Expert Advice for Successful Influencer Marketing

By Phase 3
May 09, 2024


Last March, we posted a blog about The Evolution of Influencer Marketing. In it, we mentioned that brands spent more than $16 billion on influencer marketing in 2022. The total spend was expected to grow by 23.4% and 15.9% year-over-year in 2023 and 2024. We also highlighted how essential authentic influencer marketing had become to many brand marketing campaigns due to consumer demand.

We said, “Consequently, influencer marketing has shifted along with the attitudes of the consumer. These days, influencer marketing involves consumers seeking product reviews from social media content creators whose values they align with and whom they aspire to be like. Today’s influencer marketing is based on trust and aspiration.”

Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said,  "There is nothing permanent except change." In other words, change is a natural and inevitable part of life (and business). Building on that notion, let's review what happened in influencer marketing since our last post. Then, we'll discuss how we assist our clients in navigating the current trends.


State of Influencer Marketing in 2024

The State of Influencer Marketing 2024: Benchmark Report  says the industry will be worth about $24 billion by the end of 2024. According to the source, the survey "summarizes the thoughts of more than 3,000 marketing agencies, brands, and other relevant professionals regarding the current state of influencer marketing, along with some predictions of how people expect it to move over the next year and into the future." Here are the highlights.

85% of the survey respondents think influencer marketing is "effective", an increase from last year; and many are doubling down. 60% of the brands that budget for influencer marketing report that they intend to increase their budget this year.

The survey respondents were highly optimistic about the value of influencer marketing. 83.8% believe that the quality of customers earned through influencer marketing campaigns is better than other marketing campaigns. A similar number (84.8%) also said they believe influencer marketing is an effective form of marketing.

Clearly, the companies engaging in influencer marketing are happy with their results. They plan to continue and even expand their campaigns in 2024 and beyond. The bottom line is this: Savvy marketers recognize the power of powerful influencer marketing.

From this research, we extrapolate that more brands will be interested in jumping on the influencer marketing bandwagon this year due to the success they witness from their competitors. In fact, our PR strategy team often receives requests for influencer marketing campaigns from current and new clients. The rest of this post will highlight the advice we share with clients on the best ways to approach an influencer marketing campaign given the trends we are seeing for this year and the years to come.




Insight #1: Choose an Influencer that Aligns with Your Brand's Target Demographic and Values

Not every company needs a celebrity like Ben Affleck to hype their products (Dunkin). The most successful influencer partnerships are based on shared values and audiences rather than follower count. When choosing an influencer partner, consider these elements to ensure a good fit.


Define Your Target Audience  

Before you even begin to develop an influencer strategy, have a clear understanding of who your target audience is. This audience may be a segment of your customer base based on the goals of your campaign or the channel you plan to use. Pinpoint these customers by their demographics, interests, needs, and pain points. Also, review their preferred communication channels and current engagement with your brand. The more you understand your target audience, the easier it will be to find an influencer that will successfully speak to and engage with that audience.


Define Your Goals

Ensure you are clear about what you want from an influencer partnership. Understand what success looks like and, from there, produce a strategy around the campaign. Establish metrics to measure results regularly as the campaign unfolds and share those metrics with your influencer partner.


Research Influencers Who Fit Your Brand's Niche

The best partners will be influencers who publish content that fits your brand and target audience. The content may be similar to your brand’s content or speak to a certain interest or pain point shared by your target audience. In the next section, we'll discuss the strategies and tools you can use to analyze a potential partner's fit.


Consider a Potential Partner's Brand Values

Credibility is essential to a successful influencer marketing campaign. Align with influencers who share your brand's values. Look for influencers who promote authenticity, transparency, and trustworthiness in their content. Ensure their values are in line with yours to ensure a successful and authentic partnership.

It is also critical that the influencer’s values and persona align with those of your audience; otherwise, you may damage your brand. Anheuser-Busch made this mistake when contracting with Dylan Mulvaney to promote Bud Light. Loyal consumers of the brand did not understand the partnership and did not connect with this influencer, and the campaign failed spectacularly. Bud Light’s sales dropped 23% in the month following. Clearly, the most successful collaborations have a natural connection based on a foundation of shared values.




Insight #2: Use Tools and Strategies to Determine a Good Fit

Smart marketers combine digital platforms and data-driven strategies to evaluate potential influencer partners.


Analyze Audience Demographics

Once you've identified potential influencers, take a closer look at their audience demographics by reviewing their social media channels. Ensure their followers are like your target demographic in age, location, interests, and values. Choose influencers with a strong following of people who may be interested in your brand or are already customers.

