In the age of our social media-driven society, influencers have become the new kings of marketing. With an organic and personalized approach to consumerism, the influencer trend has carved out its own innovative and fast-growing space within the advertising world. While some are still wary and confused about the future of business in conjunction with social media, there is a niche of professionals taking this new landscape by storm – developing what we now refer to as influencer agencies.
Although marketing and advertising is a personalized communication method that varies by business, brand, and industry – the rise of the influencer agencies aim to close the gap between traditional, off-centered approaches that now seem to be outdated entities of the past. Taking the impersonalized, corporate-centric platforms and flipping them on their head, influencer agencies are infusing humanity and life back into our purchasing behaviors.
Influencers are real people, in real time sharing their experiences, preferences, and recommendations with a curated and loyal base of followers. We see influencers on various platforms, creating vlogs and videos on Youtube, sharing their written prose on Twitter, curating and crafting impeccable imagery on Instagram or snapping their lifestyle through the immediacy of Snapchat. In an industry that shows no signs of slowing down, influencer agencies are developing and representing individuals who will act as the new building blocks in growing successful, organic and consumer trusted businesses.
You may be wondering what an influencer agency is, what they do and why a business would choose to utilize an influencer agency over the traditional scope of advertising? We’re going to take you through a comprehensive analysis of the inner workings of an influencer agency, the process of growing a business with influencer marketing and the perks of using an influencer agency versus the typical advertising entity.
What Exactly is an Influencer Agency?
Our current media environment is always plagued with the talk of influencers and influencer marketing. Yet, do the majority of listeners truly know what it means to have influence within the social media landscape? In truth, the definition and job of an influencer are fairly simple. An influencer is an individual with clout, reputation and the ability to engage a specific, dedicated audience. This means that an influencer is focused on one industry in which they are truly knowledgeable and well-versed within and in return, use this interest and passion to work with businesses that align with their area of expertise.
In the influencer world, there are several variations and targeted markets in which one can influence fashion, travel, beauty, photography, fitness, food, design and music.
For example, let’s examine the idea of what it means to be a fashion influencer. A fashion influencer is someone who may have first started their career within the blog atmosphere; creating a platform to share outfit ideas, their discoveries of new and upcoming brands or curate content to align with editorial and seasonal trends. With the development of Instagram, many fashion bloggers took this new space to share even more content in real time. During this process and aggressive social media shift, they will have begun to create and craft a following of dedicated and loyal followers interested in their personal style, opinion, and outlook on the fashion industry.
As each step builds upon each other, this fashion centered individual has grown their blog audience to a social following, therefore over time earning the title of influencer. Although engagement trumps number of followers, influencers tend to be individuals with thousands, tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers on their social accounts. When a brand or business sees an individual with such impressive statistics, along with an engagement of real and active people, aka potential buyers, they will seek to partner with this influencer in order to attract and create attention for their specific product or service.
This act of partnerships, collaborations, and projects between businesses and social media influencers is the base and backbone of how an influencer agency works. An influencer agency can be compared to any type of talent representative, in which a team of individuals manages and grows a roster to match and partner with clients. With an influencer agency, the talent represented will consist of social media gurus, creatives, artists and marketing professionals who have been able to conquer one or several social media platforms to market to and reach your desired client base effectively and lead generating ways.
An influencer agency works as a marketing entity to create relationships with influencers to then pitch and push their expertise to larger clients such as specific brands, businesses, and editorial publications. An influencer agency will seek out influencers who have a proven track record, statistics and a solid history of successfully working in and implementing techniques within the social media atmosphere. These influencers will most likely have mastered one social media platform in particular such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter – using their active presence to establish a follower base.
Once an influencer agency has identified individuals that they feel meet their criteria of social influence, they will work to find brands that are seeking influencer marketing to grow their business. Influencer marketing campaigns will result in projects that can be one-off opportunities or have a duration of several months. With influencer marketing agencies, influencers can have more benefits and control over the compensation and financial reward they receive for their work with a brand. Since an influencer agency acts in the form of a representative, their job will be to set up and negotiate contracts, determine compensation for the campaign, set guidelines for deliverables and handle any client requests. In return, these agents will take a fiscal percentage of the work they land their influencers or build their fees into the cost of the campaign created for their client.
What Does an Influencer Agency Do?
