Nico Sarti: Influencer marketing will become standard practice in 2018

Nico Sarti: Influencer marketing will become standard practice in 2018

Nico Sarti, TVC Group’s head of digital strategy, discusses why brands should be using influencers, where to find the best brand advocates and his “influencer to watch” for 2018.

Micro influencers were a hot topic in 2017. But what are the advantages of working with micro influencers over more traditional media channels?

The growth of social networks generated a lot of noise around the conversations that really matter to consumers, and brands struggled to get their point across solely organically.

Micro influencers are a great solution to get your brand story across, in a way that engages consumers. It is like hiring a specialist or a consultant to make a point.

How should brands go about identifying the best influencers for them?

Brands should look at their existing platforms first and foremost. A brand’s best fan is the most effective micro influencer you can hire.

Alternatively, marketers should invest in tools that can analyse conversations around your brand’s passion points and start from there. Any truly passionate individual with an active following on social should be considered a micro-influencer.

How do you expect the way brands work with influencers to evolve in 2018? Are you expecting more sophisticated, multi-channel campaigns?

Absolutely, yes. The sector is moving from a classic single channel approach to a much more complex way of driving consumers through the marketing funnel.

At TVC, we work with influencers in an open and collaborative way, incentivising their creativity about how to promote content for our clients. We have already seen micro influencers becoming a more relevant way of building large scale marketing programmes and we are certainly expecting this to become standard practice.

What would you say to a brand manager who is hesitant about giving an influencer the freedom to put their own creative spin on a story?

Authenticity is certainly one of the main points of engagement for consumers and the secret to creating successful branded content across micro influencer platforms is to build a cohesive way of working. Micro influencers are passionate individuals and we need to brief them on our desired outcome while allowing them to bring in a point of view.

In the first stage of the planning, establish whether the micro-influencer you want to partner with would be interested in buying the product or service you are selling. If that’s the case then there is no need to worry about authenticity, as this individual will be in the same shoes as the consumer.

If they aren’t interested in the product, don’t push content for the sake of it, otherwise the community you built around your brand over years might feel disaggregation too.

What’s your take on the distinction between paid and earned influencer content? And how can brands earn influencer engagement?

The earned influencer piece is a matter of time. If a brand is able to create a “network” of trusted influencers more than a list of payees, then it will gain the trust of these individuals.

It isn’t easy in an economy where products and campaigns are usually tactical and short-term focused. But large brands such as Nike, Adidas and Domino’s have created a long-term plan when it comes to influencers. A number of established key opinion leaders who feel nurtured by these brands, as if they were part of a club. That’s how you build earned influencer engagement.

Finally, can you name a new influencer whose career you think will take off in 2018?

Rufus Exton is an adventurer and influencer with a true knowledge within his field and topics. I think he is a one to watch as he really knows how to produce content and engage with an ultra-connected community. If I had to bet on anyone for 2018 it would be on him.

Nico Sarti is one of five influencer marketing experts Cision interviewed for ‘Why every brand should be using influencers in 2018. Download the full paper now using the form below.

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