Due to Apple’s privacy update in iOS 14 and the acceleration of e-commerce adoption from Covid-19, digital marketing costs have skyrocketed since last year. TikTok has experienced wild price volatility as user growth and advertising demand continue to surge. Meanwhile, Facebook’s average CPM has reportedly spiked by 61% and Google’s has jumped 75% compared to early 2021.

With prices up and advertising efficiency down, marketers are being forced to evolve. To make up for the shortfall in performance, many brands have turned to influencer marketing as a more authentic and cost-effective way to drive ROI. While this strategy is not new, the scale at which partnerships are being developed and deployed is.

Cue the influencer strategist. This all-new position has become an essential part of every marketing department, advertising agency, and social media team. But how exactly does an influencer strategist fit in and what do they do? Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.

What is an influencer strategist?

As the name suggests, influencer strategists are responsible for developing and executing various influencer marketing strategies that generate results for a business. Practically speaking, this means building and managing relationships with influencers, negotiating deals, supervising the creation of content, and analysing performance data.

If this sounds like a wide range of skills, that’s because it is. Influencer strategists wear many hats in an organisation and are expected to stay up to date on the latest influencer marketing trends, best practices, and platforms. They also need to have a firm understanding of the company’s marketing goals and objectives, as well as what moves the target audience.

In short, influencer strategists are the masterminds behind influencer marketing campaigns. And with the influencer marketing industry projected to eclipse $16 billion this year, there’s never been a greater need for effective managers.

What does an influencer strategist do?

An influencer strategist’s day-to-day responsibilities vary depending on the size of the company they work for and the specific marketing goals set by their team. In general, though, their job revolves around the following tasks:

Identifying influencers

The first step in any influencer marketing campaign is identifying the right influencers to work with. This includes filtering through profiles, conducting audience research, and evaluating figures like engagement rate, growth rate, reach, and number of followers.

While metrics can help narrow the scope, influencer strategists also need to consider an influencer’s personality, values, and style. Ultimately, the goal is to find influencers who are a natural extension of the brand’s image and will be able to connect with the target audience in a genuine and meaningful way.

Forming partnerships

Once the influencers have been selected, it’s time to reach out, form partnerships, and strike deals. Talented content creators are inundated with offers on a daily basis, so influencer strategists need to be able to cut through the noise and convince influencers that their company is worth partnering with.

This task requires a deep understanding of the social media platform at hand, excellent communication skills, and a touch of salesmanship. After generating interest, influencer strategists must negotiate on behalf of their company.

Rather than fighting tooth and nail for the upper hand, effective influencer strategists recognise that it’s most productive to find a middle ground that leaves both parties motivated. They set campaign expectations, a payment structure, and promotional strategies that align the influencer’s and the brand’s interests.

Directing content creation

Once deals have been finalised, influencer strategists make sure that their partners produce high-quality content that progresses the company’s marketing goals. This includes offering feedback, approving content before it goes live, and guiding influencers on what topics to cover and what call-to-actions to use.

While influencers are professionals and don’t need to be micromanaged, they still need direction in order to create content that’s compelling and on-brand. Influencer strategists provide this guidance while also allowing influencers the freedom to be creative.

Analysing campaign performance

After a campaign has been completed, influencer strategists gather data and analyse performance to gauge ROI and identify areas for improvement. This requires a keen eye for detail and the ability to draw conclusions from varied data sources.

Influencer strategists use these insights to refine influencer selection, tweak strategies, and optimise creative content. Over time, this critical responsibility allows the business to better allocate marketing budgets and enables the strategist to hone their skills.

What does it take to succeed as an influencer strategist?

The role of an influencer strategist is constantly evolving, but the core skills needed to excel in the field have remained relatively stable. Here are a few of the most important:

  • Project management and organisation
  • Clear communication and comfort with cold outreach
  • Digital marketing understanding
  • Negotiation and people management
  • Creative and strategic thinking
  • Timely knowledge of social media trends

Although content creators get all of the attention, it is the influencer strategists who conceive, direct, and manage influencer marketing campaigns. This complex and ever-changing role requires a wide range of skills in order to be successful. However, with the right mix of talents, the best behind-the-scenes operators can transform a brand’s image and elevate a company’s marketing to new heights.

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