Since we have established what an influencer agency is, we can now focus on what they specifically do. Influencer agencies work with top social influencer talent to create, develop and execute campaigns for brands. An influencer agency will have their roster of talent, which can be individuals who have a large following on Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or even have a successful, thriving personal blog.
When a brand contacts an influencer agency for help with a campaign, the influencer agency will assess the brand to determine which kind of campaign they should be running and on which platform it would prove most successful to generate the largest reach to their audience. Once they have established the medium in which they will push the campaign, they can then in return reference their roster of social influencers to choose who would be best suited for this specific project.
An example of a client campaign for an influencer agency could be a new makeup brand looking to launch their latest product line with beauty routines and step by step tutorials. Since the brand is looking for engaging actionable content, the influencer agency decides that the best platform to launch their campaign would be through Youtube, creating short, captivating how-to and wake-up and makeup routines. Upon determining to utilize the Youtube platform, the agency will then cross reference their current influencers who would fit into this specific project – in this case, they would choose a Youtube personality who focuses on creating content in the beauty sector and visually aesthetic vlogs while integrating personalized product reviews.
There may be an instance where the influencer agency does not have an individual that they currently represent that works well for the project. In this case, the agency may begin to research and seek out influencers who they feel are suitable for the campaign and consult them to work with their client for this specific project. Since influencer marketing agencies are still a newer concept, some influencers may be wary of jumping into a representative social contract. In this case, influencer marketing agencies can act as production directors by sourcing talent for each specific client project.
An influencer agency will not only be in charge of choosing the influencer for the project but will head the entire marketing projection and implementation of the campaign. Influencer agencies can suggest various types of campaigns for brands to use while working with influencers including; product placement, giveaways, and hashtags. A creative campaign in which the influencer uses their own style to craft content, Instagram or Snapchat takeovers to expose the influencer’s followers to the brand and even sponsored posts that are specifically generated to promote the product or service.
Once the campaign is in place, the influencer agency can then track and maintain the success, reach and engagement generated by the influencer to show the effectiveness of their efforts to the brand. In the final results of the campaign, the influencer agency will hopefully be able to quantify logistics such as an increase in followers, boosts in engagement and a positive, organic ROI (return on investment) that generated an influx of sales for the brand.
Why You Would Choose an Influencer Agency Versus a Traditional Agency
The main point to remember in the difference between a traditional and influencer agency is that an influencer agency focuses solely on marketing with social influencers. By honing in on this specific method, influencer agencies utilize strategies, software and techniques that result in successful influencer marketing campaigns. While traditional agencies may use influencer marketing as a component of a larger plan, their expertise will be less specific due to their wide span of services offered.
Considering that the influencer agency is a relatively new concept, some brands may not be convinced to choose this platform over a traditional agency. Yet, utilizing an influencer agency provides a completely different set of results that are impossible to achieve using the methods of a traditional agency.
When using a traditional advertising and marketing agency, you will be working with several moving parts and departments that develop creative campaigns. In most agencies, there will be a digital, creative and account management department, each tasked with creating various elements to help launch a brand’s identity, product line or specific service. In a traditional agency environment you can expect to work with an account management team, dedicated to client relations and partnerships, design/creative, who will focus on branding, logos and all elements that relate to your brand’s visual identity and digital, which will be the area where your online presence is managed through coding, HTML, SEO, and analytics.
Although this can generate a tangible and extensive advertising plan and full formed creative and analytical brief, some new brands and startup businesses cannot afford to invest in such intricate processes during their initial phases. An advertising agency may build a brand’s website, creating printed materials, design logos and letterheads, implement SEO tactics and develop a strategy for press and promotion – yet, not all of these aspects are completely necessary if a brand does not possess the proper capital to invest in such an intricate plan.
The toolbox of traditional advertising agencies in one that can be used for brands and businesses who already have valued and sustained reputations or who are looking to rebrand and refresh their existing content. The intricacy of campaigns offered by traditional agencies are highly effective and contain proven results, but are more often than none too extensive for beginning brands.
When a brand is starting their marketing efforts, they want to focus most on organic, authentic customer interest and loyalty than anything else. They may have already developed their branding and built the necessary platforms to launch their content to their consumer base further. Therefore, the next logical step would be to generate buzz, talk, and interest around their brand before stepping into the intricate process of full-on self-promotion and national advertising – this is where the traditional agency walks out and the new, innovative world of influencer agencies steps in.
