Rob Ilas is the CEO and Founder of Promoture, an influencer marketing, full-service agency based in Los Angeles. Previously, Rob worked in e-commerce consulting, helping brands with customer service, fulfillment processes, and website design.
Promoture works with brands of all sizes, from early-day startups to Fortune 100 companies. The company focuses on data-driven approaches to influencer marketing by connecting brands with influencers specifically chosen based on their audience, interest groups, and brand affinities. This process aims to achieve maximum engagement and reach for the brand by connecting them with influencers best positioned to create influencer campaigns for them.
Creating Quality Influencer Marketing Campaigns With Rob Ilas, CEO And Founder Of Promoture
The Biggest Challenges Facing the Creator Economy
FTC concerns are a significant challenge facing brands, especially with the heavy scrutiny of recent Budlight campaigns potentially encouraging underage or binge drinking on college campuses.
Rob explains, “I think brands tend to do things that they don’t thoroughly look at all aspects of, unfortunately, so they just do things to check a box, and we need to do this, but they don’t think about the overall broader implications that could be had from it. It’s not necessarily the creator’s fault in that instance or anything, but I don’t think it was thought through.”
He adds that there will always be challenges because you’re working with humans with different personalities and perspectives. This is one of the reasons building relationships with creators is essential and why AI will never replace the human touch.
At the end of the day, building strong relationships and interacting with other humans is a marketing superpower that is irreplaceable when it comes to overcoming challenges in the creator economy.
The Evolution of the Creator Economy
The creator economy changes so quickly that ten years in the future is like a lifetime in this industry. With that said, Rob anticipates regulations, especially regulations on AI, becoming more common in the future.
He shares, “When it comes to creators, in the influencer industry in the next five years, I feel that there’s going be more consolidation with influencer agencies being bought up. There’s been a lot of acquisitions recently by brands and agencies to have their own in-house influencer platforms. I think that presents opportunities for agencies like Promoture and other smaller ones that you can do good work and potentially become a target for acquisition.”
Rob also feels that AI and technology will continue improving the workflow and communication between creators and brands, but larger projects will probably still be best done in person.
The Importance of Transparency and Authenticity in Influencer Marketing
Rob explains, “We really embrace authenticity and transparency when it comes to the relationships with the brands and the creators. I’ve always been a big believer in full disclosure, like #ad or #sponsored, following the rules. There’s a lot of brands that try to push back on that, and we’ve been doing this long enough, and we know how to advise it.”
Another good way to reduce the risk of disclosure or transparency issues is thoroughly vetting out brand offers to creators, whether you’re an agency or creator receiving offers.
Always be mindful of the creator’s audience, what the audience and creator would use, and if it aligns with their brand mission and ethos.
Influencer Marketing Case Studies
Rob shares the following example of an agency representing an extensive TV network that approached Promoture looking to engage with influencers. The TV show featured a dog and was interested in using pet influencers in the campaign.
The Promoture team connected the agency with eight pet creators to raise awareness on Instagram over the 14 days leading up to the show premiere.
He shares, “It was basically a burst campaign, so we do a bunch of content coordinated all over these accounts, and there tends to be overlap with the audiences of the pet influencers… so through this, and the awareness about the show premiere, it helped make the show a success in the network’s eye.”
The rapid release, combined with the overlapping audiences from the handful of pet influencers, ensured that the target audience was exposed repeatedly to the upcoming premiere, building greater awareness.
The Importance of Quality Content
Creators often worry about annoying their audience by taking on brand deals. However, when done well, an audience may appreciate a creator putting a unique product before them.
Rob explains, “The brand deals don’t always perform as well as regular organic content that the creators are putting on because the audience knows it’s an ad, right? But, the audience tends to appreciate when a creator puts something in front of them that they may not be aware of or that the creator absolutely loves and is passionate about.”
When creators share products they are genuinely passionate about, this can lead to massively successful results, like products selling out in a matter of minutes after the content goes live.
Engagement levels are also a huge indicator for brands of how successful a creator is at connecting with their audience and how successful a brand campaign with that influencer may be.
Marketing with Micro-Influencers
In Rob’s experience, many campaigns they coordinate involve a mixture of micro-influencers and larger influencers. This combination leads to many impressions and views from the bigger influencer.
However, larger influencers usually have lower engagement rates, so micro-influencers can counteract this by sharing a brand’s product with their loyal, niche audience.
On micro-influencers, Rob shares, “They’re the purest when it comes to if you DIY or you do your makeup, or whatever you’re known for. Those creators are working hard to build their audience bigger, but the smart ones are focused on one particular vertical for whatever the style of content is.”
He adds that the micro-creators who find what works well for them and stick within that vertical also tend to have the greatest ability to grow their channels.
Rob’s Advice for Creators
Rob advises creators to find out what they are passionate about and spend their spare time getting to know themselves. After landing on what you’re good at, work on creating content and monetizing it.
Rob shares, “I would never advise anybody just to jump ship and have no lifeline or way to pay their bills because that stuff [monetizing your content] takes time. The biggest thing that I can say is consistency. If you’re going to start and you want to build a channel and audience, your audience wants to know what you’re doing every day, so you need to be posting every day.”
Passion is also much more important than how much money you can afford to sink into becoming an influencer when it comes to having a successful influencer career.
Rob says, “As I mentioned, a lot of it is the personal touch and how we’re working with creators and influencers and brands here. To put that together and do it on an efficient basis, we have some plans to build out our platform.”