Experts in Influencer Marketing campaigns discuss best practices. Vivian Baron, Founder and Creative Chairwoman at Band of Insiders, presented the panelists: Best Buy Mexico’s E-commerce Subdirector José Camargo, Grupo Bimbo’s Global Consumer Engagement Lead Giustina Trevisi, Band of Insiders’ Influencer Marketing Manager Leonardo Vargas, and Pepsico/Drinkfinity’s Director of Business Innovation & Marketing Yamile Elias.
How powerful can influencer marketing campaigns be? Is it for everyone? During the last years, the trend of using influencers as a tool to amplify a campaign or message has grown to a great extent. As Vivian Baron, Founder and Creative Chairwoman of Band of Insiders believes, “It is no longer about the relationship with the media, but rather about how we amplify our client’s message correctly. There’s great interest placed on influencer marketing, but there’s also a great lack of knowledge around it.”
In spite of this lack of knowledge, many brands have tried to take advantage of the opportunity that influencer marketing represents. Unfortunately, not everyone has succeeded. “Digital platforms are so strong today that influencer marketing can have a hugely negative effect,” asserted Baron. “It should be taken very seriously.”
Can (or Should) Any Brand Take Advantage of Influencer Marketing Campaigns?
With the buzz around this type of marketing, every brand wonders if influencers can boost their ROI. While this can and does happen, it isn’t as simple as some could believe, and influencers can help a great deal in things that are not necessarily direct sales. “Influencer marketing is key in any brand, not only to create awareness but for many other things,” said Yamile Elias, Director of Business Innovation & Marketing, Drinkfinity/Pepsico. “At Drinkfinity we’re using it for insights, to ask the consumer certain things. When we have a problem they can help us solve it, but only if it’s a good fit.”
For Giustina Trevisi, Global Consumer Engagement Lead at Grupo Bimbo, brands are already surrounded by influencer marketing, and it would benefit them to adopt a position towards it. “Influencers are something we can’t ignore. It’s a ‘can’t hide’ matter, where the question is ‘how to leverage‘,” asserted Trevisi. Influencers are a great tool in any ecosystem, but it doesn’t work on its own. You’re not supposed to have an Influencer Marketing strategy on its own, but rather include it in your overall communication strategy.” Moreover, she agreed with Yamile Elias that this tool helps in diverse areas, such as crisis management, campaign support, and PR and perception. While these don’t have a direct impact on your ROI, “they obviously expand reach,” she said.
What Are the Keys to Crafting Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns?
Giustina Trevisi summarized the essential elements when sharing one of Bimbo’s stories of success: 1. Objective, 2. Target, 3. Creative. “The first step is knowing the objective and whom we intend to reach. We held onto a current event, something that was happening at the moment (Peru qualified for the World Cup), and we focused on getting the formats, times, and platforms correctly,” she told. “You need to choose the correct target and influencers according to your objective and budget. If you show the idea to management and they don’t like it, that is a good sign, as it’s not for them.”
A Matter of Strategy
“Influencer marketing should be carried out in very strategic ways,” added José Camargo. “For Best Buy, something that has worked really well is these people we call ‘insiders’ that don’t even know they are influencers. These kids can get 3-4 thousand people in 20 minutes for an opening.” What matters the most, he emphasized, is a good fit between the influencers’ values and those of the company: “The brand and the influencer should have similar values. Only when the influencer is convinced by the brand are the publications really natural: the brand’s ideals rub off on his or her posts and comments.”
How to Select an Influencer?
As we have seen so far, having a clear objective matters, but so does selecting an influencer that matches that objective. The first thing, then, is knowing what each type of influencer can achieve.”There’s an influence pyramid that we can divide into mega, macro, and micro. Each one of these has different results,” explained Leonardo Vargas. “However, the new trend is ‘hidden influencers’, people who have an impact both online and offline. We need to look at their profile and their basic social circle in order to provoke a more direct impact on sales.”
For Better Results, Employ an Expert
The next thing would be the actual process of selection. For Giustina Trevisi, this is much easier with the help of a specialist. “I would recommend others to work with influencer agencies, to work with experts,” she stated. “It’s important to have someone who knows how to handle them, have a good communication with them. We work with several specialized agencies who take our brief, give it back, then we do a second brief, they give it to the influencer and then they present a creative proposal. If I do the regulation part, I lose the emotional component. Having an expert to deal with them helps with the flow and builds long-term relationships.”
Can Technology Make the Process Easier?
“We have to automatize processes through platforms, technology, data, correlations… We need to use what’s available, but the decision has to ultimately go through a human filter who knows the target and can make sense of everything,” said Giustina Trevisi. “A tool can give you a diagnosis, but a human being has to make de decision. A machine uses algorithms, but the context has to be human.”
“I’m in favor of digitalization and automatization, but the human part is inescapable,” agreed Leonardo Vargas. “Instagram stories, for example, can give you very complete information, but only when you have a team of experts constantly looking at what’s going on on social media. Every day there are more platforms; with just one click you can execute a campaign, but we need to go back to the brief. Everything needs to be taken care of.”
What Can We Expect for Future Influencer Marketing Campaigns?
It’s easy to see where we’re going if we take a quick look at where we’ve recently been. As Yamile Elias commented, “If we analyze the number of times people search the word ‘influencer’, we find that the number has grown 200% since 2016, and it grew 60% in the first quarter of this year alone. Estimations show the budget for influencer marketing in the U.S. to go up to 5-10 billion dollars.”
According to Leonardo Vargas, there are already a couple of trends that we can expect to see in the near future. “One: strategies linked to SEO and automatized keywords, which are different to Google’s ad words because they get placed on social media,” he explained. “Two: audience marketing for influencers; a type of audience analysis that helps you know what works, not what looks well. A new trend that will be very important, and it’s a great time to be pioneers, is the rise of new social media. Facebook, Twitter, and the others have become just another showcase for brands, and consumers don’t want to see that anymore. There are new social media that are going back to what Facebook and Twitter were about originally, like Mastodon, in which users are in control and it’s free of ads.”
In short, we should try to go deep into the influencer marketing campaigns tool instead of staying at a superficial level. Influencers are for every brand only if the strategy is very clear. Objectives, channels and the influencers themselves should fit, not only to minimize crisis risk but to ensure good results overall. It’s very important to analyze the data, be aware of the results you’re aiming at. We shouldn’t underestimate Influencer marketing, it isn’t easy, but it can really bring you success. It should be a part of your whole marketing strategy, not as an isolated campaign but as a long-term program. If we do it well, it’s a great bet. Otherwise, it can really hurt you. That’s why you should partner with experts.