In a marketplace in which consumer choice is virtually limitless and brand loyalty is fickle, building a relationship with your consumers is essential – which is tricky when consumers seemingly grow more skeptical of marketing messages every year.

To contend with this, more and more brands have looked to influencer marketing to act as the middleman between them and their audience. Like a mutual friend, influencers offer brands and their marketing teams the social proof they need to get their messages across. They vouch for them. And with consumers statistically more inclined to trust influencers than brands, this endorsement can be invaluable.

However, it is not as simple as ‘doing’ influencer marketing and then waiting for the sales to roll in. The way you approach the channel can have a significant impact on the level of success you enjoy, from the influencers you use to the content you deploy.

But before we get bogged down in the details, you need to decide how you’ll be factoring influencers into your marketing calendar. So in this article we’re going to look at two of the most foundational ways brands tackle the channel: campaign-based and always-on.

Short-term tactics

For as long as influencers have been a viable marketing channel, brands have generally opted for a campaign-based or one-off approach to their activations. Influencer content would consist of either a single ad or short-term, periodic campaigns generally geared towards specific promotions or consumer periods – things like new product launches or the festive season.

The reasons behind these approaches’ popularity have largely been rooted in their perceived simplicity; with clear start and end dates, resource requirements are easy to define and outcomes supposedly easier to trace.

And for a long time, influencer activations built with this short-term approach were absolutely effective. In a new channel with wide-eyed audiences and followers still enamoured with all things influencer, it was all too easy for brands to put out an ad once a quarter and then call it a day, basking in the click-throughs and increased brand awareness that they brought, however ephemeral.

However, as social media has become more and more saturated and consumer cynicism has increased, many brands have found it harder to cut through the noise using a single influencer ad or one month-long campaign. While this approach is still regularly employed, brands who do rely on them will likely find their results increasingly underwhelming, potentially putting them off of future investments in the channel and therefore mistakenly closing a valuable (or even essential) revenue stream.

The always-on strategy

Now the always-on approach, on the other hand, does what it says on the tin. It relies on prolonged, sustained engagement with the channel and through it, your target audience. By adopting this strategy brands are committing to the long-haul, signing up for months if not years of influencer activations and deploying them even in traditionally low seasons or outside of product cycles. Now, at best this might sound counterintuitive and at worst like a lot of unnecessary work, wh