We just discussed how you can use Digital PR as a framework to justify your budget for 2019 and now we want to dive deeper into the influencer marketing section of the budget.
Before diving into influencer marketing for your brand, be sure you have the right influencer strategy in place that matches the goals that any campaign or partnership is trying to achieve.
Influencer marketing is just one strategy and it might not be the right strategy for your brand. It's also possible that a "traditional" influencer marketing approach isn't right for your brand, but there is a creative angle that does make sense.
We'll break down what you need for your budget, no matter which stage of influencer marketing your brand finds itself in.
Back up your budget needs with research
If your boss hasn't bought into the need for influencer marketing, you need some research to back up your budget ask.
Start with the following:
- Nearly 40% of Twitter users say they've made a purchase as a direct result of a Tweet from an influencer [Twitter]
- 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from their favorite creator (YouTube influencer) over their favorite TV or movie personality [Think with Google] which shows the shift in influencer marketing from traditional celebrity spokespeople
- Nearly one-fifth (19%) of the average consumer's total media consumption is now made up of influencer content [Good Relations survey]
- Over half (57%) of those surveyed by Good Relations have "made a purchase based solely on an influencer recommendation"; that number grows to 69% for millennials
- Instagram influencer marketing alone could reach $2 billion by 2019 [Mediakix]
- While trust in platforms declines, trust in journalism rebounds [Edelman Trust Barometer 2018]
Journalists are only one type of influencer, but they're an important component of an overall influencer marketing strategy for a PR professional.
So, how much should you ask for? That will of course depend on your brand's available resources, but the following should help you get started.
Questions to help your influencer budget allocation
To decide how much of your budget to allocate to influencer marketing, you need to run through some qualifiers.
Start with these five:
- Do you have an influencer marketing strategy already in place? If so, how successful was it? What kind of metrics did you use to measure the success or failure of your influencer projects, and were they tied to bigger marketing or brand KPIs? Move beyond the "pay and pray" model if you haven't already.
- What do your competitor's influencer marketing strategies look like? While you can't know exactly what their outcomes are, you can keep track of how many influencer projects they're launching on which platforms, the types of influencers they're working with, and more. This can help you frame out and/or refine your own influencer strategy.
- What existing plans do you have that influencers can help with? You don't have to scrap your existing campaigns. Do you have something already planned that could get a boost from working with an influencer or several influencers?
- Which type of influencer is the most appropriate to help your brand achieve its goals? You don't have to allocate a large chunk of budget to work with a really big name. Smaller influencers often have more actual influence with their audience, and they're more affordable to work with. (See the New York Times piece on "nanoinfluencers".)
- How are you going to measure your influencer marketing success? You want to have specific KPIs in place before you sign an influencer and launch a campaign or partnership.
All of these questions should help you frame out how much of your budget you should allocate for influencer marketing in 2019.
Don't waste your budget once you win it
Be sure you're approaching the influencers that are right for your brand, that you and any influencers you work with agree on exactly how you'll measure success before you launch any campaign or partnership, and you have the right tools in place to do that measurement.
You don't want to make a researched case for how you'll use influencer marketing budget, then sign an agreement with an influencer who doesn't deliver.
You also don't want to agree on metrics then find the tools that you use can't cover what you were hoping to capture.
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