Most influencers offer a media kit as an additional resource for learning more about their audience. You can also use certain social media listening tools to track brand conversations and discover influencers already engaging with your brand. These influencers may also be discussing relevant topics in their own content. These tools analyze influencer performance metrics and audience sentiment to determine their suitability for partnership. Examples include Brandwatch, Mention, and Emplifi.


Check their Follower Counts and Engagement Rates

A large following doesn't always mean high engagement. Review an influencer's engagement rates to see how well their audience interacts with their content. Also, pay attention to what kind of content is most engaging for their audience. High levels of engagement indicate that the influencer has a loyal and active following who are likely to act on their recommendations.

In fact, the State of Influencer Marketing 2024: Benchmark Report states that 44% of the respondents chose nano-influencers (1K-10K followers) as their most likely partners, followed by 25.7% partnering with micro-influencers (10K-100K). Only 17.4% plan on using macro-influencers (100K-1M), and 13% will partner with mega / celebrity influencers.

Of course, one reason for this is the expense of partnering with a celebrity. Yet, it's also true that influencers with smaller followings have far higher engagement rates than the more famous influencers. They are almost always a better value for brands trying to reach a particular target audience.

Several platforms measure engagement rates based on follower count, allowing you to assess the effectiveness of influencers regardless of their audience size. These include HypeAuditor, Social Blade, and Upfluence.


Evaluate Past Collaborations 

You can learn a lot about an influencer by reviewing the type of content they produced for past collaborations and how it performed. You want to choose partners that produce high-quality content that feels genuine.

Digital platforms curate content from influencers across various social media channels. They categorize the content based on topics, trends, and engagement levels. These platforms help marketers discover influencers whose content aligns with their campaign objectives and brand values. Examples of these platforms include BuzzSumo, Trendspottr, and Feedly.


Influencer Marketing Platforms

Influencer marketing platforms act as marketplaces to connect brands with influencers. Brands can search for influencers based on specific criteria, such as audience demographics and niche. They can also review influencers' engagement rates and follower counts. These platforms often provide tools for campaign management, performance tracking, and influencer communication, in addition to research and discovery. Examples include AspireIQ, Traackr, and


Insight #3: Nurture Authentic Relationships with Your Chosen Influencers

So, how can you ensure that your partnership with influencers feels genuine? As we mentioned above, start with research. Then, approach a possible collaborator with a personalized proposal that benefits them and your brand.


Stand Out from the Crowd

Influencers (especially the more well-known influencers) receive dozens of collaboration requests daily. When reaching out, it’s critical to do your homework, understand the influencer and stay on brand with their interests, audience, and the types of collaborations they engage in.

For example, an influencer might post that their favorite cocktail is a spicy margarita. Reaching out and asking about a collaboration with a tequila brand shows that you’ve taken a personal interest in them. This approach helps your request stand out from the sea of emails an influencer receives. Putting thought and strategy behind influencer partnerships will make them more successful and open the door to creating ongoing, authentic relationships.




The Fairlane Hotel 

Our team recently worked with local and national lifestyle influencers and television personalities like Shannon Ford and Mary Lawless Lee to promote The Fairlane Hotel's outstanding decor. We chose these influencers because they are interested in interior design and aesthetics. By engaging influencers with interests and followers that align with The Fairlane Hotel's brand story, we generated considerable awareness of the hotel through organic social media activity.

Influencer marketing is not a one-size-fits-all strategy. There are many tactics, channels, and approaches to influencer marketing. Tailor your plan to your influencers.


Communication and Transparency are Key 

Communicate your brand values, goals, and expectations to the influencer. Maintain an open dialogue during the partnership. This ensures that both parties are on the same page and that your partnership feels genuine to the influencer's audience. Also, if it's easy to communicate with you and the influencer has a positive experience, they'll want to continue working together!


Collaborate on Content Creation

Rather than simply dictating the content you want your influencer to create, work collaboratively to develop content that feels authentic and resonates with both parties' values. The influencer understands their audience and has a sense of what type of content performs well on their platforms. Consequently, the resulting content will be engaging and relevant to the influencer's audience. Remember, their followers see their content daily, so they know if the content looks or feels different. However, you also want to ensure the content tells your brand story and inspires viewers to engage with your brand. Collaboration helps the content feel genuine.


Back to the Hairline Hotel 

During the Fairlane Hotel campaign, we invited influencers to the hotel for their photo shoots. The influencers promoted the hotel and its food and beverage concepts on social media. Each influencer worked with both our staff and the hotel staff to create design-focused content within the hotel that appealed to their audience.