Instead of seeking out a traditional agency from the beginning, brands with a focus, story, and vision for their company can enter the marketing world with lower startup costs and access by using the influencer agency strategy. In this case, an influencer agency can take the infancy of a brand and use this to introduce their concept to the followers of a social influencer. In a world where innovation and newness are found in the everyday feeds of social media, consumers are actively seeking up and coming brands and businesses that they can support, be the first to know about and invest in for the future.
This intrigue and excitement centered on emerging brands are why the influencer agency works in our consumerist society. We want to know what is new, fresh and avoid investing our interest and money into companies we do not feel connected to. Influencer agencies understand consumers’ needs and want for authenticity. Therefore they seek to implement and instill the use the humanity that is synonymous with influencers, to drive home the message of their clients. The truth is that people drive influencer marketing at its core. In this case, brands will thrive when their consumers feel that they can trust and connect with the marketing efforts being presented to them.
It would be beneficial for traditional agencies to take note of the need for influencer marketing within their strategic client briefs. By carving out influencer specific departments, traditional agencies could increase their social media competencies and push influencer marketing as a part of their extensive offerings. As long as influencer marketing remains to be the leader of transparency and authenticity in the advertising sphere, developing businesses will choose to work with social influencers to drive home the message and identity of their brand.
The Perks of Working with an Influencer Agency
As we have discussed the who, what, and how of an influencer agency, we will finish up with some of the perks of working with social influencers on your next brand campaign. The influencer agency has several advantages that cannot be matched by traditional methods of advertising and marketing. The main difference of an influencer agency versus a typical press or communications focus approach, is the specificity, breadth of knowledge and expertise offered by influencers.
When choosing to work with an influencer agency, you can be confident that you will be working with individuals who are skilled and highly experienced in their specific industry. An influencer agency will only offer social influencers to brands that they know will be successful and generate true results, as the influencer’s performance is a direct relation to the reputation of the agency.
An influencer agency will work with influencers who have a positive and successful track record of working with brands and implementing campaigns, who are experts on their specific social platform and are specifically focused on one category of industry. With these distinctions, as a brand, you can be expected to have access to influencers with incredible reach and truly tangible engagement. With their past experience and proven records of success in their industry, the agency will be able to guarantee that the work and campaigns they create for your brand will result in increased exposure, sales, and overall business success.
In short, the perks of working with an influencer agency include:
- Working with influencers who are experts in a specific industry
- Knowing that the past experiences and track record of the influencer is proven and varied, therefore giving you the assurance you need to allow them to create, develop and execute your campaign
- Understanding that an influencer has extensive knowledge of one or several platforms of social scope, which in turn will allow them to know how to effectively market to and reach your desired client base.
- Organic and authentic content creation by the influencer that in return establishes trust, interest, and loyalty within your customers for your brand.
- Providing transparency for consumers in a fiscally driven environment that can reinstall confidence in brands and therefore, increase purchasing behaviors.
Influencer marketing agencies are slowly redefining the meaning of advertising, press, and communications within the realm of business. With a shift from the fully fledged print, digital and social campaigns created by traditional agencies to the smaller, specific targeted projects created by the likes of experienced and knowledgeable influencers, we are a part of new wave of practices that place social media at the forefront of our consumer behaviors. Social media has seen a sustainable boost in the last decade and now has started to become a platform and tool for the development and execution of influencer led marketing campaigns.
With the integration of influencer agencies, new and startup brands and businesses can choose to push personalized and humanistic campaigns to their followers, audience and future client market. An influencer, in essence, provides value and insight into a specific industry and therefore generates unyielding value to their followers with truth, opinion, and recommendation – elements that cannot always be found in traditional printed materials or generalized digital platforms.
As we embrace this new method of marketing, influencer agencies will continue to grow, expand and fit into the changing complexities of our social media landscape. As there seems to be no sign of slowing down, there is no better time to hop on the full speed ahead movement that is influencer marketing.
Do you have any specific thoughts or comments on the growth of influencer marketing and influencer agencies within our social media-driven society? Are you an influencer who works with an agency to create and execute personal campaigns for brands? Feel free to drop us your feedback in our comments below.
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