Growth Through Influencer Marketing: The Why and How for 2021

Ashley Carrow

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that messages people internally identify with tend to be shared far and wide. We want to amplify the voices we agree with, and influencers act as lightning rods for this viral mood affiliation. We sat down with James Creech for the nitty gritty of influencer marketing, why it works, and using it the right way.

James is the founder and CEO of Paladin Software, a company that provides an influencer management platform for agencies, media companies, account managers and creative networks. They tap into social platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Twitch and TikTok, and help brands with things like influencer discovery, managing influencer relationships and tracking campaigns.

In the past several decades, content distribution was controlled by massive corporations, whether through TV, film, radio or print. The dawn of social media brought about the concept of anyone – literally, anyone – being able to be a content creator. Through a rich media format like video, we’re able to engage in 2-way communication like never before with a self-built audience. Furthermore, we’re able to monetize that fan-base as we see fit.

If you’re wondering why you should be focusing on influencer marketing in 2021:

  • It works! Younger audiences, and even older generations, are growing more resistant to interruptive ad formats than ever before. When done right, influencer marketing weaves the promotional content right into native messaging. The power of an ad creative that wouldn’t exist without the brand supporting the influencer is uncanny. Audiences recognize that and are more receptive to the message.
  • With traditional production at a standstill for many due to health and safety concerns, influencer marketing offers a unique solution. Influencers are typically shooting their own content in the safety and privacy of their own homes, using their own equipment, which conveniently takes logistics out of the equation. As a result, we are seeing advertisers shifting more and more spend to influencer marketing.

James suggested strategies for using influencer marketing as leverage for your brand’s growth:

  • Make sure to do your homework. Define your end goal and work backwards from there. Which platforms is your ideal customer spending their time on? Who are the people they already trust? What type of content are they used to engaging with? Once you know these answers, ask yourself if you will be able to reflect upon them in the content you will create with your influencers.
  • Consider coloring outside the lines. James says that finding an influencer who is aligned with your brand is a blend of art and science. There is plenty of data and technology that can be leveraged, however, a human understanding is paramount. Relying only on the data is likely to send your message to a saturated market, so it may be to your advantage to think outside the box.

    Collaborations between a relatively specialized influencer and a brand whose focus is a bit outside of their “specialty” can result in a refreshing message for an audience that isn’t overly inundated by messaging from the brand’s vertical. For example, if you run a skin care brand, you may be able to reach your audience through an athletic influencer rather than someone that’s typically touting health and beauty trends. Athletes need skin care, too!  
  • Performance is key. When social platforms first emerged, the robust analytics we have today simply didn’t exist. Nowadays, it’s imperative to measure and optimize influencer marketing performance just as you would with any other form of ad spend.

    Using software like Paladin’s, you can easily monitor data in real time so you know what is working well and where there is room for improvement. It’s particularly important to be sharing this data with the influencer and working with them to improve and reiterate if necessary, especially if their compensation is tied to the performance.

Looking for more performance tips? Check out our tips for driving performance in the Age of Influence.

The social platforms we know and love open up endless opportunities for brands to connect with consumers and build meaningful relationships. Based on the swift evolution of influencer marketing, these platforms will continue to iterate on their capabilities, opening up opportunities for brands to amplify their messages. Utilizing tools like Paladin’s platform and the many other influencer marketing resources discussed in this chat, could end up being the secret to making your brand shine in 2021!

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