Influencer marketing provides brands an opportunity for hyper-connected content producers to promote their products in a meaningful way, helping the brand to stand out, build awareness and grow. Yet brands considering influencer partnerships need to be prepared, as it is very easy to make missteps along the way.

New research from influencer and entertainment content marketing consultancy Hollywood Branded examines the current state of influencer marketing., providing brands and their agencies an in-depth analysis and direct feedback of what influencers think of today’s brand partnerships, along with their beliefs of the best practices needed for impactful brand results and long-term relationships.

The findings showcase that there is tremendous room for improvement within the industry by actions brand and agency marketers can easily take

From finding the right influencers, managing communication to ensure the end goal result is obtained, making sure the messaging is authentic and on point to a targeted audience, to negotiating compensation, measuring campaign success, and building long term partnerships—brands and their agencies risk losing considerable money and investment if they don’t have the right knowledge to make success happen.

The survey was designed to explore the current landscape of influencer marketing, how this relatively new marketing strategy has changed and matured, and provide insight into what practices to avoid, and which to build upon.

Influencers overwhelmingly reported feeling that the marketing practice is less authentic, more competitive—and that brands are demanding more work for less money

Influencers’ biggest frustrations were based on limited campaign budgets, slow communication with the brand, and a lack of creative flexibility provided to the influencer.

“Leveraging influencers to impact their own fan base with content they have created will become a required marketing strategy and brand awareness building block for every brand,” said Stacy Jones, CEO of Hollywood Branded, in a news release. “Influencer marketing offers brands a tremendous opportunity to target niche audiences to build awareness, engagement and trust. However, as reported by our study’s participants, and experienced by our agency in daily practice, influencer marketing is hampered in large part due to the lack of standardized communication practices, brand mindsets not open to allowing influencers creative decision making, and the inaccurate expectation that influencer marketing will immediately result in sales.”

Results show that brands need to be aware that social influencer campaigns are viewed by influencers as brand awareness builders, not direct response sales drivers

Survey statistics illustrate this fact as 61 percent of influencers measure success through fan engagement, 21 percent through product inquiry or comments and only 5% by sales.

Key influencer findings from the survey include:

  • 71 percent think labeling a post as #sponsored or #paid does not affect the authenticity of their post.
  • 52 percent use content creation on social platforms and blogging as their main source of income.
  • 83 percent will not work for a percentage of sales as their only form of compensation.
  • 47 percent have set payment rates, while 36% provide payments based on scope of work.
  • Brands who depend strictly on using influencer discovery platforms are missing out on the 53 percent of influencers who do not use those platforms. Influencers cited concerns around discovery platforms about prompt platform payment, inability to create long-term relationships and opportunities that are not organic fits as their main objections to utilization. Typical connection is reported as occurring through established relationships, direct message or referrals.
  • The largest categories for brand partnership opportunities are with lifestyle, travel, parenting, food, fitness, DIY, home design, technology and beauty & makeup influencers.

Findings further highlight that influencer marketing has continued to grow and solidify itself as a major marketing strategy for brands and marketers alike

However, influencers’ overwhelming consensus is that there is immense room for further growth based on an apparent lack of understanding between what brands and influencer are looking for from one another. The survey results suggest that communication and budget are the primary focal points for many of the frustrations that brands and influencers have with one another, and that standards need to be set. Influencers state they feel as though brands don’t properly communicate their goals from the beginning nor maintain streamlined communication throughout the campaign, often leading to a failed campaign.

Get more information about the report here.

The report was created after interviewing over 650 influencer participants. The influencer feedback and comments included in the report offer a detailed understanding of the industry and additionally provides over 300 tips and insider advice on how brand marketers can better partner with social media influencers to create impactful campaigns which will resonate with consumers.

Influencers speak out: Best brand practices for impactful campaign results

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