Many things have changed in the world since the start of 2020, when I launched eaeo, a new breed of digital marketing agency specialising in influencers. We believe that each and everyone is an influencer in life - whether they have influence on their family members or broader communities.
But this fact has not changed in that time: too many brands and agencies simply aren’t getting influencer marketing right.
It’s clear that brands are paying over the odds for campaigns using influencers who aren’t the right fit, as part of projects which don’t do the job that influencer marketing is supposed to do.
That job? Marketing; selling; shifting products. The clue is in the name, but lots of those running influencer campaigns seem to have forgotten about it.
Beyond just engagement
It’s no secret that the world of marcoms can quickly get caught up in vanity metrics. This absolutely encourages the wrong sort of behaviour - creating engagement for the sake of engagement, and campaigns in which ‘awareness’ is an end product, rather than just a step along the way.
The reality is that influencer campaigns need to run right across the sales funnel - not just at the top promoting awareness, but at the consideration stage in the middle of the funnel, and finally at the end product; conversion. A key part of how we work is finding the influencers most able to be effective at each of those levels - an influencer who is good at driving conversions may not be so effective at awareness-raising, and so on.
Also key to our approach is deploying a paid social strategy - our research shows that on average, less than a quarter of the average influencer’s organic content is seen by their audience - depending on the platform, the figure ranges from 4% to 20%. Our paid strategy ensures this number increases to 70% and above within the most relevant audience demographics.
We’ve run campaigns for brands ranging from the BBC and Netflix to Warner Bros, Geologie and Reading Eggs. Because of our data-led approach, we’re so confident of the results we’re going to achieve for our clients that we base payment on hitting those targets. With all the data available in a modern influencer marketing team, what does it say if someone isn’t comfortable with putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to conversion and bottom-line results?
A key area where influencer marketing goes wrong is matching influencers to brands. It’s easy to apply the same logic as with media relations and just look for the biggest audiences.
But it’s all too simple and convenient to just recommend the most prominent and obvious influencers, those with the biggest followers, and hope they’ll get you the best results. That approach is flawed; smaller influencers often get better engagement.
This is where our next-gen proprietary analysis comes in. We use data and behavioural science to model who a brand’s customers are, what they are thinking, their motivations, pain points and needs. We scrape and analyse language data from online sources, and request access to influencers’ audience data to analyse using our proprietary tool, which uses 172 data points and, combined with our customer insight and knowledge of emerging trends, means we can see whose content is really going to move the needle for clients.
If an influencer wants to work with us, they have to give us access to their account meaning we can see and analyse their audience. It means we can help them to create better campaigns. If an influencer isn’t willing to engage in this way and give us that access, it’s a real red flag because it suggests they’re not committed to creating the best ‘right’ for both their client and their audience.
It’s so important that we invest in that insights and research phase of a campaign - if you don’t do that, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
A two-way street
While our approach is highly informed by data and analysis, we always make sure that the influencers with which we work have the space to be creative and authentic.
We might talk to them about how a particular type of content they’ve created previously is particularly successful, and about what sort of content we hope they might create, but we actively encourage debate about how exactly to make it work.
The reality is that lazy influencer marketing benefits nobody - not the agency, not the client, nor the influencer or their followers. Putting in that bit more time and effort into the insights and research phase means we can be far bolder about the sort of results we’re going to achieve.
A time of reckoning is here - who will commit to doing influencer marketing right, and who will refuse to engage?
Abraham Charles is founder and CEO of eaeo.
each & everyone (eaeo) is a modern social influence agency that forges meaningful relationships with content that inspires action through social media. It is an agency born at a time when people care more about the opinions of influencers than what is sold through polished advertising campaigns. Good content is a language, not an advert. We use it to help influence a brand’s energy online. We’d love to talk to you about making influencer marketing work. Get in touch.