Social & Influencers

Make it personal: our takeaways from Perfecting Your Influencer IQ

Execs and creators talked authenticity, ROI, and being realistic.
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Jonathan Heisler for Morning Brew

3 min read

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In the influencer space, one word gets repeated a lot more than others.

“Take a shot every time we say ‘authenticity’ today; anytime anybody says ‘authenticity,’ at this point,” Lizzy Bilasano, VP, head of creative strategy at the agency Whalar, said onstage at Marketing Brew’s Perfecting Your Influencer IQ event in New York on Tuesday. “It’s become such a buzzword that I think it’s lost its meaning.”

Authenticity is indeed something that brand marketers often say they are looking for when working with influencers, but a successful influencer partnership can take a lot more. At the event, panelists had plenty of tips for marketers looking to meaningfully partner with influencers in a crowded and rapidly shifting landscape. We compiled a few of them below.

Personalize your briefs: One way for brands to stand out when reaching out to creators is to pay attention to their content, Kit Clementine Keenan, a creator who spoke at the event, said. As a creator, she said she appreciates when a brand goes beyond just sending her a brief on the sort of content it’s looking for. Recently, the oat-milk brand Planet Oat reached out to her to collaborate after seeing posts about coffee recipes on her account, which she cited as one example of a brand paying attention.

Dive into the data: It’s crucial for those in the influencer marketing space to keep tabs on what is current and trending online, Melissa Dunn, EVP, marketing and communications at consumer insights platform Suzy, said onstage.There are tools that can help companies track search-term data and other information, but there’s also a ton of data to be gleaned from influencers and customers, she said.

“We had a really big alcohol brand testing celebrity ambassadors and really talking to current customers as well as prospective customers, to say, ‘Is this the type of celebrity that I want?’” she said.

Manage expectations: Perhaps going against conventional belief, Hitakshi Shah, global influencer marketing manager at Duolingo, said that influencer posts shouldn’t necessarily convert to sales right away. In her own job, Shah uses influencer content to help build a fanbase for Duolingo, but she said the brand focuses more on entertaining potential customers than trying to track immediate returns.

Christopher Douglas, senior manager of strategy at the agency Billion Dollar Boy, said onstage that, when talking to brands about how to measure virality and success, he often emphasizes the importance of having clear goals.

“We’re not delusional girlies here,” Douglas said.

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Marketing Brew informs marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech via our weekday newsletter, virtual events, marketing conferences, and digital guides.