Social media is the most dominant way people interact and consume content today. Hence, the rise of influencers—individuals that command an audience—was inevitable. Some of these influencers have bigger audiences than traditional media channels.
This makes influencer marketing a very powerful tool for businesses to reach their target audience. Yet, businesses that wish to implement this strategy to grow have to grapple with deciding whether to do it inhouse or use a marketing agency.
The former seems like a more affordable route that gives you more control. However, is it really more affordable, and do you think having control of your campaigns makes for a good investment of time and resources?
We’d argue that going with an agency would be a better decision, and we’ll get into that a bit later. But before we do, let’s understand the role of influencer marketing agencies.
What Do Influencer Marketing Agencies Do?
Influencer marketing agencies specialize in executing influencer marketing campaigns. They do the heavy lifting of finding the right influencers that can help brands reach and engage with their target audiences and designing the campaigns to achieve what the brands have in mind. The typical tasks they perform include;
- Strategy Development: This involves designing a strategy that aligns with a brand’s marketing goals, target audience, and budget. Every brand and industry has a unique approach to marketing. What works in FMCG would not necessarily work in insurance. It’s the job of agencies to customize campaigns for every specific use case.
- Influencer Selection: Again, an influencer that resonates with a certain target audience will not necessarily resonate with other audiences. It’s the job of an influencer marketing agency to identify the right influencers from their databases, which span different social media platforms and niches.
- Contract Negotiation: Agencies also take it upon themselves to negotiate the terms of partnerships between brands and influencers. Considering their understanding of both the market and the brand, they know how to price campaigns based on the value a brand can get from every influencer.
- Content Creation: Influencers create their own content, that’s what makes them. But for them to work with a brand, the content they collaborate to create has to be customized. That’s where agencies come in; they direct content creation, ensuring it aligns with the brand’s message and values.
- Campaign Management: Throughout a campaign, the agency will manage the relationship between the brand and the influencers. They ensure that all deliverables are met on time and the campaign runs smoothly. In the event of any complaints from either party, they act as mediators.
- Performance Monitoring and Reporting: Every campaign has objectives, and brands need a concise demonstration of whether their investment in influencers bears fruit. Agencies will track campaigns and provide regular reports, detailing key metrics such as reach, engagement, and return on investment.
Overall, agencies help brands navigate the world of influencer marketing without having to install a whole marketing department for it. They empower brands to connect with their target audience and achieve their marketing goals with greater ease.
Benefits of Using an Influencer Marketing Agency
Sure, most brands have the time and resources to hire a marketing team that can take up influencer marketing. But is it really worth your time when you can direct more resources toward improving products and services and building better relationships with customers?
Agencies don’t exist just to take a slice of your marketing budget. They are there to help you. The tasks we’ve just covered are self explanatory. But for the sake of clarity, here are the precise benefits you can expect from using an influencer marketing agency.
1. Time and Cost-Effectiveness
An agency can handle so much when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns. Finding influencers, negotiating contracts, and managing campaigns—all these can be tedious if done inhouse. You’ll be running all over trying to put things under control.
For instance, you want to run a major campaign with one macro influencer and several micro influencers. All these temporary brand ambassadors will have to follow certain guidelines and timelines to have a common agenda that pushes the brand message. Are you ready for the turmoil that comes with micromanaging individuals who ‘know their value’?
Why not hand this over to an agency, take a seat, and watch as they handle everything. At the very least, you will save your company a lot of time, which can be used for more important purposes. In addition, you’ll save on costs while getting a great return on your investment.
2. Access to a Larger Network of Influencers.
Wondering what an influencer marketing agency has that most brands will struggle to access? A wide network of influencers. While your marketing team networks with customers and partners, an agency spends the whole day networking with influencers. Who’s got the leverage?
Networking with influencers is not an easy affair. It costs time and resources. You’ll need tools to discover the right influencers, especially with the realization that micro-influencers are often more valuable than macro influencers.
For a brand, influencer marketing can be one of its strategies. But not the main. An agency is your best bet for finding the right influencer, depending on your marketing objectives. It often works with them and knows which influencers are best for your brand. Don’t be surprised to get a huge ROI from an influencer they recommend that you’ve never heard of.
3. Expertise and Experience in Influencer Marketing.
Another obvious advantage of using an influencer marketing agency is that you get to leverage the expertise and experience of an entire team of creatives and digital marketing experts that’s working together with one mission: to give you results.
