If you’re on any form of social media, you will have come across influencer marketing. But what exactly does it mean, and how can you go about growing a career in it?
The EWOR Team sat down with Livia Dolle, who founded takle, a platform providing collaboration reviews for creators to steer and manage their business better. Livia has a wealth of experience in the field of influencer marketing and shared valuable insights about the industry with us.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
As the name suggests, influencer marketing is based on celebrities of “influencers” endorsing certain products and services. Brands pay influencers or send them products in exchange for promotion and giving their opinion to their followers.
The concept behind it is “parasocial connections”. Our guest gave the example of posters of stars in your childhood bedroom, or international influencers like Gary Vee. “A parasocial connection means you feel that connection, but the person on the other side doesn’t as much as you do.” The whole market is based on the idea that people follow people, not companies, she explained.
Livia explained that there are several strands of work in the influencer management industry. “First, there’s the classic influencer management and influencer marketing: setting up campaigns for clients, consulting brands and creators on their business and KPIs. Then there’s managing creatives, just like an artist manager: people learn how to monetize their content and we just do the daily activity.”
The key to penetrating the field, according to Livia, is networking. “I think in the creator economy itself, especially if you go into management, is a pretty close community,” she explained.
When she started out with her own agency, as a project on her maternity leave from Accenture in 2020, she found the entry through some of her friends who were getting successful and needed support in their business activities. From there, she realised just how small the circles behind the industry are.
The Challenges Behind the Industry
There are definitely some hurdles to face if you’re considering joining the creator economy, the entrepreneur warned. “The whole market has an enormous potential, but the individual in the market still has a pretty high level of uncertainty in terms of revenue streams,” Livia said.
Compared to other markets, influencer marketing is only about five years old. “The creator economy is still in baby shoes, which means that actors, for example, do not know how much money they are going to earn in a month.”
As a result, mental health issues are a big problem in the industry. “Because the market is pretty young and emotionally intense, competition is huge,” explained Livia.
Collaboration is all important in the industry, and many of the creatives have no experience dealing with contracts and legal matters. They are often left unsure what is expected of them in a partnership. “I think the problem is that there is no standardisation at all. There are no guidelines for working together,” said Livia. Being a content creator means you have to produce every day, mostly on more than one channel which is a high amount of workload with less to now security in terms of revenue.
This is the reason why Livia founded takle: the organisation seeks to help creative professionals with large communities to monetize their content. takle provides reviews of collaborations to provide transparency to the industry, and support Creators with their brand collaborations. Think Glassdoor for influencer marketing, explained Livia.
How to Use Influencer Marketing for Your Business
We asked Livia how she’d go about sourcing the right influencers to promote a business. With a laugh, she said: “If you go into the market, just go with your common sense of business. That means you don’t get something for cheap.”
She explained that you should think about your goal first: do you want to sell a programme? Attract people? Based on that, you can choose a platform. Think about your niche: are you speaking to entrepreneurs? Students? Once you’ve narrowed that down, research influencers in that niche, and start thinking about your budget. Livia recommends having a buffer of 10-15% of the costs to adapt to influencers’ rates.
After you’ve secured a deal, you need to make sure you understand the basic metrics and are aligned about the specifics of the content you want. “Know what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it,” emphasised Livia. If you want people to know more about your company, put some KPIs behind that goal.
“My first recommendation for everybody wanting to go into influencer marketing, is find somebody who already works in the field, because most creators are pretty open about what they do, and get a little bit of consulting. Don’t just throw money at content creators and expect them to steer your business KPIs.”
Livia’s next tip is to set up a content plan, outlining what happens week in and week out. This also helps with target testing, she explained. You can see what works and what doesn’t, what formats and what platforms are most effective to reach your goal. Once you’ve experimented with influencer marketing, get someone to work on the content in-house. “It’s a job with a demand, just be ready to trust native Social Media people and put a clear frame on their responsibilities,” confided Livia.