. By collaborating on the best way to work with the partner, teams can align with goals and set the stage for how campaigns are to be executed and delivered in the most efficient manner possible.
As partner programs have grown and evolved, brands are focusing on adding value to the influencer customer, fans and followers. Unlike advertising and intrusive sales, the audience respects and trusts the influencer and accepts the influencer ‘s choices and recommendations. They actively seek advice and content from the creator on their own terms.
Brands are best positioned to capitalize on their influential partnerships by giving them the building blocks to tell their own story authentically. This usually includes sharing content, images, product information (niche, sizing, etc.) and other promotional elements so that the influencer is equipped to make their message appealing and generate good results.
There is a great opportunity to align influencer marketing and affiliate marketing. Brands can streamline their approach to influencer and affiliate partner management to create a more scalable and measurable partner marketing strategy and the results are worth it. By focusing on results, influencers can engage more with their brand partners and deliver more profitable campaigns.