With The Social Shake-Up virtual show on the horizon, we’re giving readers and soon-to-be attendees a chance to know this year’s speaker roster. The Social Shake-Up cast is composed of marketing and communication professionals who manage social media messaging at top brands and nonprofits, from AAA to UPPAbaby.
In this interview, we introduce brand strategist Tracey Del Moral, who will be part of a panel on influencer marketing. For a deep dive into social media content creation, strategy and measurement, register today for The Social Shake-Up, which runs Sept. 22-23 (workshops) and Sept. 29-Oct. 1 (sessions and keynotes).
PRNEWS: You're speaking on our influencer-focused panel. What are some trends you're seeing in influencer marketing over the course of the tumultuous year we've had?
Now more than ever, there’s a desire for authentic, unfiltered and unscripted content from influencers. People are seeking relatable content rooted in real life that embraces imperfection, speaks to today’s challenging issues and provides levity and humor.
There is also a trend in brands paying tribute to the “everyday influencer/hero." Brands are looking inward and celebrating their employees, customers, frontline workers and caregivers in a way that has never been done before. It’s a refreshing change that has really been accelerated by the challenging year we’ve had.
PRNEWS: You've previously worked at OshKosh B'gosh but are now flying solo as a brand strategist. How have previous campaigns informed your approach today?
When I launched the influencer program for OshKosh back in 2014, it was important that diversity and inclusion was a priority in our influencer partnerships. It was essential for us to partner with real, relatable people and their families that created and shared content that our customers could genuinely connect with.
As I look to the future, it’s critical that brands embrace diversity and inclusion not only in their influencer partnerships but as part of the brand’s DNA. Given the recent tragic events, people are expecting brands to go beyond a one-time social post saying the “right thing” and really embrace social consciousness. The expectation is that brands dig deeper and include underrepresented communities in their advertising and partnerships.
Additionally, brands are being challenged to share how they are going to make D&I part of the organization’s culture and marketing efforts going forward. People are actively looking for brands who celebrate who they are as individuals and are turning away from a “one size fits all” approach.
PRNEWS: What do you think are the biggest mistakes brands make when partnering with influencers?
It’s really important to identify KPIs upfront and define what success looks like. By defining the goal of the campaign (i.e. awareness vs. conversion) and understanding which metrics support those goals (i.e. impressions vs. clicks), brands are better equipped. Identifying success metrics before activating a campaign will ensure that brands partner with the right influencers and collect the right data to accurately measure results.
Another challenge brands face is influencer selection–partnering with the right influencers to support campaign goals. Brands want to ensure that they select influencers that reflect the brand’s values, are trusted advocates, have relatable experience and access to the audiences brands are seeking. The influencers brands partner with are a representation of the brand, so it’s imperative that brands choose wisely by spending time doing research to ensure alignment.
PRNEWS: Influencer price tags can get pretty high. What's your advice for brands that are struggling with slashed budgets that still want to invest in influencer campaigns?
Influencer marketing continues to be essential in connecting brands to audiences now more than ever. As brands are re-assessing marketing budgets and channel effectiveness, they are being asked to do more with less. It’s crucial that as they build their campaigns, they can prove ROI.
However, I challenge brands to rethink their influencer strategy before assuming they need to partner with influencers that have millions of followers or think they can’t have an influencer program at all.
Recently, brands are partnering with influencers in new ways that reach beyond the traditional partnership. Brands are working more with everyday influencers (micro), looking to their employees as influencers, partnering with influencers to create branded content and more. There are so many ways a brand can continue or start to partner with influencers that can be cost effective and still drive results.
PRNEWS: Is quid pro quo a plausible approach?
In terms of quid pro quo, it’s definitely not as common as it once used to be but it’s not unheard of. This can be a great opportunity for brands who have limited or no budget. However, it really depends on the brand; it’s important the partnership be mutually beneficial. As a brand, you should be willing to offer something of value to the influencer beyond the product/service they are promoting (i.e. content promotion, reposting, affiliate commission, etc.).
PRNEWS: Fraud is a concern when it comes to influencer selection. How do you spot the "real deals" from those with fake followers or inflated numbers?
It's really important to do initial research on influencers before partnering to avoid fraud or fake accounts. Some key things to look for are large spikes or declines in followers, follower-to-engagement ratio, engagement quality, spammy content and audience quality. You want to make sure you partner with influencers that have real influence over a real audience. Partnering with a fraudulent or fake account can have a negative impact on your brand, campaign and budget so it’s worthwhile to do some due diligence.