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BizReport : Social Marketing : January 25, 2018

Is influencer marketing best done in-house or outsourced?

Influencer marketing is nothing new. Instead, it has evolved. Today's consumers are shunning celebrity endorsement and instead craving an authentic, relatable voice to cut through the din of a commercialized and over-saturated advertising market.The question is - who is best equipped to develop and manage your influencer marketing - a third-party agency or a dedicated in-house team?

by Helen Leggatt

Last year, the vast majority (86%) of marketers used influencer marketing and 39% plan to increase budgets for this activity, according to recent figures released by marketing platform Linqia.

More than half (52%) of those surveyed by Linqia said influencer content outperformed brand-created content and so the question for today's marketer isn't whether to invest in influencer marketing, but whether to create internal influencer marketing teams or use a third-party agency. Both scenarios have pros and cons.

While employing an agency means you have access to their expertise and experience, and they can manage the entire process, it also comes at a price, especially when influencer fees are added. Today's celebrity influencers - those with a quarter of a million followers or more - have realized their value and can't be bought for a few free samples.

However, having a huge amount of followers doesn't necessarily equate to an engaged audience. In fact, micro-influencers - those who have smaller followings - may well boast a far more engaged audience despite lower impressions and are more likely to reply to comments and answer their follower's queries.

While third-party agencies have experience with influencer marketing campaigns, it appears that many businesses are choosing to create internal influencer marketing teams. Some big brands, such as Redbull, Nike and Edelman, have already brought influencer marketing in-house and others are currently seeking to do so. Adam Rivietz, co-founder of influencer marketing platform #Paid, told Digiday the reason for this is the benefits gained by brands being able "to curate their own lists of top performers and then maintain long-time relationships with those individuals".

Ultimately, influencer marketing is about building long-term relationships and should be approached more as an enduring partnership and less of a media buy or attempt to buy reach. To my mind, this alone cements the argument towards in-house influencer marketing teams who are closer to the brand and more able to commit to forming and nurturing influencer relationships. However, for those brands looking to test influencer marketing for the first time, perhaps the guidance and experience of an agency isn't a bad start.

Tags: agengy, celebrity endorsement, influencer marketing, social media

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