Influencer Marketing Manager Must-Haves: Influencer Management Tools & More
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How to win in today's creator economy
Influencer marketing managers are the pillars of an industry that reached a nearly $14 billion global market size in 2021.
Picking the right manager is as essential as choosing the right creators to represent your brand. And by supplying your manager with the tools and resources necessary to scale and optimize a program, you can put your brand in a prime position to become the next household name everyone is talking about.
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What does an influencer marketing manager do?
The influencer marketing manager is responsible for managing a team of creators on behalf of a brand. The manager oversees influencer recruitment, influencer relationship management (IRM), and reporting.
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 marketing managers do everything an influencer program requires and relies heavily on influencer management software and automation tools to do the work of an entire staff.
Influencer managers with an entire 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.
How does the influencer marketing 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 must partner with their peers effectively.
Influencer managers need to:
Know 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 with minimal overlap. Without an in-depth knowledge of one’s marketing role, influencer relations managers may unintentionally fall short of expectations or step “outside their lane.”
Coordinate efforts with other members of the marketing team
Once a brand establishes clear roles within the marketing team, influencer marketing campaigns can harmonize 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.
8 things every successful influencer marketing manager does
1. Knows their audience
The average marketer doesn’t understand their audience as well as a successful creator in the same niche. Influencers relate remarkably well with their audience since they are seen as experts in their field and have taken the time to develop a genuine connection and a trustworthy reputation with their followers.
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 find the right influencers for their brand. Partnering with influencers that serve the wrong audience produces poor results.
2. Defines clear goals and objectives
Defining campaign objectives is the most critical step an influencer marketing manager takes before launching a campaign.
There are typically several (or dozens) of individual influencer marketing campaigns within a single influencer program. Each campaign should meet a particular objective.
Influencer marketing managers usually consider one or more of the following goals:
- Brand awareness
- Brand website SEO
- User-generated content
- User feedback
Clear campaign goals dictate which influencers to hire and determine the overall success of the influencer marketing campaign.
3. Chooses the right creators
“Popular” creators don’t always generate authentic engagement, and even authentic influencers won’t always be the right partners for your brand.
An influencer marketing manager weighs the following factors when recruiting the right influencer to collaborate with.
There are four types of influencers:
- Nano: 1,000-10,000 active followers
- Micro: 10,000-100,000 active followers
- Macro: 100,000-1 million active followers
- Celebrity: 1 million+ active followers
Often, influencers with smaller audiences have higher engagement than those with larger audiences. These creators are also perfect for dialing in on niche audiences and advertising to a specific group of target consumers.
Many influencer marketing managers prefer the micro influencer space since it represents an excellent combination of affordable content with meaningful engagement. But there may be situations that merit spending 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 creators to the surface.
Influencer marketing only works when creators have an authentic voice with their audience. Trust is critical between influencers and their followers.
Unfortunately, many creators try to manufacture engagement metrics (vanity metrics) to deceive brands looking to hire influencers. To get the most out of their influencer marketing campaigns, influencer marketing managers must distinguish these vanity metrics from accurate engagement metrics.
Influencer marketing managers must look for meaningful interactions across a creator’s social media channels. These include comments, user-generated content (UGC), post shares, and influencer link click-through rates (CTR).
Without the right tools, influencer marketing managers must calculate influencer engagement rates manually:
(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 brands 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.
4. Nails their influencer outreach
Before starting your influencer outreach, you need to make yourself visible to the influencers you’ve identified. This step ensures that you familiarize yourself with them and start building relationships.
You also need to work on the pitch you’ll use in your influencer outreach strategy. The most important questions you need to ask yourself while working on your pitch are:
- What do you want to achieve from this campaign? Maybe a 10% increase in followers or a 5% increase in website traffic?
- What are you offering your influencers? Money, free product or service, or commission on sales?
While working on your pitch, start putting yourself on the radar of these influencers. Engage with their content on social media. Leave meaningful comments that are genuine and share their content on your social channels. Make an effort to show that you are genuinely interested in them and appreciate their work.
Once you feel that your influencers know your presence, you can start sending your outreach emails. Make sure to write a personalized email that is authentic and genuine. Your outreach email should include the following:
- A subject line that catches their attention and makes them interested in reading the email
- Make it personal by talking about how you found them and why you like their content
- Why you’re reaching out to them
- What kind of benefits you can offer them, both monetary and non-monetary
- A clear call to action at the end of your outreach email
Remember, many creators are busy people, and there is always a chance that your outreach emails get lost in their inbox. Don’t give up if you don’t receive a response after your first email. Wait a couple of days and send a follow-up message or try sending them a DM on their social channel of choice.
