Ten years ago, the concept of hiring a social media manager seemed outlandish to most brands.
Now, that role is commonplace and highly specialized within most organizations. The same evolution is currently happening for influencer management. Sophisticated brands with built out influencer marketing programs are starting to see value in having a person dedicated to growing and managing the program.
How to become an influencer marketing manager
As the role of the influencer marketing manager evolves, talent will need to adapt to meet the demand. Luckily, a lot of the skills necessary to excel at influencer management can be cultivated through social media marketing and other job functions, and supplemented with good technology. Here are the five steps you can take to being the best influencer marketing manager.
1. Understand the value of community
Whether you’re looking for your influencer program to drive sales or boost customer engagement within your community, understanding the value of a brand community will set you apart. Influencer marketing, at its core, is an extension of community marketing. Influencers themselves are a form of community manager as they’ve worked hard to cultivate their own communities largely organically and based on shared values. The ability to empathize with that challenge will inevitably separate the best influencer managers apart from the rest.
Being able to find the influencers that best resonate with a brand’s community is another hallmark of a good influencer manager. While this may seem partially up to intuition, influencer managers will need to be able to balance engagement data with creative style choices to map the right influencers to a brand.
2. Adopt the right technology
Spreadsheets might be a great organizational start, but a robust influencer marketing program requires influencer marketing technology to match. There are only so many hours in a day that influencer marketing managers have to use, and the right technology will help scale their time and budget effectively so that influencer managers can use their time most strategically.
The reality is, influencer marketing can easily be bogged down with busy work and tactical strain. From discovering new influencers, maintaining relationships, permissioning content and gaining internal approval, it’s easy to be overwhelmed in the day-to-day. Savvy influencer managers will have a good understanding of how to scale their influencer campaigns with the help of the right tools.
TIP: Is your influencer marketing software helping you scale your strategy? Find the best solutions for your needs.
3. Maintain the right relationships
With any outward-facing role, maintaining relationships is a critical skill. For influencer management, it is pivotal. Influencer marketers need to make sure they’re cultivating the right relationships while maintaining a pulse on up-and-coming influencers in their niche. This stems from discovering the right talent, establishing a good, working relationship, and keeping in contact with influencers to keep your brand top-of-mind.
A mutually beneficial relationship for influencers requires some understanding of the influencer hustle. But even the best influencer marketing manager will come up short trying to maintain a cadence of conversation with a large number of influencers. This is where having the right tools in place to manage influencers and good organizational skills become necessary.
New regulations, updates, and trends emerge regularly in the realm of influencer marketing. As with any profession, making sure you’re tapped into the most relevant news sources will help keep you ahead of the game.
Whether it's a new regulation, a social media disclosure requirement, or just a new trend that might increase your conversion rates, keeping up to date on new trends will elevate your influencer marketing career.
5. Measure the right metrics
Reporting on the success of your influencer marketing program brings science to the art of telling your brand’s story with influencers. Measuring the value of an influencer program can be tricky as there are so many ways to define success. Similarly to every other aspect of managing influencers, having the right tools in place from the beginning to measure the efficacy of an influencer program will set you apart.
Another aspect of measuring the right metrics and reporting them clearly is aligning with the influencers on those metrics ahead of time. An experienced influencer marketing manager will be able to work with the influencer to optimize for the best results for both the brand and the influencer’s community.
Manage your influencer marketing manager influence
Not all brands need a dedicated employee for influencer management, but as influencer marketing becomes more relevant for all brands, it’ll be critical for marketing teams to have a good grasp of these skills. And for those who see opportunity in this skill set—it might be the time to start growing your career as an influencer marketing manager.
In the meantime, though, make sure you’re effectively running your influencer marketing program with the right social media marketing tools and skills you need to get the job done.
Haley Fraser is the Content Marketing Manager at Pixlee, a user-generated content and influencer marketing platform that helps brands grow their businesses with social proof and word-of-mouth marketing across all channels.