Influencer marketing is exploding in popularity as its value and accessibility to brands of all kinds becomes more and more apparent. But as marketing departments and agencies of all shapes and sizes have started to jump on the influencer bandwagon with bigger and bigger budgets, a very important questions has arisen: “Who should be in charge of all this, anyway?”
The answer to that question could mean the difference between a successful, lucrative influencer marketing program and one that ends up aimless with lackluster results.
The Booming Interest in Influencer Marketing, According to Google Trends
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One solution to this challenge is the emerging role of “Influencer Marketing Manager.” This professional is responsible for identifying opportunities, maintaining relationships, overseeing accounts and more specifically related to engaging influencers and using their reputation to the benefit of your brand. Though not every organization’s situation will call for the addition of this new role, brands that are considering a heavy investment into influencers should look at hiring a dedicated expert or at least an experienced strategic marketing consultant to lead your strategy and implementation.
As a brand-new position, there are very few experienced influencer marketing managers out there already. You may be able to find and recruit one such digital expert, but more likely you’ll have to find an ambitious professional with related expertise who’s able to blaze a new trail forward for your business on their own. The exact recipe for an ideal influencer marketing manager is still uncertain and will undoubtedly vary depending on your business, but there are a few things we as digital marketing recruiters recommend you look for before adding a new one to your team:
The Best Backgrounds to Search
A good influencer manager could conceivably come from almost any digital or marketing discipline, but the most obvious fields to start with will typically be Public Relations, Community Management, and Social Media Marketing.
Celebrity endorsement is probably the closest traditional analogue to modern influencer marketing, though there are important distinctions. Still, an advertising or brand professional who has experience managing endorsement deals, celebrity relationships and dealings with agents would also likely be a good candidate.
Finally, someone who has experience as a digital influencer themselves has strong potential to become an influencer marketing manager themselves. Their firsthand perspective and influencer credentials could open doors to relationships you might not get otherwise.
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A Craving for ROI
This should go without saying for any digital marketing recruitment. But it’s useful in this case to remember that your likely candidate pool will come from disciplines like PR and social media community management, and may come from a background where the immediate focus isn’t always on the bottom line. Seek candidates who understand the importance of measuring and tracking ROI and can develop a strategy to do so.
A good place to start is ensuring they have the right KPIs front of mind; ROI-oriented goals like leads driven, engagement reached, and even direct sales made. Remember, viewership is a useful but secondary metric; no amount of influencer exposure will pay off if it’s not relevant to your brand and product.
A Strong Ethical Foundation
It’s not uncommon for emerging business strategies to have some growing pains early on in terms of what’s acceptable, what’s legal, and what’s just plain right or wrong. As a discipline that has yet to mature or be directly regulated, influencer marketing is no different. Already, several minor scandals have erupted over undisclosed brand relationships and inappropriate influencer compensation.
When there’s still a lot of grey area, you want someone who has a very strong moral compass and errs on the side of ethics and transparency. This can be difficult to evaluate in a candidate, but is worth the extra effort.
Be very wary of any candidate who recommends an underhanded tactic or has a background using them, even if their efforts weren’t directly harmful to anyone. It isn’t just morally ambiguous, but could potentially get you in hot water with endorsement regulations by Federal Trade Commission. And if consumers discover you’re having questionable dealings with their favorite influencers, it could cause a huge backlash and damage to your brand.
- Read more on the FTC guidelines for influencers and endorsement here.
- Check out Google’s best practices for influencer relationships here.
Influencer Marketing Manager: 1 of 3 Roles to Add to Your Digital Marketing Team This Year
An Omnichannel Perspective
This biggest and most recognizable influencer personalities might be on Twitter or YouTube–but that’s not always where the ROI is. Tunnel-visioning on popular web characters and social media personalities with massive reach can be dangerous. Sometimes the most valuable influencers are not those with an army of Facebook fans or a massive blog following, but those who engage a small, tight-knit community through one of the lesser-known social networks or a modest podcast with a loyal listener base.
For big consumer brands, it’s definitely valuable to be able to engage with a large, diverse influencer following on major channels like Instagram. But regardless of your business, you also want to recruit an omnichannel-minded marketer who knows how to look beyond the low-hanging fruit with lots of visibility and find the diamonds in the rough that provide a connection to highly relevant niche audiences.