I wonder why brand marketers are still hesitant on influencer outreach. To me, it makes perfect sense. Sam Fiorella (@SamFiorella) wrote a great post about how influencer marketing will be the tipping point of social media ROI, and it really got me thinking – why aren’t the majority of brand marketers adding more influencers to their social media campaigns?

influencer outreach budgetThink of it this way – a brand builds a community and shares content with its audience. They keep sharing the same message to the exact same audience every time. How else will a brand reach a new audience on social without going towards social advertising? BINGO – Influencer marketing.

Communicating to consumers directly through an influencer creates a new channel, a new audience, a new voice, and a new message. If you’re not adding influencers in your social media campaigns, you’ll always be speaking to the same people. You’ll always be using the same voice. So unless you completely change your strategy, or you dive into new channels yourself, how do you expect to get ROI?

I wrote a post a while back about how you should add influencers to your social media campaigns. Technorati released a great report at the start of 2013 showing that after retail and brand websites, blogs are the most influential for consumer purchases. The best part is that the majority of influencers blog, and quite a few have multiple blogs!

So where’s the disconnect? Why are brand marketers only spending 6% of their social media budget on INFLUENCERS? (Brands spend about 10% of their digital marketing budget on social, with 6% of it dedicated to influencers). It’s shown to be effective and that consumers trust blogs more than social advertising and other networks. Influencers have a community that’s built on trust. When they recommend something to their community, people listen and trust them.

Why Are Marketers Still Hesitant?

So with all of this information, and this data pointing towards influencer marketing, why aren’t brand marketers doing more influencer outreach? Here’s what I think:

  • The market is still new. With every new idea, there needs to be an education process and adoption. Right now, there’s only a handful of brands/agencies that do influencer outreach. Until more budget is devoted, more case studies are written, and more brands are participating in outreach campaigns, the market will be limited.
  • Marketers don’t fully understand the power of the influencer. Influencers can be very powerful at moving messages across the social space. You don’t necessarily need a viral campaign or social advertising to reach a lot of people. With the right roster of influencers, you can reach a wide group of people, across different platforms at the same time, and spread an authentic message that leads back to your brand!
  • Brand marketers don’t see the ROI. Some marketers think that if you don’t see any direct impact (likes, twitter followers, etc.), you can’t measure ROI. The thing is, social media ROI is measurable, as long as you measure the right metrics. Earned media, customer lifetime value, conversions, and sales can all be tracked with different CRM and analytics tools, and influencer marketing can definitely drive people to the right places for social ROI.
  • It’s too complicated. Right now, most brand marketers and agencies do everything manually, from identifying influencers using tools like Radian6, to managing relationships, contracts, etc. It’s very time consuming – there’s a lot of planning involved, and often takes months until you can start a campaign. Luckily, we’re solving this problem at InNetwork.

We’re building a platform that will make it easy for you to identify influencers that can reach YOUR target audience. We also vet all influencers in our network to make sure they’re the best quality, and they have real audiences. We also have a campaign management tool that allows you to keep track of every influencer, all messages, all documents, etc., in one convenient place, saving you a ton of time in the planning phase of influencer outreach.

If you’re interested in learning more about what we can offer, don’t hesitate to contact us or start a 30-day free trial.

If you really want to learn more about influencer marketing, I would highly recommend you join Danny Brown (@dannybrown) and Sam Fiorella’s Google Plus community – it has tons of great info about how to do influencer marketing right!

What are your biggest struggles with influencer outreach? Why aren’t you increasing your influencer marketing budget, when data shows it’s effective? Please share with your colleagues, and leave a comment below!