As social media becomes a major platform to connect with customers, marketing trends shift to accommodate new strategies. Influencers now take center stage in working with brands to grow their influence. More than just likes and shares, however, the influencers’ roles have become more crucial with the growth and expansion of a brand. Hence, more brands now need to invest in an influencer manager for their marketing department.
What exactly is an influencer manager? In the same way that marketing managers and public relations heads lead their teams for smoother operations, an influencer manager goes one step higher. They manage influencers while bridging the gap between talents and ideas, one fluid strong strategy at a time.
Before diving in to understand why you need to hire one, it’s good to know what is an influencer manager. From the term itself, an influencer manager is one who helms the strategy creation task involving influencers. It’s fairly new compared to long-standing and traditional positions like marketing or brand managers. Yet, their role is just as important, especially if your band is mired in influencer marketing strategies.
Just like marketing managers, influencer managers have a background in marketing. Instead of the logistics of a campaign, however, they are more concerned with managing the brand’s tapped influencers. More importantly, they handle relationship-building with influencers.[visualizer id=”1594″]Source: influencermarketinghub.com
Influencer managers carry the bulk of the responsibilities when a brand starts its influencer marketing strategies.
It’s Like CRM But For Influencers
Customer relationship management has always been a part of any brand’s operations. The relationship does not end after a transaction. In some ways, CRM is a great way to extend the brand’s value by allowing it to pervade the customer’s needs. It’s also another way to open channels for new sales and investments on their end.
Influencer relationship management works in fairly the same way. Note that influencers are not your brand’s employees. Influencers increase brand awareness through their own channels. They partner with brands so that the latter will have access to the influencer’s followers. Brands that work with influencers need to remember that they need to take care of influencers. They may have contracts, but if a better competitor sees their value and rewards it with appropriate compensation, you may lose your influencer.
Control the Overall Flow of Marketing Strategies
Because an influencer manager has a marketing background, they know the basic strategies to execute campaigns. They can then elevate this to influencer marketing, which mixes in a proper eye for brand growth in potentially different directions.
Remember, a contract does not ensure enthusiasm on the part of the influencer. The marketing campaign needs to be hardworking, so that the influencer will add to it, rather than be the one to run it. Influencer marketing strategies do not bank only on the name or reach of the influencer. Once your campaign relies on that, you know that it’s the first big mistake of your strategy.
Build Partnerships, Not Endorsements
A common misconception of influencer marketing is that it’s all about endorsements. Many influencer marketing campaigns become mere accessories instead of major strategies because they are relegated to simple endorsements.
Influencer managers always ask the right questions when creating strategies with the marketing team. They understand the brand’s direction, but also have an eye on where they can expand and explore through potential influencers.
Handpicking the Cream of the Crop
Influencer managers also know how to answer the question,”How many followers do you need to be an influencer?” This is especially helpful if your brand is still in the early stages of developing an influencer marketing strategy. Not only do they know how many f0llowers a specific influencer should need to work for your brand, but they also have intel on who will work for your brand.
Seasoned influencer managers may have the intel on which existing influencers will work best. Some may even already have connections with these influencers–all they need to do is tap them for your brand.
Managing Influencer Image
For influencers, reputation and image are everything. Their image is not only their own, because they are partners of different brands. It is the influencer manager’s role to implement certain guidelines on influencers to remain on-brand.
There’s a thin line between making small but significant suggestions to the influencer’s own branding and taking over their brand completely. In most cases, influencers will be turned off if you do the latter. They built their brand and image before you tapped them. Influencers have a relationship with their audience. They are incorporating your brand into their overall image, not the other way around. Influencer managers need to toe this line carefully and successfully.
Negotiating with Influencers
The terms “PPP” or “PPC” may be common parlance for marketing managers. When it comes to influencer marketing, there are other terms like “pay-per-acquisition,” “pay-per-subscribers,” and “pay-per-view.” Here’s a quick guide on these pricing models:
Pay-per-post – A good starting point for new strategies is to base the pay on the number of posts needed from the influencer. The flat rate makes it easy, and gives the influencer freedom to choose if the content will be a simple post, a photo, or a video.
Pay-per-click – When your brand now deals with metrics, looking at clicks back to your brand can help. This will now heavily depend on how effective your influencer’s call-to-actions will be in inviting more customers to your brand’s sites.
Pay-per-acquisition – If you are looking for aggressive results, this one focuses on conversion rates. This looks at immediate and concrete action, whether it’s an instant purchase or a commitment like being a subscriber of your brand’s official social media. Expect higher price points for this approach.
Pay-per-subscribers – Considered to be a vanity metric, this is an easy call if you are working with a mega-influencer. However, remember that some fans may not be actual followers or truly engaged with the influencer’s posts.
