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Expert Interview: Influencer Marketing is Not a Passing Fad

Shane Barker is no stranger to influencer marketing. He has witnessed the rise of the influencer economy and has consulted for influencers like four-time Mr. Olympia Jeremy Buendia. In this article, Barker shares his tips for getting involved with influencer marketing and setting your company up for a worthwhile investment.

When did you first hear about influencer marketing?

“I started doing influencer marketing before it was called influencer marketing. It was about four to five years ago when I was approached by Zoe Rodriguez, the owner of Zbody Fitness, as she that was selling a number of fitness ebooks through Instagram. Once my team was hired, wedid a total revamp of Zoe’s logo, ebook, website, sales funnel, social media strategy, email marketing, customer service, and her outreach program.”

How do you define influence? Does it vary by channel or industry?

“Influence, in my opinion, is the ability to engage an audience and sway them towards an opinion or a decision. It doesn’t vary by channel or industry because it all depends on the audience you’ve built and how engaged they are, not necessarily how massive of a following you have.”

What kind of skepticism do you face when talking to people about influencer marketing?

“Some people think that influencer marketing is just a passing fad and may no longer be applicable a few years down the line. I beg to differ because nothing can really replace authentic and engaging interactions with real people, which influencer marketing involves.”

Is influencer marketing ever not a good option for businesses?

“Absolutely. It really depends on your business, budget, and what your expectations are from the campaign. There are also certain types of businesses that have a proven traffic record of doing better than others.”

How do you determine whether an influencer is right for a brand, or vice versa?

“It really depends on what are the brands KPIs and what kind of campaign they want to create. Once we’ve established goals, my team can start doing our due diligence to find the right influencers.”

What should brands be prepared to invest at various stages of influencer marketing?

“If brands are carrying out a campaign on their own, there are two things I recommend. First, you should invest in a good influencer marketing tool that will show you the demographics, engagement rate, and brand infinities of an influencer. The tool should be helpful in the discovery, outreach, and tracking processes of the campaign. Second, I would recommend hiring an influencer marketing consultant as he or she can help you facilitate and advise on all aspects of the campaign. (And obviously, you company should be prepared to invest in compensation for influencers as well.)”

What are some influencer marketing courtesies or regulations that brands should be aware of?

“In addition to following FTC guidelines, brands should avoid being too restrictive with influencers. They should provide them with a few basic guidelines about what they need, and then let the influencers come up with the creative.”

How would you describe a healthy influencer relationship?

“A healthy influencer relationship would definitely be one in which the influencer genuinely loves the brand they’re promoting. Plus, there should be enough trust between the brand and the influencer to grant the influencer creative freedom. The overall goal should be to have a long-term relationship with the influencer and to grow together.”

What role do analytics and data play?

“Analytics are very important when it comes to picking the right influencer. If you aren’t working with the right influencer with the right audience, then your message doesn’t really matter.”
 
Need data on your influencers? Learn more about influencer discovery and ranking analytics.
 

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve ever learned regarding influencer marketing?

“The most important lesson that I’ve learned over the years is NOT to pick influencers just by the size of their following. As a brand, I would rather promote to 5,000 highly engaged followers than one million unengaged followers. Influencer marketing is a quality thing, not a quantity thing. It’s also important for brands to maintain a good relationship with influencers. Without this, promotional content may come off as unauthentic or uninspired.”

How do you see influencer marketing evolving in the next several years?

“Over the next few years, you’ll see more brands working with micro-influencers, whom they’ll sign like how a record label signs an artist—the big idea being that the micro-influencer and brand will develop content together and grow together. It’ll be about having a long-term relationship that can be a win-win for the brand and the influencer.”

Want more tips on influencer marketing? Check out Shane’s blog or tweet him at @shane_barker!

More on Influencer Marketing

 

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