Influencer marketing is not just about DMing a trending influencer, giving your offer, and launching a campaign. There’s more to it, which requires smarts, experience, and professionalism.
Agencies dedicate their entire time to doing this because it’s part of their business model. They’ve worked with numerous influencers before and delivered results for clients from several industries. That’s how they stay in business. That’s the only card they can play. So if you want your brand to benefit the most from influencer marketing, an agency is your best bet.
4. More Efficient and Effective Campaign Management.
One of the biggest challenges of influencer marketing is that it can be very hectic. Imagine your marketing team researching influencers, separating real influencers from those with fake followers, running around setting up meetings, negotiating with them, and directing the campaigns.
We could go on and on. The bottom line is that there’s so much that needs to be done to run a campaign. And considering you are trying to get the most value out of it while spending the least amount of resources and time, you wouldn’t want to fumble with this powerful marketing strategy.
Agencies take away all the worries with influencer marketing. They’ve developed systems and standard operating procedures for running efficient campaigns. Of course, they too experience challenges, but due to their thick skin in the game, they can easily overcome them.
5. Better Measurement and Evaluation of Campaign Success.
Lastly, while influencer marketing is known to bring new customers, measuring the results is a bit challenging. They are normally fluid and difficult to quantify, unlike traditional marketing, which offers easy-to-measure results following a campaign launch.
Agencies have the tools and strategies for measuring and evaluating campaign success because they have to. From using affiliate marketing systems to tracking key performance indicators, they can know when a campaign is a success or not and give you recommendations.
As a marketing team for a brand, you can definitely take on the roles of measurement and evaluation. However, if you’d like a comprehensive report that gives you a clear picture of how a campaign went and the exact steps you need to take thereafter, an agency serves you well.
Cost Analysis, In-house Vs Agency?
This approach involves managing influencer marketing campaigns internally without relying on an agency. Needless to say, some costs will be incurred to achieve this;
- Salaries and Benefits: You will need to hire a competent team to manage a campaign. This may present a challenge in the down times when there are no campaigns running and suddenly you have idle staff members for months at a time.
- Software and Tools: Influencer discovery tools, social media management tools and reporting tools are necessary for running an influencer campaign. While Softwares and tools are great, do you really need to be spending money on software that does not aid your core business?
- Influencer Compensation: Influencers do not come cheap, especially the macro influencers.
- Legal Fees: You need to ensure you are complying with advertising regulations.
Influencer Marketing Agency:
This approach involves contracting an agency to run influencer marketing campaigns on behalf of your organization. Some of the costs to expect:
- Agency Fees: Typically, an agency will charge 10-20% of the total campaign spend.
- Influencer Compensation: Your agency will do the negotiation with influencers on your behalf and manage the relationship.
- Software and Tools: Tried and tested over years, your agency has experience with the best tools and in turn your organization benefits from this.
- Expertise and Experience: You will benefit from the expertise and experience of the agency’s team which ultimately leads to more successful campaigns.
- Scalability: An agency can handle larger, more complex campaigns than an inhouse team, which might not have the resources to manage multiple campaigns simultaneously.
So, now the question is which is more cost effective? Should your organization take on influencer marketing campaigns inhouse or go the agency route? The answer to these questions are best arrived at after considering the campaign size, expertise and experience, scalability and flexibility.
In the event that you decide an Influencer Marketing Agency is the best approach, how do you pick one that is reputable?
- Experience and Expertise: A track record of running successful influencer campaigns especially with clients in your industry is a plus.
- Transparency : A reputable agency should be transparent about their processes, fees and results. Case studies and references of previous clients to verify their success rate is key.
- Quality of Influencers: Ask the agency for their vetting process of Influencers and how they measure success of campaigns.
- Communication : Clear communication channels that provide regular updates on the progress of your campaign is important. The agency should also be open to feedback and suggestions.
- Compliance with Regulations : The agency should be aware of regulations and ensure the influencers adhere to any legal requirements.
- Cost and Value : Your agency should be able to deliver value for your investment and provide a positive return.
Will We See You Shortly?
Influencer marketing is only getting better. Any brand that’s not leveraging it to acquire customers and grow brand awareness is missing the mark. Those using or planning to use influencers must decide whether to do it inhouse or hire a marketing agency.
One of our most important pillars as The Digital Monkeys is influencer marketing. We have an extensive network of influencers with whom we’ve worked and strategies that make our campaign management outstanding.
If you need to strike your marketing goals using influencers, get on the phone with us at 0112234044, and we’ll help you strategize your campaign.