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    Why it’s time to hire an influencer marketing manager

    More than 80% of marketers agree influencer marketing is an essential part of their overall social media strategy, according to a Q3 2023 Sprout Pulse Survey. Yet, less than a quarter (24%) say their brand has a dedicated influencer marketing manager. Most companies say influencer marketing is owned by their already overtaxed social or digital teams.

    While most brands agree influencer marketing is a credible (and often crucial) avenue for expanding their reach and connecting with new consumers, they’ve yet to fully resource the function. But that’s changing fast.

    “As the industry continues to mature, teams will start to prioritize dedicated influencer marketing roles. Influencer marketing is just one piece of a brand’s larger marketing strategy, but it’s such an important one that requires its own attention and expertise,” says Lara Highfill, a Vice President of Influencer at marketing communications agency HUNTER.

    As more companies begin to invest in influencer programs, influencer marketing managers will play an indispensable part in forming positive brand-influencer relationships and developing social content that resonates.

    What does an influencer marketing manager do day-to-day?

    The role of influencer marketing manager is still relatively new. But it already has a broad scope. Caroline Farley, Senior Manager of Influencer Marketing at the B2B process documentation platform Scribe, describes her role like this: “I’m responsible for influencer marketing from beginning to end—sourcing, contract writing, executing campaigns, reviewing content, making sure content deploys, following up with influencers and reporting on metrics. I own those key responsibilities for many different ongoing influencer partnerships.”

    Why it’s time to hire an influencer marketing manager

    There is no such thing as a typical day because every partnership or campaign is unique. To deliver successful results, managing every influencer relationship requires a tailored approach.

    As Highfill explains, “Influencer marketing managers do everything from influencer identification and outreach to relationship building and campaign management. No two days are the same, which I’ve always loved about this business. It’s a true balance of art and science to not only find the right partners for a brand, but to execute a campaign in a way that is authentic and has a lasting impact.”

    A LinkedIn post celebrating the success of HUNTER's influencer campaign for Lysol

    Reasons your brand should hire an influencer marketing manager

    According to Sprout’s 2024 Influencer Marketing Report, almost half (49%) of consumers make purchases at least once a month because of influencer posts, and trust in influencers among younger consumers is on the rise. There has never been a better time for brands to bet on influencer marketing.

    A call-out card from Sprout's Influencer Marketing Report that reads 49% of consumers make a purchase inspired by an influencer at least once a month

    Despite this impact, most brands delegate the influencer marketing manager function to social media teams already wearing too many hats. Nearly half (48%) of social marketers already report not having enough time to get their work done, and another 38% say they handle most influencer marketing tasks manually due to lack of tools. By asking social marketers to juggle influencer marketing on top of their growing to-do lists, opportunities for furthering brand reach, gaining share of voice and generating revenue might fall flat.

    When should your brand start making these investments? Highfill says, “Yesterday! It’s so important for brands to have influencer marketing experts on their team, whether in-house or through an external agency—or (ideally) a combination of both. If a brand really wants to maximize their influencer marketing efforts, and see the results that these programs can offer, they need to take this step.”

    Farley explains even B2B brands should get serious about hiring influencer marketing managers. “Where do people (B2C and B2B consumers alike) live? The internet. Find a way to get in front of your audience.”

    If you need proof points beyond thought leader testimony and brand examples, test the ROI of influencer marketing with your own audience. Farley recalls how her manager approached Scribe executives with the idea to invest in influencer marketing to help grow their reach. To test her hypothesis and build a business case, she experimented with key metrics like tracking ROI through ad testing, sign-ups and influencer view rates. After stakeholders saw the results, they never looked back and continued to double-down on influencer marketing and expand the team.

    What skills to look for in an influencer marketing manager

    When you’re ready to hire an influencer marketing manager, it’s critical to look for a well-rounded marketer with a passion for developing social content and working with influencers. Like Highfill says, “The best influencer marketers understand how their campaigns fit into a larger marketing story. On any given day they will serve as a creative strategist, contract negotiator, data analyst and more.”

    Farley added a comprehensive list of skills that she recommends you include in your job posting to find a qualified candidate:

    • Creativity: Influencer marketing managers must be able to conceptualize unique, innovative campaigns that resonate with their target audience. Creativity is essential for identifying influencers, crafting effective content briefs and riffing with influencers. Creative managers help campaigns stand out in a crowded digital landscape, capturing attention and generating meaningful results.
    • Social-first expertise (with an emphasis on organic content): Organic engagement is the cornerstone of genuine brand-audience relationships. Understanding the nuances of social media culture across platforms enables influencer managers to develop campaigns that feel relevant to their community.
    • Autonomy: Influencer managers own partnerships from beginning to end. They need to be able to work autonomously to swiftly adapt strategies to fit trends, negotiate contracts independently and optimize campaign performance without constant oversight (while still knowing when to bring in the right people like legal).
    • Strong communication skills: Effective communication—with both influencers and internal partners—fosters trust, aligns expectations and ensures seamless campaign execution. When influencer marketing managers communicate clearly, concisely and persuasively, they can navigate any challenges and conflicts, maintaining positive relationships and achieving goals.
    • Data analysis: Proficient data interpretation drives informed decision making. By correctly analyzing metrics like engagement rate, audience demographics and conversation rates, managers can ensure that influencers are the right fit for their campaigns and that existing partnerships deliver tangible results. Tools like Sprout Social Influencer Marketing make it easy for managers to track metrics in real time, and maximize influencer ROI faster.
    • Passion: To succeed as an influencer marketing manager, a candidate must truly love influencer marketing. Passion is an invaluable asset that drives dedication and enthusiasm for every campaign. Personal interest in influencer marketing enables managers to stay up to date on trends, evolving consumer behaviors and the influencer landscape overall. Interestingly, Farley shared the Scribe influencer team is made up of people who grew their own online followings or helped their friends develop followings. They have experience from both vantage points, which makes navigating touchy conversations around budget and industry constraints (i.e., disclaimers) easier. Though being an influencer is not a prerequisite for a manager role, the person you hire should be able to empathize with the influencers they’ll be working with.
    • Relationship building: Relationship building is non-negotiable. Farley says, “Influencer managers must be committed to human-first partnerships with their ‘customers’—the influencers they work with—and always treat them like first-class passengers.” Solid influencer relationships result in better campaign outputs and smarter business decisions. According to the 2024 Influencer Marketing Report, most influencers (65%) say they wish they could be brought into creative or product development conversations with brands sooner to help inform strategy. By bringing on managers who can establish positive, long-term relationships, you set your program up for more effective campaigns.

    Influencer marketing managers are key to maximizing your influencer strategy

    What are your aspirations for your influencer marketing program? As you build and expand your team, consider where you want to go, and what (or who) it will take to get there. Delegating a responsibility as hefty as influencer marketing onto your social media manager’s shoulders could lead to burnout—and prevent your brand from tapping into its full potential.

    When you bring an influencer marketing manager on board, find someone who’s comfortable in the world of social, is passionate about working with influencers and has the hard skills needed to be successful. Then, watch the seeds they plant with influencers blossom into winning partnerships.

    Looking for more influencer marketing resources? Check out the 2024 Influencer Marketing Benchmarks Report to measure your influencer campaigns against other industry players and set meaningful ROI expectations.

    The post Why it’s time to hire an influencer marketing manager appeared first on Sprout Social.

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