Does my Brand Need an Influencer Agency or Can We Just Do it Ourselves?

Does my Brand Need an Influencer Agency or Can We Just Do it Ourselves?

March 25, 2019 10:34 am

According to recent estimates, the influencer marketing industry is expected to hit $10B by 2020 with over 75% of marketers currently utilizing the tactic. Nevertheless, some advertisers are still wary of diving in headlong with questions lingering about ROI and overall effectiveness. 

Regardless of the evolving (and sometimes unpredictable) nature of the influencer marketing space, most agree that it is here to stay. The logical question most brands are asking now: Should we develop this expertise in-house or find a strategic influencer agency partner? 

When to go at it Alone

Firstly, how complex will the campaigns be? Have you ironed out your influencer brief and contract including things like creative direction, talking points, scope, usage rights, exclusivity requirements, and FTC disclosure guidelines? If you’re nodding your head, great! Now, how many influencers? If it’s just a few with a straightforward set of deliverables, handling in-house should be feasible.

Now it’s time to reach out! Caution: run far away from any agency that intimates that they’re the only ones who know how to contact a digital influencer; this tactic stems from their insecurity that you’ll circumvent them. The best agencies provide value in many more ways than just influencer discovery (to name a few: content strategy, campaign management, creative direction, data & analytics).

Once you’ve connected with your dream influencers, make sure you’ve budgeted time and personnel to closely manage the projects on a daily basis. Influencers will often need frequent reminders about due-dates, delicate prodding about necessary content edits, and ongoing monitoring/enforcement of competitive exclusivity.

When to Ask for Help

The clearest way to know when to hire an influencer agency is when the creative and scope of the projects may exceed your brand’s expertise and internal throughput to manage it.

Translation: do you have the time to search through hundreds of influencers, reach out to 50, hear back from 15, negotiate contracts with ten, then manage ten separate email threads for 1-2 months? Especially when these tasks are added to everything else on your plate, it can get overwhelming quickly!

Here’s an overview of questions a great influencer marketing agency can help you answer and solve:

Influencer Curation

How can I find niche influencers with specific demographics/characteristics or in specific content verticals/geographic markets? Which influencers already have an affinity for my brand? Which influencers cannot work with my brand due to existing contractual exclusivity clauses with competitors?

Creative Direction & Platform Strategy

How will influencers talk about my brand or product? Which key messages should they focus on? What should they NOT say? Any seasonal or promotional talking points? What’s the call-to-action? What platforms will they be posting on? Videos or photos? What should the captions say? How should they discuss the partnership to adhere to FTC disclosure?

Vetting

How will I conduct robust, ongoing vetting for brand safety? How will I monitor videos & photos unrelated to my campaign that influencers post during the partnership? What is my brand’s tolerance for influencers discussing potentially polarizing topics like politics, religion, & sex? Should my brand have different guidelines for specific social platforms (e.g. influencers have a notoriously thinner filter on Twitter). Do events from an influencers’ past matter or is my brand only concerned about transgressions during a partnership? How will I handle possible fallout from an influencer scandal in the future?

Campaign Management

What type of timeline is realistic? How long is needed for contracting, ideation, production, and distribution? How many rounds of edits/feedback can we expect? What types of changes will/won’t be permitted? What is the best way to track influencers’ posts as they go live?

Data & Analytics

Relative to our KPIs, what type of metrics should we collect? How often? What are the reporting limitations of each social platform? Is there any data some influencers aren’t willing to share? How did my campaign perform relative to industry/platform/influencer averages?

Finding the Right Partner

Next time you’re deciding whether to handle campaigns in-house or hire an influencer marketing agency, use the questions above as a litmus test. Is influencer marketing a core strength for your brand and in your wheelhouse? Not only will you quickly discern the best approach but you’ll be able to easily weed out agencies and platforms that aren’t bringing helpful services to the table, and find your ideal partner with the right expertise.

Trending Family is a full-service influencer marketing agency that specializes in driving consumer action through influential families.

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