Influencer marketing done right can be quite the task for a marketer, or even a marketing team. It takes time and thoughtfulness to select, engage, manage, execute and measure influence marketing campaigns, just like it does for any other type of marketing. For many businesses, influencer marketing is just a small piece of their overall marketing puzzle, so they need help.
Enter the influencer consultant. But what exactly does an influencer consultant do? And how much do they charge?
Ask 100 people in the industry those questions and you’re liable to receive 100 different answers. That’s largely because each consultant is different and even the role of a consultant is vague.
I’ve been hired as a social media consultant before, but performed tasks that would be better defined as public relations, digital marketing or just marketing. Inevitably, I employ a wide range of experiences to just help clients move their business forward, so putting one discipline’s label on it is misleading.
The same can be said for an influencer consultant, too. The inference is they’ll handle your influencer marketing. They may. But depending on the consultant, they may only handle parts of the process. Or they may have a wide breadth of knowledge and experience and also help you with creative ideas, public relations, social media and beyond.
In my current role at Cornett, I serve as the chief influence strategists … a type of consultant … to our clients. I also advise and refer others to influencer consultants if Cornett is not a good fit. It’s my job to know what an influencer consultant does.
Today on the podcast, I’ll spell it out in as much detail as will fit into a 10-15 minute show, so that you can understand whether you need one, or what type of influencer consultant is better for your business.
So you think you need help with your influencer marketing. Do you buy software to make your own work easier? Do you hire an agency to handle it for you? Or do you find happy medium and hire an influencer consultant?
Influencer marketing software is one way, but that implies you’ll need someone to use it. Tagger, which is what I use, makes my job as an influencer consultant within an agency a lot easier, but it doesn’t do the work by itself. I and my team have to know how to use it and login every day to do the work.
It’s good for you to have software, or access to your consultant or agency’s software, so you can look things up on the fly, check in on campaign progress and such, but unless you have the dedicated time to use the software, that alone isn’t going to help.
Some influencer software companies have managed services. You may have access to the software, but you pay them additional fees to take an influencer campaign brief – just like a creative brief for an ad campaign only customized to answer questions relevant to influencer marketing – and they go find, engage, execute and measure everything for you. You can have as much or as little oversight, approvals and involvement as you like. But managed services are costly. A good influencer marketing campaign might run you anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000, depending on the scope of what you hope to achieve. The good news is that cost typically includes fees for the influencers, so it’s all-in, per campaign. But if you’re doing a campaign per quarter, now your budget is sitting at $40, 80 or even 250K or so for the year.
Then there are influencer marketing agencies. They operate much like the managed services of a software company, but aren’t tied to one software platform or approach. They function much like PR agencies in that they handle everything related to influencer marketing from strategy to execution and everything in between. Some will work on a project or campaign basis … smaller agencies may charge as low as $5-$10,000 for a small campaign. But you’re still looking at $10-$150,000 a shot. And maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars in annual fees. Again, all-in pricing. But still, not cheap.
Looking For Help With Influencer Marketing?
Large or small, I can help. Maybe directly. Or perhaps I can just help find the right partner to take that pain point away. Let’s chat and see where I can be of service.
Agencies like Cornett where I lead our influencer marketing work often handle one-off influencer marketing projects, but their work is typically in service to a client that is using the agency for far more than just influencer marketing. Influencers are one piece of a bigger puzzle. We advise all of our clients on influence marketing. We proactively take them influencer campaign ideas, but also develop influencer marketing strategies that ladder up to the overall marketing campaigns they execute.
For the small or medium business, that leaves you with a few choices. Doing it yourself, finding a small agency that specializes in influencer marketing or hiring an influencer consultant.
The Influencer Consultant
So what does an influencer consultant do? As we mentioned earlier, it depends on the consultant, but here’s what you can ask for and expect from them:
First, they should provide some level of influencer marketing strategy. That implies they get to know your brand, understand your overall marketing efforts, your target audience, your marketing goals and the like. They then bring you a plan for engaging influencers that adds to your overall marketing strategy and helps you accomplish more.
