“Can influencer marketing be automated?” This question is raised by many marketers who are working on an influencer campaign for their brand. With the technological boom of nowadays, it might be considered old-school to manage the processes manually – let the technology do the job and benefit from the results. However, it’s not so easy when it comes to influencer marketing as an attempt to automate an influencer campaign may undermine some of its important principles. Let’s take a further look at the challenges of influencer marketing automation.
Automation tools – a stand-alone solution or a handy supplement?
The daily routine of an influencer marketer usually involves a variety of activities, starting from social listening and content analysis to looking for appropriate industry experts and outreaching them. Add here the curation of content and evaluation of the campaign’s performance and you probably would agree that some of these tasks are quite tedious. After sending hundreds of emails and looking through a multitude of influencers’ profiles you may be tempted to start looking for an automated solution.
Automated tools that promise to make the life of a marketer easier. They claim to turn your campaign into a seamless flow, taking care of processes such as sourcing the influencers, communicating with them, managing their content and payments. Unfortunately, such tools won’t solve the main challenge – the development of the influencer marketing strategy can’t be automated.
The tricky part of campaign automating tools is that such platforms can’t be used as a ready-to-go solution. Behind any tool should be a person to determine the overall campaign goal and execution. This specialist considers multiple factors: what social channel works better for your brand, what topics should the influencer cover in his content, what audience size we are looking for, what are the current social media trends, and so on. Influencer marketing platforms can help streamline and automate some laborious tasks such as influencer search or brand mentions tracking but they won’t offer you a compelling influencer strategy.
Selecting the right influencers
The most crucial step in running an influencer campaign is deciding who is the right influencer for your brand. While an automated tool can help source influencers, looking through the suggested list and assessing which influencers to engage for your campaign should be done manually by a marketing specialist. There are platforms that offer a database of influencers and you can filter their profiles by specific parameters such as country, audience, engagement level, etc. Some tools can compel a list of bloggers by a certain keyword or industry.
However, the final decision on whether the brand should collaborate with a particular influencer can be made only after thorough research. It involves examining the influencer’s content, getting familiar with his bio, interests, and values. It’s also crucial to make sure that the influencer fits your brand’s positioning and will be an appropriate ambassador of your company. The decision-making process requires the brand’s team to be involved and can’t be delegated to an automated tool.
Building a relationship
The third, and probably the most significant part, that can’t be automated is the human relationship – developing a close connection with the influencer and nurturing the relations requires a personal approach.
The simple truth all marketers need to realise is that influencers are human beings with their own interests and concerns. In order for your collaboration with an opinion leader to be authentic, you need to make the influencer “fall in love” with your brand. This can be done only by establishing and nurturing a relationship – connect with the influencer personally, offer them some real value, provide them with a solution to their major needs or pain points.
In order to develop a long-term connection with the industry thought-leaders, you’ll need to show them the human face of your brand. Automation works well with newsletters and auto-responses but influencers require a more personal touch. From my experience, once started via email, the communication with an influencer moves to messengers or Skype as your relationship develops. If you rely on an automated instrument when communicating with influencers, you risk to significantly disrupt their trust. As a result, the campaign’s effectiveness will be compromised.
Use it with consideration
Automated solutions can enhance some parts of the influencer marketing campaign but they need to be used with consideration. The key takeaway here is not to get overwhelmed with managing all steps of your influencer campaign manually but to smartly break down all processes and partially automate some of the routine tasks. This way you’ll spare more time to take care of the essentials of influencer marketing – building trusted relations with the influencers and co-creating content that will bring true value to your audience.