Influencer Marketing automation became a growing trend in 2017 but we predict it to come to an end in 2018. The careless automation of influencer marketing often makes your brand and influencers come across as unauthentic. Sponsored content must be organic to the influencer or Chromo-Influencer® you are working with.
Aspects of marketing automation can work well when operating your own social media accounts. But, it is far from satisfactory when working with influencers. To work with influencers successfully, it is best to build genuine relationships or to collaborate with an influencer marketing agency that already has the relationships, expertise, and experience in working with thousands of influencers.
Influencer marketing continues to grow and thrive. More and more brands are increasing their influencer budgets. Therefore, you need to stand out from your competitors, who may also be wooing the same influencer. Any hint of marketing automation in this initial relationship-building stage is unlikely to help your case. As we’ve mentioned in the past you really need to motivate your influencers.
You also need to ensure that the social media influencers you collaborate with are genuinely influential. Despite what people say, current software algorithms are not yet capable of spotting who the fakers are. As a result, it’s important to be wary of the potential risks of relying on data and marketing automation.
The Evolution of Influencer Marketing Automation
Brands and even some well-established agencies attempting to carry out influencer marketing have found it challenging and very time-consuming. They saw it as labour-intensive and did not have the necessary experience to carry them out efficiently. As a result, many opted to outsource their influencer marketing initiatives to the experts. At PMYB, we’ve experienced many brands approach us in last-minute situations – They’ve attempted to carry out their own influencer marketing campaigns only to go on to discover the intense work-load, required processes, care and experience that goes into collaborating with the most sought-after social media influencers in their respective industries.
As more brands realised the efforts associated with influencers, many attempted to automate the majority of the processes involved in opting influencer marketing automation. They thought they had solved their initial problem with this new approach. They were under the impression that influencer marketing would be so easy for them to carry out. Brands felt that all they would have to do is create a brief and send to a selection of influencers to produce their content. However, it is never so simple – Influencers are people at the end of the day. Not a digital ad you can simply turn on and off at the switch of a button.
Of course, life is not as simple as that. Some firms have quickly gone from being unable to name an influencer, to possessing a list containing the names and statistics of 5,000 or more potential influencers. Yet, without the personal, human touch, how do you know who on that list of 5,000 names is genuinely influential with their audience? And how do you know the audience is even legitimate, with the amount of fake follower / fake engagement services plaguing the internet.
You can read about how Instagram is working hard to eradicate these services here.
Some Platforms Still Consider Marketing Automation to be the Panacea to Influencer Marketing
Marketing automation does have a place in parts of the influencer marketing process. There are many repetitive tasks that brands have to go through when operating an influencer marketing campaign. But, it is easy to take your marketing automation too far. Influencer selection is one of those areas that most need a personal touch. Relying on automated influencer selection can be a recipe for disaster.
There is a real danger that a brand that relies on an algorithm to spit out hundreds or thousands of potential influencers may not receive the same results.
In recent years there has been a burst of startups arriving on the scene, proclaiming that they will change the industry with their revolutionary new software that identifies thousands of influencers. Yet, while influencer marketing has flourished over the last few years, this is not due to the existence of proprietary software algorithms. It is because brands and agencies have identified the influencers that are actually making consumers buy their product, download their app, click their link or learn their story.
For influencer marketing, the focus should never be on software. It needs to be on the people.
Copy and Paste Influencer Marketing
Copy and paste influencer marketing has all the authenticity of a used car salesman. It comes across as a “fill in the numbers” campaign.
Sure it saves time and “streamlines” the process, but it is not a good practice. On many occasions, both influencers and brands have part-taken in lazy copy and paste influencer marketing. For example, some brands have suggested making numerous influencers post the same content, with little thought in order to same time. However, the most effective influencer marketing strategies base content around the individual influencer. Doing so allows any content to come across as organic to the channel of the influencer, in question.
Also, there are times where influencers collaborate with several clients within a specific niche. Due to this, they seek to save time by reusing content with minor modification. Audiences see past the copy and paste culture that has entered influencer marketing. Despite what people may tell you, creativity is key when it comes to influencer marketing.
Uncreative, repetitive, recycled content ends up being less engaged and never performs as well as genuine fresh material that fits the channel of the influencer being utilised.
Scott Disick – When Copy and Paste Influencer Marketing goes wrong
An example of poor influencer marketing automation features US television reality star, Scott Disick. He is the father of Kourtney Kardashian’s three children and has appeared in various reality television programmes.
In 2016 he was paid to take part in an influencer marketing campaign for Boo Tea Shake. He issued an Instagram post endorsing the product. The problem was that he copy and pasted the post – the entire post, instructions and all!
His post read, “Here you go, at 4 pm est, write the below. Caption: “Keeping up with the summer workout routine with my morning @booteauk protein shake!”
Now, that is a blatant example of taking influencer marketing automation too far! It breaks rule number one of influencer marketing, which is influencer authenticity.
Social Media Networks Are Not Fans of Marketing Automation
Several of the social networks have made it clear that they consider certain aspects of marketing automation to breaking their rules.
Both Instagram, and its big brother, Facebook, have changed their algorithms in recent years to discourage what they see as less productive posts. We recently discussed the Facebook changes and how influencers can work within their guidelines.
At the same time that Instagram tightened up its algorithm, it changed its API. It banned bots from crawling Instagram to gather information about its users. This caused many spy-apps to close down overnight with the loss of their business model.
One of the most high profile cases involved Instagress, which was one of the casualties of Instagram’s purge. These self-confessed ‘influencers’ used Instagress to cheat the system and build their fame.
Sad news to all of you who fell in love with Instagress: by request of Instagram we’ve closed our web-service that helped you so much. pic.twitter.com/sIRYfFVywX
— Instagress (@instagress) April 20, 2017
These influencers’ follower and engagement statistics looked fantastic. They could provide plenty of “evidence” to show they were popular. The problem was that the engagement they generated was fake or automated. They were not building real relationships with their audiences.
While these people appeared influential on paper, and some of the automated systems would have selected them as influencers, the problem is that they were not prominent online. They had no real followers to influence.
Instagram’s changes made it more difficult for influencers to automate their accounts, however many influencers are still finding new ways of doing so. Some companies who peddle automation solutions have attempted to come up with workarounds, but you must wonder about the veracity of their results.
When is Influencer Marketing Automation Problematic?
On the surface, influencer marketing automation appeared to the solution to the brands’ problems. And at times it has made an impossible situation manageable.
Organic influencer marketing isn’t as straightforward as many have thought. You need to build up genuine and authentic relationships with genuinely influential influencers. If not, you’re not going to optimise your potential ROI.
Yet, a wholly automated marketing process comes across as inhumane and lacking the critical element of influencer marketing – relationship building. Additionally, simply relying on identification software’s is not the way to carry out a successful influencer marketing campaign. Also, relying on a poor vetting influencer evaluation process is something that holds many brands back.
At PMYB, we don’t simply delve into our network of influencers and that is why every brand is excited by our Chromo-Influencer® solution. Each influencer we propose to our clients is evaluated against 46 important data-points that we have found to contribute to sales. We utilise the top 3% of influencers, who we have found are likely to be 4 times more effective than the other 97%, on average. We do the hard yards of influencer identification, analysis, and management for you.
By all means, use marketing automation for some of the nut and bolts repetitive parts of running a campaign. But, do be cautious when it comes to streamlining delicate parts of your influencer marketing campaigns.
For more information on how we run or influencer marketing campaigns, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our talented team.Campaign Enquiry