Yes, Your Brand Needs a Director of Influence - Social Studies
Yes, Your Brand Needs a Director of Influence

Yes, Your Brand Needs a Director of Influence

By Meredith Bodgas and Brandon Perlman

You know by now influencers are everywhere (hey, it’s why we exist, #blessed), but did you know the number of FTEs who manage them is on the rise too? This isn’t a coincidence. We saw the same thing happen about a decade ago around the rise of social media. Once brands realized that this was a 24/7/365 need and not just a tactic they had to staff accordingly and voila, the Social Media Manager and Director of Social Media was born. 

For influencer marketing and the $20bn a year it represents, investing in this role can lead to huge returns and efficiencies. Businesses earn more than $5 for every $1 they spend on influencer marketing, according to a 2019 survey by Influencer Marketing Hub. They also found that the top companies get back $20 for every dollar–and you better believe there is dedicated headcount overseeing that effort. 

The proof: There are more than 24,000 LinkedIn members with “influencer” in their job title as of November 2020, a 12 percent YOY increase according to LinkedIn’s internal data, and more than 450 current job openings related to influencer. As for managers specifically, a 2017 search on Glassdoor pulled up 10 open influencer marketing manager jobs in New York City alone. Search for those keywords in NYC on Glassdoor in 2020, and you get nearly three times as many open roles–even in the midst of a pandemic-induced recession. Whether the opportunities are listed as influencer campaign managers, influencer marketing directors, and executives or influencer relationship managers, they generally all have the same responsibilities.

What Do Directors of Influence Do?

In short, nearly everything ranging from high-level strategy to day-to-day execution. It varies by level, employer, and industry, but some specifics in all of these roles include:

  • research, discovery, and communications with on-brand influencers 
  • campaign strategy, execution, and management
  • setting success metrics, ROI tracking, analytics, and reporting
  • managing budgets
  • negotiation and right management 
  • creative strategy and brand briefs
  • reviewing contracts and ensuring all deliverables are executed
  • creating, editing, and trafficking social content to stakeholders
  • designing and running paid media tests and performance optimization
  • ensuring adherence to FTC, brand and competitive guidelines

Extra Credit for:

  • working with and managing agencies such as Social Studies, to do the above for large-scale or high-priority campaigns that require more support than a single person can provide
  • pre-sales ideation and pitching to clients, for managers at agencies or on the social media/publisher side
  • affiliate / loyalty marketing
  • performance media
  • CRM and Email experience

Who Hires Directors of Influence?

Nearly everyone. From 21st century beauty and fashion startups such as FabFitFun and Revolve, to storied retail and entertainment behemoths such as Walmart and Spotify, influencer manager jobs aren’t limited to a certain size, company, or industry. They are, however, most common across lifestyle brands, the beauty-, fashion-, food-, travel- and home-focused spaces. But tech, finance, healthcare, entertainment and media companies also offer these roles, as do advertising, PR and marketing agencies. While it’s unlikely that a 10-person organization would have an influencer manager as one of the first hires, a savvy DTC company or any company targeting Gen Z might hire one when they get to, say, 20 staffers, says Social Studies founder and CEO Brandon Perlman. 

What Departments Do Directors of Influence Report Into?

In companies that are well established in the influencer realm, there might be a whole dedicated team which usually ladders up to social media or marketing as a whole. In smaller organizations, they could be a one-person show reporting into marketing or sometimes comms/PR. 

What Background Do Directors of Influence Have?

No colleges we could find offer any sort of major focused on influencer marketing (yet), but the most relevant fields are marketing, branding and talent management–influencers can be big personalities who require some hand-holding yet with a healthy degree of deference. Communications, journalism, advertising and public relations backgrounds are applicable too because those folks understand effective messaging. Even media planning/buying, account management and recruitment can be helpful, given those are all part of the gig. No matter the prior experience, expert understanding of social media and emerging platforms is essential. Influencer managers need to know which tools are available to get eyeballs on their content and which kinds of creators and content resonate with people using those networks.  

How Much Do Influencer Managers Make?

There’s a wide range. Glassdoor estimates salaries are as low as $27,000 for junior positions at smaller companies and up to $170,000 for senior positions at wildly successful companies. 

So how can you hire one for your company? We’ve done the hard work for you: After scanning dozens of recent influencer manager job listings, we’ve created an aggregate of the must-have experience and the must-do tasks for a posting that’ll make the right professionals apply to your posting. [Click to download]. Yes, you’ll have to make room in your budget, but when you onboard someone with this particular set of skills–and give them this particular set of responsibilities–you’ll be much closer to campaigns and programs that lead to shattering previous revenue records.

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