One benefit of building an authentic relationship with an influencer is that it often leads to long-term partnerships. This can be highly profitable for both the brand and the influencer.


Insight #4: Focus on Long-term Partnerships 

A recent Forbes article reported that brands are increasingly favoring long-term collaborations with the same influencers over one-off campaigns with various ones.

Focusing on a long-term relationship with an influencer fosters audience trust and engagement. Some followers may not be sold on one-off partnerships. When they see their favorite influencer regularly using and promoting a brand, they gain confidence in the collaboration. They trust the influencer's feedback as genuine. This consumer confidence nurtures long-term engagement for the influencer. It can also result in a satisfied customer for your brand.




Chateau Elan

Chateau Elan was looking to gain awareness and reposition itself as the go-to destination in North Georgia. Tapping our strong long-term relationships with media and influencers, Phase 3 has secured 133 national, regional, and local press hits, 12 media visits, and 10 influencer visits since starting work in May 2021. The influencers helps us earn press coverage from Southern Living, Garden & Gun, HGTV, Thrillist, Atlanta Business Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and more. Our influencer partners will keep generating results for the resort as they create and publish more content.


Insight #5: Manage the Rising Cost of Influencer Marketing 

As a brand, the goal used to be to secure non-paid influencer partnership opportunities. However, the influencer landscape is ever-changing. The State of Influencer Marketing 2024: Benchmark Report found that noticeably more brands are paying their influencers—40.8% offer monetary payment, either as a flat rate or as a percentage of campaign sales, while the remainder offer free or discounted products and services, and perks such as trips.

This makes consistently evaluating campaign costs and measuring ROI vital. It's also important to ensure that audience trust in your brand is not hurt by using sponsored content. That's why focusing on engagement metrics is also crucial.


Insight #6: Focus on Engagement Metrics

Site traffic and likes are wonderful but don't tell a complete story. A successful campaign involves followers taking action, such as sharing content or clicking a Buy Now button. For best results, generate unique links in each campaign to track engagement. To receive the most complete view, ask your influencers to share their social media analytics from the campaign. Their brand growth can be tied to yours.

The Forbes article identified the trend of using advanced analytics beyond likes and views to evaluate influencer campaigns. New tools offer tracking on deeper engagement activities, such as the time a consumer watches a video and tracking clicks to an online sale. These innovations allow you to understand your ROI in influencer marketing campaigns better.


Insight #7: Evaluate EMV as ROI

54.3% of the respondents to the State of Influencer Marketing Benchmark Report state that they measure the success of an influencer marketing campaign by views, reach, or impressions, 23.5% measure engagement or clicks, and 22.1% measure conversions/sales. While these metrics are necessary measures of an influencer's reach and appeal, they are not measures of your return on investment (ROI).

The report identifies Earned Media Value (EMV) as a good measure of influencer campaigns' ROI. They define EMV as “a proxy for the returns on the posts that an influencer has historically given the firms they have worked with.”

Calculate EMV by estimating the cost of similar exposure through paid advertising or marketing. Determine the equivalent advertising value of coverage your brand receives via an influencer campaign. Your results are based on factors such as the size of the audience reached, the prominence of the placement, and the typical cost of similar advertising placements.

The data needed to measure EMV may be challenging to find. Full-service PR and marketing agencies like Phase 3 have the tools and expertise to help clients understand campaign performance and develop precise data-driven strategies. For example, we calculate Chateau Elan’s ROI to be $7.2 million and climbing.


Coming Back Around to The Future of Influencer Marketing 

Even as the market evolves, one thing remains steadfast: trust. Trust is the cornerstone of successful influencer-brand partnerships. Building authentic connections with influencers and aligning with their values is still paramount to achieving impactful campaign results.

What is evolving is the number of brands recognizing the ROI of influencer marketing. These brands are doubling down on the strategy by increasing their budget for this year and engaging more targeted influencers.

At Phase 3, we understand the significance of authentic influencer partnerships in driving successful campaigns. Our team helps clients achieve results by aligning with influencers who match their target audience and values. We evaluate fit and performance and create authentic relationships with every influencer.

Influencer marketing is evolving. Staying ahead of competitors, adapting to trends, and maintaining brand credibility is essential. Whether you're a seasoned marketer looking to optimize your influencer strategy or a newcomer seeking guidance on entering the influencer marketing space, Phase 3 is here to support you every step of the way.

Contact the Phase 3 team today to explore how we can elevate your influencer marketing efforts and generate success for your brand in 2024 and beyond.