Pay-per-view – If you want a metric that is more grounded on engagement rather than follower count, looking at per-view may be a better option.
Most influencer managers follow a certain pricing model, depending on the type of influencer and the kind of platform they use. When it comes to the details on how to do influencer marketing, they are also tasked with managing the budget for influencers.
Allotment is never easy, especially when one is juggling a lot of influencers. There will be talk regarding rates, so it is up to the influencer manager to ensure that terms and conditions are understood.
Understanding the Market
Apart from understanding the influencers, influencer managers also need to have a pulse of the market. They may not be influencers in their own right, but they need to understand how influencers’ methods work in the market.
For influencers to be more effective in the brand’s market, the influencer manager is also there to guide them. Thus, influencer managers also need to understand the brand and how it can be seamlessly merged with the influencer’s own image.
Test the market
As a marketing manager, when you ask yourself, “How do I launch an influencer brand in 2020?” you’re asking about the role of an influencer manager. They also need to test the market and then learn to adjust the strategy with the influencer.
Talented influencer managers also understand the need to contribute to an influencer’s growth. In some cases, brands create their own influencers to be more organic or more tied to the brand. This strategy works, especially if your brand has a specific direction to take. An easier approach is to find micro- and nano-influencers and help steer them into a direction that is viable for the brand.
In both cases, the influencer manager is there to fashion both the brand’s direction for influencers and their influencer roster towards working in proper tandem.
Meet and Greets: The New Platform for New Faces
Just as marketing managers tend to become the brand’s face at events, the influencer manager becomes the bridge between the brand and influencers. They take the lead on all coordination and they craft the messages that need to be communicated to influencers. Most importantly, an influencer manager needs to helm the discovery of new talent.
The best strategy for any marketing approach is to cover all the bases. For big brands, this entails tapping both mega or macro and micro or nano influencers. It’s all about range. At present, you need more to create more reach for the brand. But in the future, you also need to be prepared to tap new faces for your brand.
Content Development for Influencers
This may not seem to be the most important part of an influencer manager’s job. In fact, a new study found that more brands are now going directly to influencers to create content. While there is nothing wrong with giving influencers more creative freedom, there also has to be a strict line to ensure quality content.
One way to do this would be to assign an influencer manager to oversee the direction given to the influencer. The current marketing industry is undergoing rapid change, seeing as how the current pandemic is also affecting the way influencers work. Yet having a middle man to manage brand content and allow for creativity can make content even more effectively crafted.
How Do You Get the Best For Your Brand?
Every brand owner and CEO will only want what’s best for their brand, especially if they have seen this grow from the ground up. For those who have not yet dabbled in the more modern techniques of marketing, this may seem like a big step away from the old processes.
But like any other company, part of a brand’s survival is evolution. This means putting the responsibility of streamlining influencer-related strategies and executions in the hands of a person who understands the industry inside out.
Personal Managers? How to Deal With Influencer’s Managers
For those who understand marketing, it is not uncommon to assume and ask, “Do influencers have managers?” In the same way that brands will need more influencers with different credentials and reach, it also works the other way.
Some influencers, especially those who are in demand among different brands, will need someone to manage their schedule and workload. In most cases, an influencer manager will need to go through the talent’s own managers to set up a meeting and a possible arrangement.
One can think of an influencer’s managers as the mirror image of a brand’s influencer manager. They need to make sure that their talent only relates to the best brand. Part of this means weighing the pros and cons of said brands.
There’s an important takeaway here on brand and influencer relationships. Before any viable connection can be established, it may start with proper talk between the two managers.
Agency vs. Personal Management
In the industry, there are two common ways by which one can find and work with an influencer. First, there are agencies that invest in influencers. Talent agencies have become common because they see the value of having a good roster for brands. One advantage of this is working with a single transaction to potentially hit more than one influencer. Because agencies know and cultivate their own talents, they may be able to recommend influencers for the brand in one go.
Some influencers go with personal management. They have enough of a reach for them to go solo than to be with an agency. However, they may also already have a lot on their plates to handle it alone. Personal management solves with one manager to negotiate with all the brands interested in the influencer.
The last one is still common, but mostly when it comes to micro and nano influencers. Solo management for influencers is still a thing. It’s possible that they have their own unique crew behind the scenes, albeit a lot may be managed on a more personal level.
Knowing how to maneuver through
The good news here is that no brand or marketing manager should suffer alone. The task of influencer marketing requires its own department, or at the very least, having someone who can lead the team for better management.
If you want to know more about influencer marketing and how it is currently changing the game for brands, read our guide, “7 Burning Questions Answered: Why Influencer Marketing is a Game Changer” to better understand why every brand will need to get into this strategy.