5. Manages expectations
As an influencer partnership takes shape, the influencer marketing manager must work with the influencer to ensure 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 have all contracts in place to protect both the brand and the influencer.
6. Nurtures relationships with top creators
The influencer marketing manager’s biggest responsibility is to manage creator relationships.
Influencers run a business, but they are also people who 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 than retaining them. Successful influencer managers make their creators 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.
7. Tracks results
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. Clear metrics reporting also informs brand decision-makers on tweaking budgets and selecting the best projects.
8. Improves processes when needed
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.
After each campaign, influencer managers should decide how they can:
Increase 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 can make slight adjustments and enhance those results. Positive results let the influencer and manager know they’re heading in the right direction. Campaign iteration allows both parties to work together to achieve even better results over time.
Troubleshoot disappointing results
Not every influencer will be equally successful. When a creator demonstrates poor results, it’s the manager’s job to work with them to diagnose the problem.
Sometimes a campaign brief isn’t clear enough. Other times, the messaging is inauthentic to the influencer’s audience. Many influencer marketing managers can identify the issue and relaunch a campaign differently.
Unfortunately, some influencers will not be a good fit for your brand.
Influencer marketing managers must know when it’s time to end an influencer relationship. And when letting go of an influencer is necessary, managers should do so with class and professionalism.
Recruit 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 do this better with the help of influencer marketing software that provides influencer lists and engagement metrics. The influencer marketing manager can construct a dynamic and expanding program with each new successful campaign.
Best influencer management tools for your marketing team
For new influencer managers
New influencer managers are in a great spot to put some healthy habits into place to properly manage their budding influencer community. Here are some essential manual tools you’ll need if you’re just getting started:
- Spreadsheets. Whether Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, most of your influencer management will exist within a spreadsheet.
- Email. To properly collaborate with your creators, you’ll need to maintain regular communication with them, as well as a basic suite of email management tools.
- Storage. You’ll want to download or screenshot influencer content during campaigns and upload them onto a secure cloud drive. Additionally, you’ll want to organize your content library by the creator, campaign, post style, and more.
- Payment services. If you’re paying your influencers commissions or flat rates, you’ll need a good system for sending prompt payments electronically.
- eSignature tool. Creator contracts are critical for establishing accountability, content rights, and more.
- Social listening. Some social media platforms give you basic social listening, such as notifications when someone tags your brand. But if you want to catch more UGC online, you may want to look at a few low-cost social listening tools.
- Fulfillment tracking. If you’re like most influencer marketers, you send a lot of products to your creators. Using your ecommerce platform, you’ll need to develop a robust process for tracking which influencer chose what product, updating that inventory, and then sending that product out promptly.
For established influencer managers
As you scale your influencer program, you need software that allows you to ditch the spreadsheets, so you have more time to nurture relationships with your influencer team and new prospects. This software should also give you access to everything you need to plan, execute, and measure your influencer marketing campaigns all in one place.
The best influencer marketing software should include:
- Influencer management support. Your top influencer marketing tool is whatever platform you’re using to manage your influencer relationships and campaigns.
- Creator discovery and recruitment. Nine times out of 10, the quality of your influencer program comes down to the quality of influencers you partner with.
- Campaign management. Launching an influencer marketing campaign requires various workflow and project management tools to stay organized from start to finish.
- Creator content library. When your creators post for a campaign, you’ll need a system for downloading, saving, or taking a screenshot of each post.
- Digital contracts and esignatures. Paper contracts aren’t feasible anymore. You’ll need a way to send, negotiate, and sign agreements digitally.
- Ecommerce integrations. Whatever ecommerce platform you’ve chosen for your brand, you’ll need to integrate inventory, selling, and fulfillment with your influencer campaigns.
- Communication tools. Depending on your program size, you may have too many influencers to email them individually for every task in every campaign.
- Workflow and project management. Productivity tools make it easier for you and your team to oversee workflow, timelines, and milestones.
- Performance tracking & influencer reporting. Once you’re overseeing multiple campaigns and a handful of influencers, you’re going to need a tool that gathers your performance metrics for you.
Influencer marketing managers have a difficult job. There are thousands of details —all vitally important—that managers must keep organized. Robust software solutions 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.
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