The practice of using social media influencers is only continuing to grow, but you may be left wondering the best way to go about this marketing strategy. That’s where the Influencer Marketing Factory comes in. The company helps clients such as Google, Amazon, and Warner Music Group with their marketing campaigns by connecting them with the appropriate influencers across various social media platforms, including TikTok, Youtube, and Instagram. Backstage recently chatted with the Influencer Marketing Factory’s co-founder and CEO, Alessandro Bogliari, to discuss the benefits of brands working with influencers and how influencers can best present themselves to brands and agencies.
“It’s [about] the professional mindset…. Brands and agencies like us, we want to work with those people. ”
Could you give a rundown of what the Influencer Marketing Factory is, and what it is you do?
We are a full-service global influencer marketing agency. We mostly offer influencer marketing on three different main channels: TikTok, which is definitely our bread and butter, YouTube, and Instagram. We help brands that come to us with a certain idea in mind; their goals could be a new product, a new app to download, we help them with everything. [We] even find the KPIs, the right influencers, demographics, storytelling, activities, management, contracting, all those boring legal things up to management of the campaign, and then we do a reporting and analysis so the clients can easily check the ROI of the campaigns. They come to us with a budget in mind, timeline with certain demographics and geographic targeting, and we do all the rest, internationally. That’s what our core business is, but we also represent around 15 TikTokers with a combined following [of] around 50 million followers, and we help them with brand deals. So, imagine that 90% of our core is helping businesses, and then around 10% is representing TikTokers and doing brand deals for clients.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of influencer marketing? Why should brands be interested in the field?
There are many benefits. A lot of people feel that you just get content and that’s it, but, actually, you get even more. First of all, it’s user-generated, so, especially with TikTok, that helps a lot to get that credibility and authenticity that Gen Z, especially, is looking for. You don’t want to be told what to buy anymore with a cold sell, like, “Hey, buy these phones.” But if I can embed the phone in something that is fun and entertaining and informative, it’s going to be a soft-selling point of view. And so, you’re going to say, “You know what? I’m influenced by this person because I trust that person.” If I am following someone who’s really into sneakers and they’re passionate about that, I recognize that influencer as an expert, then I’m going to trust that person and am going to buy.
The nice thing is that you’re not just selling something, you’re actually getting feedback from the people. Something that we noticed is that both TikTok and YouTube, but also on Instagram, if you go and read the comments about specific promoted posts, you can gain so much knowledge about the feeling and the sentiment about the substance, a new product, a new item, or a new service or app, from the community. So, you get the content, the creativity, the storytelling, the feedback from the people, and also conversions. If you are selling something that is going to be on an e-commerce site, you’re getting brand awareness, content creation, and potential commercial with the same action.
What should a brand’s goals be in hiring an influencer? What do you think is something that they should desire in influencers that best represent them?
I mean, of course there are certain things, like the demographics and their engagement rate, all those types of things. But those are the metrics—a lot of people talk about it, and it’s definitely super important, but you also want to look for professionals. You want to look for influencers who do this as a business and understand that this is a job. Unfortunately, nowadays, people are making [content] more as a hobby sometimes, [and] it happens that if they’re not professional, maybe they’re gonna miss deadlines and they’re not going to do a quality job. Sometimes maybe you want to try to save some money and maybe you get influencers who have good numbers but are not necessarily taking it seriously. One important thing from Day 1 is to understand if they feel like this is their job and they take it seriously.
On the flip side, what’s your process for deciding the best way to engage with an influencer’s base? Does your company usually work with the influencers to create the content? How much of the creative process is left up to them?
It really depends on the brand. Our idea all the time is to try and leave the creativity, the style, the point of view, and the angle to the influencer. What we see in reality is that, yes, the brand knows a lot about their own products, but they don’t know the audience of an influencer. While, on the other hand, the influencers know what works in terms of content. We always try to say: Trust the influencer, trust the process, trust their tone of voice, the way to present things. But, of course, some of the time, the brands still want to approve the content before going live. Sometimes they want a certain message said in a certain way. We always try to negotiate and go to a middle ground where the influencer is the incentive person but the brands also have that safety net where they know that the messaging is going to be set in a certain way.
What sort of results does this typically generate? Were there any noticeable trends throughout the past year?
Things are changing quite fast. Until some years ago, Instagram was the go-to. I can feel now that the organic reach is going to be down. Other people do stories in order to increase the amount of potential clicks. YouTube is still, I’d say, the one with the long-term partnerships; it’s still strong. TikTok can give you more bumps during the day. Let’s say that one video goes viral for 24 hours and it does 10 million views; we had clients that got their items sold out thanks to one video on TikTok. That is the power. So, it’s really difficult to say an average ROI or what you are going to expect, because a lot of the time you work on something and it doesn’t work out that much. Because maybe again, the brands want to say the message in a way that doesn’t work for social media. On the other hand, maybe you’re just out of luck. Some big influencers do content for free, earn media value, go viral on the front page, and then sell your inventory. There is not an average, it’s different factors.
But what I’d say is that in my opinion, for certain types of things, it’s just more effective than normal display banners. Especially for Gen Z and millennials, they are clicking less and less.
What is some general advice you have for creators not only looking to work with you but just looking to market themselves for these brands?
Of course, it’s important to have certain metrics and the type of content. But in my opinion, if you want to not just do one short activity, but you want to do this as a job, again, it’s [about] the professional mindset. You really want to show them that you have a media kit that is ready to go with your pricing, that you are able to negotiate. You want to show them historical data. You want to show them that you are reliable. If they send you an email, you cannot wait a week to reply. If they ask you for certain edits, you should help on that, too. I’d say that if you want to do this as a job in the long term, be a professional, be there for the client, be there for the agency. Work a lot on yourself as personal branding. You can have that leverage in showing to the brand that you can trust an influencer, as a creator, because I’m going to be there. I’m going to be professional. I’m going to give you the materials that you need. I’m going to reply to your email. I’m going to set the contract, and so on. And brands and agencies like us, we want to work with those people.
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