Last year, influencer marketing was an $8 billion industry. Experts predict it to reach $10 billion before the end of 2020 and $15 billion by 2022 (Business Insider).
As the industry continues to soar, agencies and brands are looking desperately for qualified influencer marketing managers.
Who is an Influencer Marketing Manager?
The influencer marketing manager is responsible for managing a team of influencers on behalf of a brand.
Whether managing influencers in an agency role or as a brand employee, an influencer marketing manager oversees influencer recruitment, influencer relationship management (IRM), and reporting.
What Does an Influencer Relations Manager Do?
Depending upon the size of the marketing program, managers might act as a one-person department or lead a handful of influencer marketing specialists.
As a one-person department, influencer relations managers do everything required in an influencer program.
A manager without a staff relies heavily upon influencer management software to do the work of an influencer marketing staff. With intuitive and all-encompassing software platforms like GRIN, successfully managing a one-person department is plausible.
In contrast, influencer relations managers with a staff can scale their influencer program using spreadsheets or traditional CRMs. In the end, this approach tends to be more expensive, since manually calculating and tracking influencer metrics requires significant work hours.
Either way, the influencer marketing manager’s job is a challenging one. Skilled influencer relations managers can be instrumental in doubling and tripling a brand’s profits in a rapid time frame (check out our GRIN case study with Trifecta Nutrition).
How Does an Influencer Relations Manager Fit Within a Larger Marketing Team?
An influencer marketing program typically falls within a broader marketing strategy.
For example, a brand’s SEO department might work with the influencer marketing manager to produce more quality backlinks and web traffic.
Direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands often juggle several marketing approaches for a healthy marketing mix. As such, influencer relations managers need to know how to partner with their peers.
Knowing the Influencer Marketing Role in the Greater Marketing Strategy
An organization’s marketing strategy must set clear objectives for the influencer marketing manager.
Each member of a larger marketing team should have a specific role where the overlap is minimal. Without an in-depth knowledge of one’s marketing role, influencer relations managers may unintentionally fall short of expectations or step “outside their lane.”
Coordinating Efforts with Other Members of the Marketing Team
Once marketing roles are clear, influencer marketing campaigns can work in harmony with other marketing efforts.
A general marketing rule of thumb is that coordinated marketing efforts increase the potency of all marketing ventures.
Experienced influencer marketing managers “get this” and strive to focus on the right objectives with a collaborative spirit.
As influencer marketing campaigns run their course, the influencer marketing manager monitors results and must be able to:
- Focus on the right influencer analytics
- Match those analytics to the brand’s marketing objectives
- Define influencer marketing ROI in more relevant terms than mere dollars and cents
- Credit the right influencers for their respective sales for reporting and scale purposes
Accurate results tracking helps the marketing department head see the benefits of influencer marketing. Further, clear metrics reporting informs brand decision-makers on how to tweak budgets and select the best projects.
Everything You Need to Know About the Influencer Marketing Manager Role
The details of an influencer marketing manager’s role could fill a book. Influencer marketing management is as successful as it is complex.
Still, many aspire to the role of influencer marketing manager for a good reason. Influencers can connect with an audience in a way that traditional marketing can’t. Further, the market for skilled influencer marketers is growing fast.
Knowing the Audience
Likely, the average marketer cannot understand their audience as well as a successful influencer. Influencers can relate remarkably well with their audience, since they represent the role of celebrity (even as micro-influencers), have an authentic voice, and earn trust as a fellow-consumer.
Regardless, the influencer marketing manager must do their best to know the make-up of their ideal customers. They may create customer bios/profiles and build case studies to “walk in the shoes of their customers.”
Without this knowledge, the influencer marketing manager will not be able to find the right influencers for their brand. Partnering with influencers that serve the wrong audience will produce mediocre results.
Understanding the Role of Influencers
Part of understanding the role of an influencer is knowing what kind of influencer they are and the benefits that each type holds within your industry. Influencers exist to promote your brand in their voice. The relationship between you and your influencers must be nothing less than collaborative.
Successful influencer marketing managers are respectful and transparent with their influencers. They recognize that it is a business partnership. The worst thing that an influencer marketing manager can do is to micromanage their influencers.
Influencers are successful in curating their digital community because of the creative decisions they’ve made. Influencer relations managers know this and respect the influencer’s process.
Setting Clear Objectives
After knowing their audience and understanding the role of influencers, influencer marketing managers define their campaign objectives.
Within a single influencer program, there are typically several (or dozens) of individual influencer marketing campaigns. Each campaign should meet a particular objective.
Influencer marketing managers are often concerned with one or more of the following goals:
- Brand awareness
- Brand website SEO
- User-generated content
- User feedback
Choosing the Right Industry Influencers
Just because a social media personality technically meets the criteria of an influencer doesn’t mean that they generate authentic engagement. Also, an influencer with great engagement metrics doesn’t necessarily make them right for your brand.
An influencer marketing manager weighs the following factors when recruiting influencers.
There are generally three types of influencers.
- Nano – 1,000-10,000 active followers
- Micro – 10,000-100,000 active followers
- Macro – 100,000+ active followers
Often, influencers with smaller audiences have higher engagement than those with larger audiences. That said, 23% engagement for a nano influencer with 5,000 followers only means 1,150 prospects, while a macro influencer’s 5% engagement rate across 150,000 followers can mean 7,500 prospects.
Also, influencer marketing managers must consider the cost. Nano and micro-influencers cost significantly less than macro-influencers.
