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Influencer Marketing Run-Down


Unless you have been living under a rock with Patrick Star, you are well aware of the change of marketing throughout the years. In past years, people used quality commercials and traditional celebrities to boost engagement and get revenue. Influencers are in the spotlight right now when it comes to partnerships with organizations doing marketing campaigns. To pull off an effective influencer marketing campaign you need to work with the right social media influencers. For example, James Charle’s collaboration with Morphe. Influencer marketing is a form of collaboration. A business collaborates with an influential person to promote something. It could be a product, service, or campaign. The right influencer can reach your target audience, build trust, and drive engagement. Celebrity endorsements were the original form of influencer marketing. An early example of this can be found in Jay-Z’s collaboration with Reebok in the early 2000s. Making Reebok the first brand to sign a shoe-deal with a non-athlete. The shoe was called the S-Carter shoe.


In today’s digital world, social content creators with niche audiences can often offer more value to brands. These people have dedicated and engaged groups of followers on social media. They are known simply as “social media influencers.” or just influencers. According to, eMarketer, More than two-thirds of North American retailers use some form of influencer marketing. Also, almost half of US and UK digital marketers spend at least 10% of their marketing communication budget on influencer marketing. According to polling by Retail TouchPoints for referral marketing platform Extole, 31% of retailers said they have worked with brand advocates to become influencers, 30% used micro-influencers and 28% used paid celebrity influencers. A survey found that 34% of daily U.S. Instagram users bought something because a blogger or influencer recommended it. Instagram is the platform of choice for social influencers. 89% of marketers identify it as one of the most important channels for influencer marketing. Think of Instagram as an influencer’s portfolio. However, don’t ignore the other platforms.


Resonance


Let’s talk resonance. This is the potential level of engagement the influencer can create with an audience relevant to your brand. Let’s get this straight: bigger does not always equal better. A huge follower doesn’t really matter if their following doesn’t want what you have to offer. Your influencer campaign can’t be all things to all people. An effective strategy requires you to speak to the right people using the right tools. It may be better to find an influencer that is involved in your niche.


Niche influencers can have very dedicated and engaged followers. A smaller follower count can be very powerful if it’s a niche area. Tapinfluence found that engagement rates are often higher for “micro-influencers.” Micro-influencers have 5,000 to 25,000 followers. Iron Roots Inc. believes that return on investment for employing micro-influencers will be almost always better than it would be for employing “real celebrities.” Consumers are now looking for ways to feel personally connected to those that are driving their purchasing decisions (influencers). Iron Roots Inc. suggests that the essence of why influencers sell a product better than traditional celebrities is that people are more inclined to trust people who seem more “real” to them — who seem more relatable, and whose achievements seem somewhat attainable to the user. Micro-influencers are a perfect way to see high engagement with your brand, and offer the element of trust that consumers are looking for.


The latest development is the emergence of nano-influencers. These influencers can have as few as 1,000 followers, but their word is gold to their dedicated fans. Developing audience personas is a great way to make sure you understand who you’re trying to reach. Once you’ve done that, create a matching set of influencer personas. This will help you understand the qualities you’re looking for in your influencers.


Engagement


Now that you understand the importance of working with niche influencers, let’s dive into engagement. Engagement should come into play once you have identified your niche and niche influencers. Your audience must trust and respect the opinion of the influencers you partner with. Without the trust component, any results will be superficial. You’ll struggle to see a tangible business impact from your efforts.


How do you tell if your potential influencer is trusted? Engagement. You want to see plenty of views, likes, comments, and shares. Specifically, you want to see these from the precise follower segments you’re trying to reach. A good engagement rate also means a loyal following, rather than an inflated follower count bolstered by bots and fraud accounts. When looking for the right influencer you need to find someone who’s producing content with a look and feel that complements your own. The tone must also be appropriate for the way you want to present your brand to potential customers. This will ensure things don’t feel disjointed in either party’s social media posts. For example, cook and photographer Dennis Prescott (@dennistheprescott) has a very identifiable photography style. It works really well for his partnership with Traeger Grills. When Traeger Grills reposts his content on their own feed, it fits in seamlessly with their other meat-forward content. See how it works?


