'Wake up!' by IMA on influencers
Why tapping into your audiences is essential and indispensable for success
‘A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is. [Scott Cook]’. Anneke Schogt [CEO at IMA, Influencer Marketing Agency, part of S4 Capital] explains we ‘need to wake up’.
In our interview, she captures the essence of HBR ‘Branding in the age of social media’.
Social media made a significant impact on the world. The communication power is even within the smallest communities who now have a voice via social media. Society and human behavior have changed. How we consume content has changed. From the centralized broadcasting owned by the brand to the democratized content model owned by the public. The customers amongst each other tell each other what your brand is about. As a brand, your new starting point is the voice of the customer. Tap in, listen sincerely, embrace the conversation. And in the meantime take notice of these insights provided by your audience. Use them.
Tap in, listen sincerely, embrace the conversation. And in the meantime take notice of these insights provided by your audience. Use them.
New distribution system
The marketing system is still in a transition trying to catch up with these changes. The brand communications fundament has changed from ‘inside-out’ to ‘outside-in’. The conversation between customers and fans of the brand now defines the brand. Use this information to sculpt your brand message and marketing. Most brands still do not know how to handle customer feedback.
As a brand, you still can broadcast your brand message. ‘How’ you set up your distribution ecosystem is the big change. For influencer marketing, this major shift is very clear. From old school plugging the influencer in your brand content ecosystem, to nowadays plugging your brand message in the content ecosystem owned by the influencer.
Brands need to change the internal organization to facilitate this direct contact with the consumer. Know what is going on in their conversations, tap in and use these insights. More often than not, the customer care department is in its own silo.
Next to tapping into these conversations, use the data provided by the platforms. Do an extended analysis of your audiences on Facebook and Instagram. What are their characteristics, behavior and conversation triggers and only as last, their demographic statistics? Do a research on Google and YouTube on what keywords they use in relation to your products, your brand, and competitors. Go discover on the social networks for the # used. Be entrepreneurial, don’t over-engineer, start small and make this change happen. One step at the time.
IMA would not be IMA if we did not discuss the influencer marketing that is here to stay. Started as a channel, nowadays this is the starting point for the brand conversation. Yes, the reach of an influencers’ network is smaller than a TVC of paid social campaigns. Yet, effectiveness and effectivity are much higher. And in the end, it is about the value-added to the business objectives of the brand, not about the eyeballs.
The perception of the influencers is still subpar; ‘the simple millennials that crave attention and sell their soul and audience for too much money’. Reading all opinions in the industry network, there are two opinions. First as described above, the non-believers and skeptical marketeers. Second, the new school marketers who know how to use the shift in society in brand communications.
How to succeed
The success of influencer marketing is not within the influencer, it is within the brand. And starts with your strategy. Be selective about the long term cooperation with authentic matching influencers, only the perfect fit will pay off. And involve the influencer from the very starting point of your brand combinations and or campaign. Keep in mind, the perfect-fit-influencers can create more effective and more efficient content than your expensive creative agency can do.
(The right) influencers create their content from an authentic passion and eagerness to share this with the world. They keep their audience in mind, to create content for them that is appealing and relevant. After all, if the followers of the influencer don’t value the content, they will unfollow and dislike. Resulting in the influencer losing its stage to broadcast their passion. They are their own publishers and creating their digital magazines. Food for thought for brands to use this same audience-first strategy.
Embrace the circular effect. The brand taps in the influencers’ network. The feedback from their audience provides golden insights for the brand. These can be used for product development or communications. Than given back to the influencers to be broadcasted again.
Get serious about influencer marketing
As a brand, take this seriously. Don’t just work with your creative agency, get the specialist on board. I am not biased, nor do I have stock options for IMA or S4. I truly believe they are one of the best agencies out there with a no-nonsense fair approach to influencer marketing. They dare to say ‘no’ and are bold to setup qualitative campaigns only. Their reviews and clients speak for themselves, next to the great bunch of inspiring people working there.
A little sidestep, more about involving Customer Care in your content strategy. Case: Webcare for Content, Case: KLM Webcare and Content and Case: Nuud on Customer Care.