Many influencer marketing managers prefer the micro-influencer space since it represents an excellent combination of affordable, meaningful engagement from a decently sized audience. However, many situations – such as time constraints – merit spending the bigger bucks on broader audiences.
Instagram recently identified the influx of fake influencers and took steps to promote authentic engagement metrics. Influencer marketing managers can appreciate Instagram’s decision to remove like and follower counts for the public eye since it forces real influencers to the surface.
Influencer marketing only works when influencers have an authentic voice with their audience. Trust is critical between an influencer and their followers.
Unfortunately, many influencers try to manufacture engagement metrics (these are known as vanity metrics) to deceive brands looking to hire influencers. Influencer marketing managers must be able to distinguish these vanity metrics from accurate engagement metrics.
When it comes to measuring an influencer’s engagement, influencer marketing managers must look for meaningful interactions across an influencer’s social media channels. These include comments, user-generated content, post shares, and influencer link click-thru rates (CTR).
If an influencer marketing manager lacks the right influencer management tools, they must calculate influencer engagement rates manually as follows:
Relevant Post Comments + Post Shares + Post Link Clicks / Number of Followers
Influencer marketing managers carefully compare influencer engagement rates within their industry. The goal is to nurture a list of the best influencers in a particular market.
The last consideration for influencer marketing managers seeking to acquire the top industry influencers is to pay attention to the influencer’s voice.
An influencer must be compatible with the brand(s) they choose to promote. An organization should not compromise its branding for an influencer with great engagement metrics. Additionally, experienced influencers will not alter their voice to do business with a brand.
Influencer marketing managers look for synergy between their brand and their influencers.
Overseeing Influencer Outreach
After identifying the right influencers, the manager initiates contact with the influencer with an email introduction.
Influencer outreach often involves making a request for influencer content in the form of:
- Product reviews (video or written)
- Product endorsements or giveaways
- Sponsored social media posts
- Guest blogs
It is ultimately the influencer marketing manager’s job to make a partnership request clear. This approach gives the influencer an idea of what will be expected of them.
As an influencer partnership takes shape, the influencer marketing manager must work with the influencer to make sure that both parties are on the same page.
The manager creates the influencer campaign brief that outlines:
- A campaign summary
- A complete description of campaign objectives and the influencer’s content deliverables
- An understanding of the substance for each content deliverable
- A content publication timeline/schedule
Lastly, the influencer marketing manager should make sure to have all contracts in place to protect both the brand and the influencer.
Once the campaign is ready for launch, the influencer marketing manager monitors the influencer’s results.
While it usually takes a few weeks for these results to become apparent, the influencer marketing manager monitors their influencer’s content for engagement metrics. As these metrics take shape, the manager will compare results to the campaign objectives.
Without the proper influencer software, results monitoring and tracking can be time-consuming. However, knowing the metrics is one of the most critical parts of an influencer marketing manager’s job.
More managers are finding better influencer marketing software solutions that can monitor and record results for them. These software solutions save the manager time so that they can scale their influencer program and meet their objectives faster.
Influencer Relationship Management
Without a doubt, the most significant responsibility of an influencer marketing manager is to manage influencer relationships.
Influencers run a business, but they are also people that choose to be vulnerable about their personal lives for the sake of your brand. Influencer relationship management (IRM) respects these two realities of influencer marketing for the sake of a long-term, collaborative partnership.
It is not sustainable to endure fallout with high-performing influencers since new influencer acquisition takes more time and effort than retaining those influencers. Influencer relations managers take steps to make their influencers feel valued and reduce turnover.
That said, not every influencer will provide what you need. Knowing when to keep and let go of influencers can be tricky.
Either way, IRM requires managers to keep track of who their influencers are, how they are doing, and ways in which influencer relationships may deepen for greater synergy and collaboration.
Improving the Influencer Marketing Process
Similar to software development, a process of ongoing improvement is critical for influencer marketing success. Debriefing after the end of a campaign and tweaking content in preparation for the next campaign allows influencer marketing managers to acquire better results over time.
Increasing Positive Results
When a manager notices an influencer’s success, they should engage the influencer to understand how and why the campaign was successful.
With the influencer’s help, the manager will be able to make slight adjustments and enhance those results. Positive results clue the influencer and the manager into the fact that they are headed in the right direction.
Campaign iteration allows both parties to work together to achieve even better results over time.
Troubleshooting Disappointing Results
Not every influencer will be equally successful.
When an influencer demonstrates poor results, it is the job of the influencer relations manager to work with the influencer and diagnose the problem.
Sometimes a campaign brief isn’t clear enough. Other times, the messaging is less than authentic to the influencer’s audience.
With some intentional effort, many influencer marketing managers can identify the issue and relaunch a campaign with a different approach. If the new method works, then the manager’s skill saved the influencer relationship.
Unfortunately, some influencers will not be a good fit for your brand.
Influencer marketing managers must be able to know when it’s time to end an influencer relationship. And when letting go of an influencer is necessary, managers can do so with class and professionalism.
Recruiting to “Fill in the Gaps”
When scaling an influencer program, influencer marketing managers look for new influencers to “fill in the gaps” among their current team of influencers.
Managers are better able to do this with the help of influencer marketing software that provides influencer lists and engagement metrics. With each new successful campaign, the influencer marketing manager can construct a dynamic and expanding program.
Influencer marketing managers have a difficult job. There are thousands of details – all vitally important – that managers must keep organized.
Today, robust IRM software solutions like GRIN streamline all influencer marketing manager duties into a single platform. Having the proper tools at a manager’s disposal ensures that no steps in the influencer marketing process fall through the cracks.
This article originally appeared in the Grin.co blog and has been published here with permission.