Some businesses will serve this role and the consultant is just there to execute on the strategy. If you feel comfortable developing the direction yourself, look for a consultant that is able to execute, but do listen to their recommendations on the higher level stuff. If they do this every day, their experience will be valuable.
From the strategy phase, the consultant will identify and prioritize the influencers to approach for influencer engagements. That could be a list of 300 micro influencers who will post something in exchange for product. It could be two influencers to engage over the course of a year to collaborate with on content. And, if they’re aligned with my approach of influence marketing … without the R and encompassing offline influence, too … they may recommend a combination of online influencer targets, plus offline or community influencers and ways to engage them. The recommendations will be based on your goals and overall strategy.
Once you are aligned with the influencer lists and prioritization, the influencer consultant handles the time-intensive work of reaching out to each influencer, inviting them to participate, briefing them on your brand and product, outlining the ask and getting them to agree to deliverables and timelines, settling on a budget and payment details and delivering the assets you’ve provided to help the influencer execute the ask. Sometimes the influencer consultant partners with you to create the assets, too.
As the campaign moves to execution, the influencer consultant manages communications with the influencers, answers questions, reviews content on your behalf … or sends it to you for feedback or approval … and coordinates when each will post, the links and hashtags they’ll use and so on.
After the execution, the influencer consultant gathers the posts and analytics and prepares a report … if they haven’t already built a dynamic one that you can monitor throughout the campaign. That way, you can gauge success and know which influencers to keep using and which may not be as effective for you.
Then they work with you and the influencers to come up with what’s next in continuing to build engagement and relationships with the influencer’s audiences.
If you’ve engaged the influencers to collect content your brand can use, the influencer consultant is often in charge of building the content repository, connecting your creative or social team to it, and ensuring everyone understands the licensing and guidelines for what can be used in what context.
When the brand needs information from, or to disseminate information to, a given influencer, the consultant is the liaison.
Give Influencer Consultants a Seat at the Table
Smart brands will have the influencer consultant at the table for most or all of the overall marketing planning. They’ll be integrated with any agencies, other consultants and internal staff involved. It’s always better to have the whole team on the same page so that every touchpoint with your target audience is orchestrated to move them closer to the action you wish them to take.
If you hire an influencer consultant to do all that, you can typically rest easy that your influencer marketing needs are being minded by an extension of your team, so you don’t have to worry about that element of your marketing anymore.
How Much Do Influencer Consultants Cost?
How much do influencer consultants cost? Again, that is going to vary. Most will charge an hourly rate for the time they put into your brand’s efforts. Seasoned influencer marketing consultants typically cost anywhere from $50 to $150 per hour. You can find more costly ones that bring more experience with strategy, the elite levels of influencer engagement and the like. I’m sure you can find someone on Fivver for $12 an hour, too. With all due respect to those consultants, you often get what you pay for.
Whether you’re hiring an influencer consultant, an influencer agency, an agency that also offers influencer marketing, a managed service, or just buying some software, ask yourself these questions to know which to choose for your brand:
- How much of my weekly time do I have to spend focused on influencer marketing campaigns and management?
- If I need help, can I afford a single person at a reasonable hourly rate, or can I invest more in a team of specialists to manage it all for me?
- For those I’m asking to help, what kind of experience with influencers do they have? What kind of software do they use to discover and prioritize influencers? What kind of success can they show from previous work?
- Do I feel like they will invest in me as much as I do in them?
Those answers will help you make the right decision. If you need to chat about your specific needs and situation, don’t hesitate to reach out. If I and Cornett aren’t the right fit for you, I’m committed to helping you find someone who is.
Just contact me via the handy form here and we can connect.
To start building your own experiences with my influencer marketing software of choice, go to jasonfalls.co/tagger today.
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