Should you outsource your influencer marketing or manage it in house?
This is a common problem that brands, especially (but not exclusively) those just starting to work with influencers, have to wrestle with. But undoubtedly for many brands, there is no question that they should be working with influencers or increasing how many influencers or ambassadors they are working with. If that is you, then we believe there are a few areas that you should consider;
The Pros of Outsourcing
- Test the waters with low commitment: by working with a third party you can see what influencer marketing is able to do for your brand without having to invest significantly. If you find it works, then you can take the next step. If not, take a step back and reassess.
- Work with experts: the right third party organisation will give you the chance to work with people who have experience of running campaigns or selecting ambassadors for other brands like yours. That expertise ensures you make fewer mistakes and can get your programme up and running faster
- Get the best advice: third parties that specialise in helping brands work with influencers and content creators should have a really good knowledge of all the guidelines and legalities associated with running gifting or ambassador programmes
- Save time: as with so many areas of your business – your accountants or legal services or recruitment – outsourcing saves you time, that you can profitably spend on other areas of your role or your business.
- Expand the programme: working with the right partner means that when you need to expand your influencer or ambassador programme, you can do that really quickly. This means you will see greater benefits without the lag associated with building your in-house resources
The Cons of Outsourcing
- Alignment: it takes time for a third party to understand your business and become fully aligned with your goals. Initially this requires a time commitment from you. The foundations of successful influencer or ambassador programmes require this
- Mistakes are inevitable: no matter how good the alignment phase, there will always be the possibility of mistakes – picking the wrong person for your ambassador programme for example. This is part of the learning process so when it happens you might have to just accept it
- Expensive: the cost of getting an influencer campaign or ambassador programme up and running without eating up too much of your time is cash
The Pros of DIY
- Control: if you choose to invest the time in running your influencer and ambassador activities in-house, you will have total control over who you pick, when you check on their activity, who to retain and who to release
- Build relationships: by working directly with influencers and ambassadors you have a really good opportunity to build strong relationship with them directly. That invariably means they will go the extra mile for you and your brand
- Adjust the activity: by managing your influencer and ambassador activations in-house, there is much less lag time when it comes to changing or adapting what you are doing with them. A third party adds a layer that can, at times, slow things down a little
The Cons of DIY
- Time consuming: running your influencer and ambassador programmes in-house takes a lot of time. Potentially time you don’t have. And unlike buying advertising, the effort does not stop once you have selected the people you want to work with. Influencers and ambassadors are people and they need to be looked after. If you don’t put in the time and effort, nor will the influencers or ambassadors and the programme will fizzle out.
- Lacking experience: it may well be that when you start or scale-up your influencer or ambassador programme, you don’t have very much experience of doing this. That can mean you miss certain things or learn how not to do things the hard way
- Difficult to scale: growing an influencer programme or ambassador team is a great way to increase its impact and reach more of your target market, more often. But the bigger the programme, the more time it will take you
So how do you decide on the right way to go? Here are our tips;
- Start somewhere – if you really don’t have the budget to work with a third party, start small. Pick just a couple of people to collaborate with and learn from starting out with them. Once you have an idea of the sorts of people you want to have advocating for your business and the return on investment, you can scale the programme.
- Run a test – one thing to consider is running a test with a third party. The Freestak platform will allow you to run a campaign for 3 or 4 months, which is long enough to set up and deploy an influencer gifting campaign and gather some meaningful results. Then you can decide whether to invest more in influencers and ambssadors.
- Use a hybrid – perhaps the best thing you can do is both out-source and –in-house at the same time. This might involve getting your PR company to draft a campaign that you then deploy. The Freestak platform offers a self-service option whereby you are able to set-up your own campaigns, select influencers or ambassadors from those that apply and download reports yourself at the click of a button. At the same time the team is able to help you when you have questions or want advice. Plus you have access to all the latest advice to make sure your campaigns are within the rules.
You might be starting to think about working with influencers on a gifting or seeding campaign for the first time. Or you have already done that and what to do more, but lack the resources. Or you are thinking about setting up or expanding an ambassador programme. Whatever your situation, choosing whether to out-source the work completely, keep it all in-house or use a platform like Freestak to get the best of both worlds, is important. If you’d like to discuss how we can help (of course without obligation) get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.