Ryan McFadyen, co-founder and strategic head at HaveYouHeard, outlines his vision of influencer marketing best practice.

Integrated thinking is key

Don’t treat influencer marketing as a tactic or inconsequential add-on to a campaign. What works today is integrated thinking and integrated execution. Use influencer marketing with purpose and based on insight so that it can add value to the over-arching campaign.

Drop the one-size-fits-all mentality

Influencer marketing succeeds in myriad ways for myriad reasons. As complex and varied as our personal human relationships are, so too are the relationships we have with influencers.

Identify the right influencer

This is key. Even more important is knowing how reliable they are when it comes to output, how ‘safe’ they are for the brand and where they are in their own product life cycle – are they growing in influence, stable or declining?

Always profile the audience

We engage an influencer because of the influence she or he has over others. Who those others are is paramount to the success of the campaign because it informs the idea, the tone, the treatment and the mechanics.

Unpack and clarify the ‘why’

Understanding why you have opted to utilise influencer marketing is vital because this has a direct impact on his or her role and output. For example, if the ‘why’ is to drive sales, the influencer’s outputs would be markedly different to those if the objective is to build awareness. Consider the influencer’s role and output for the following as a start; you may add others as you spend more time using influencer marketing:

  • Awareness (know about something to tell others about).
  • Attendance (be somewhere to get people somewhere).
  • Creation (create or co-create a form of content, experience, product or brand).
  • Credibility (change a brand perception or build brand equity).
  • Endorsement (advocate, align and become an ambassador).
  • Sales (drive direct purchase).

Understand reach and how to measure it

While reach has become a generic term for awareness, it specifically speaks to the volume, depth or distance that any of the above objectives achieve. How much awareness is created? How much credibility is spread? How many sales are achieved? The metrics used to measure these include EMV, impressions, mentions, share of voice, engagement, CPM, CPE, sales figures and attendance etc. These should always be linked back to the objectives of the campaign.