Keep an eye out for sponsorship saturation. It can make your following agitated and bored. Take a look at what your potential influencers are posting. How often are they sharing sponsored content? Yeah. If they’re already hitting followers with tons of paid posts, their engagement rate may not last. Look for plenty of organic, non-paid content to keep followers interested, enthusiastic, and engaged. YouTuber Laura Reid recommends only having one in every five or 10 posts sponsored. Keep this in mind when thinking about what you’ll ask the influencer to post, as well. Asking for too many posts in a short timeframe will make your offer hard for the influencer to accept, even if it comes with a large paycheck. Especially, In-demand influencers because they get lots of offers. When you first approach an influencer, you’ll need to show that you’ve put in the time to learn what they do. Get to knows what their channels are about and who their audience is. Even better, start your approach slowly by interacting organically with your target influencer’s posts. Like their content. Comment when appropriate. Be appreciative, not sales-like.


Budget


Your budget affects what kind of influencers you are going to work with. Influencers with extensive reach rightly expect to be paid for their work. Free product might work with nano-influencers, but a larger influencer campaign requires a budget. Think about what kind of payment structure makes the most sense for your goals. But be willing to consider the influencer’s needs, too. For example, an affiliate or commission structure might be an option instead of a flat fee, or to reduce the flat fee. We’ve outlined the various payment models in our post on how to pay Instagram influencers. Remember that micro-influencers and nano-influencers will have more flexible payment terms. Make sure when you reach out it is private and personal. A direct message is a great place to start. If you can find an email address, try that too. But don’t send a mass email or generic DM. It may take a little longer to write a personal message to each influencer. But, it will show you’re serious about a potential partnership. This will in turn increase your chances of striking a deal. “I definitely do as much research as I can,” Kendall Jenner told the New York Times about her involvement with the legendarily doomed festival, "but sometimes there isn’t much research you can do because it’s a starting brand and you kind of have to have faith in it and hope it will work out the way people say it will.” Make it easier for influencers to trust you by providing as much information as you can about your brand. Tell them what you hope to accomplish with your Instagram campaign. Make it clear how the influencer will benefit, beyond the paycheck. Investing in influencers when done the correct way leads to great results, so be sure to stay open, but organized with your campaigns.


Creative Control


When working with influencers make sure to give up some creative control. They have their following for a reason. Most likely, they are creative people and may have some good ideas to share that will help the campaign. A social media influencer who has worked hard to build a following will not accept a deal that makes their own personal brand seem inconsistent. After all, influencers are content creation experts. You’ll get the best value from their work by allowing them to showcase those skills. A good and lighthearted example of this can be found in an episode of Emily In Paris. Emily goes to an influencer event a brand put on to promote their new product. Each influencer had a different way of posting content for the event. There was even a woman who did a split on the carpet holding a new product. Though that example is quite comedic it gives an insight into what it is really like. You can also share or cross-post content from influencers on your own channels. This helps highlight the collaboration and benefits both your brand and the influencer. Canon recently worked with micro-influencer Katja Gaskell (AKA @globetotting) to try out one of their cameras. She posted one of the photos and mentioned the partnership on her Instagram profile. But that was just the beginning. Here are some tips I have collected from hootsuite.com, “Follow the rules - before you dive into influencer marketing, it’s important to understand the rules. In the United States, those rules come from the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC takes disclosure very seriously. Make sure you build disclosure guidelines into your agreements with influencers. Influencers must identify sponsored posts. However, Truth In Advertising found that many do not do so. Some do disclose, but not in a way that meets the FTC requirements.


Here are some key points from the FTC:

  • Video reviews must include both written and verbal disclosure of the partnership. It must be within the video itself (not just the description).

  • The built-in tools on social media platforms are not enough.

  • #ad and #sponsored are great hashtags to use for disclosure. But make sure they’re highly visible and not just tacked on to the need of a long string of tags.”


Author: Lydia Hill

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