Influencer marketing has been huge in 2018 and the trend is set to continue into 2019 and beyond. Influencer marketing is one of the most popular methods employed by brands to promote their products and services and it works well in all sectors. It is achieved by connecting with well-known thought-leaders, celebrities and industry figureheads with a prominent social media or online presence. There have been plenty of articles written about the need to do influencer marketing and the benefits of employing this strategy. But how do you do influencer marketing and how can you find your perfect influencer?
Influencer Marketing – The Latest Stats
If you’re still in any doubt as to the importance of influencer marketing let’s take a quick look at the latest stats. Influencer marketing isn’t going away, in fact, brands are heavily increasing their influencer marketing budgets for the coming year.
· 57% of companies now use influencers as part of their marketing mix while 21% are planning to add this to their strategy in the coming year.
· 70% of Teens Trust Influencers More than Traditional Celebrities
· Influencer Marketing Campaigns Earn $6.50 for Every Dollar Spent
· Facebook is the most influential social media channel. 19% of consumer purchase decisions are influenced by Facebook posts.
· 67% of marketers plan to increase their budgets in the next 12 months particularly on Instagram.
· Influencer marketing is leveraged by big brands like Pepsi, H&M, and Walmart
How much does influencer marketing cost?
When we hear the words influencer marketing, our thoughts automatically go to the glitzy world of celebrities. Indeed, many big brands are using celebrities to help them promote their products. But if you want to use A-List celebs, be prepared to have a large bank balance at the ready.
· Kylie Jenner reportedly charges $1 million USD per Instagram post
· Kim Kardashian charges $250,000 per post
· Selena Gomez charges $800,000 per post
For most brands, these figures are unattainable, but this is only one side of influencer marketing. The good news is there are many kinds of influencers across the various sectors and different ways to work with them. In fact, studies show that non-celebrity influencers are 10 times more likely to drive in-store purchases. Let’s delve into how you can find an influencer for your brand.
Your Influencer Marketing Strategy
Before you start contacting influencers, let’s look at your influencer marketing strategy. You will need to have a plan in place, so you can set realistic expectations and an agreement when you do find your influencer. Here are some points you should consider.
· What do you expect to get from your influencer?(social media engagement, web traffic, referrals etc)
· How successful have influencers been in the past? (later you will want to see stats such as conversion numbers)
· Does the influencer match your brand?(if you’re a tech brand, do you want an influencer known for high fashion?)
· Will you provide the content or will the influencer?
· Which channel do you want them to work with?
· Are there any risks?(think about the influencers previous reputation and stability)
· Can the influencer also work with competitive brands?
· Hone your brand’s message and know how an influencer will help to convey it.
· Look at your influencer’s previous sponsored product posts and check out the comments section. (does their audience respond well to promotional posts?)
How To Approach Influencers
In influencer marketing terms, influencers are categorised in three ways. Macro Influencers, Mid Level Influencersand Micro Influencers. How you approach influencers will depend on which category they fall into. Let’s look at the three categories and some best practices.
#1 Macro Influencers
We discussed Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian earlier in the article. These ladies are both macro influencers and dominate the social media sphere. Justin Bieber is another macro influencer with a following of over 105 million on Twitter. Justin has performed influencer marketing duties for brands like Calvin Klein in the past.
Pros of using a Macro Influencer
Macro influencers have the power to sell products, surge your social media following, boost your web traffic and get your brand name known around the world in an instant. When designer watch brand Daniel Wellington cooperated with celebrity influencer Kendall Jenner, this is what happened to their stats:
Cons of using a Macro Influencer
The obvious disadvantage of working with a macro influencer is the cost. Unless your brand is a charity or Not For Profit (NFP), there is little chance of snagging a macro influencer for free. Macro influencers will often accept gifts or products in return for promoting your brand. Mariah Carey, for example, mentioned Airbnb on Instagram when they let her stay in a $22 million home during her trip to Aspen Colorado! The other downside is the possible bad behaviour or negative media attention of a macro influencer. Nightclub brawls, breakups and even illegal drug taking have been known to instantly tarnish an influencer’s reputation. Would you want your brand associated with that?
Tips For Enchanting A Macro Influencer
· Do your research before you approach your macro influencer. Understand their likes and dislikes and prepare a proposal illustrating how your brand will complement their public persona.
· Have your legal team draw up some terms. If you’re going to be spending that kind of money, you will want a water tight agreement ready and waiting.
· Know their costs. Most macro influencers work with media savvy agents and whilst there may be room for negotiation, haggling could massively backfire on your brand.
· Send beautiful product gifts before you make your offer. Many macro influencers are charmed by products and have been known to warm to brands following the gifting. Be sure to send your best and beautifully presented products to your chosen influencer.
· Handle any negotiations via their agent or publicist. Macro influencer rarely respond to direct tweets or emails as they receive thousands every day.
· If you’re not sure who to contact, there are celebrity contact info databases you can use such as this one.
#2 Mid Level Influencers
Mid level influencers usually have an audience of between 50,000 and 200,000. They are not in the mega millions like the macro influencers, but they have usually worked with top brands.
Pros of using a mid level influencer
Mid level influencers are more cost effective than their macro competitors. Mid-level influencers still maintain an impressive reach and may have more time for engagement with their fans. For example, if someone comments on their post, there’s a chance they’ll reply. They are also less likely to appear on the front page of a tabloid magazine having been caught out doing something that might damage your brand. Mid-level influencers may be more open to alternative monetary deals such as a creative partnership. A creative partnership means that the influencer gets a percentage of the profit from the sale of their collaboration. A good example is the partnershipbetween Lacer Headwear and musician/producer Pretty Lights.After Pretty Lights posted a picture of the Lacer Headwear cap, 150 pieces of the same hat were sold to his fans. Within two hours of being endorsed by this celebrity representative, Lacer Headwear sold out.
Cons of using a mid level influencer
If a creative partnership is not possible, then you may find that mid-level influencers can still be pricey because they’re in high demand. Mid level influencers don’t always have an agent either, so capturing their attention may be a challenge.
Tips for enchanting a mid level influencer
· Get your legal or business team to draw up some possible pay-per-sale, pay-per lead, or pay-per-engagementdeals so your mid level influencer has a choice.
· Follow your influencer on their social media platforms prior to making an offer and observe their engagements, interactions and most popular posts.
· Sending products can work better with mid level influencers but remember that this won’t guarantee exposure. If you don’t have a ton of spare merchandise to give away, get in touch with the influencer first to discuss the possibilities of a promotional post.
· Include the mid level influencer in a blog post, tweet or Insta post. For example, a blog entitled “Top 10 Tech Influencers” with a short paragraph on each will allow you to tag all 10 influencers. Or, if you really want one in particular, arrange an exclusive interview that will benefit the influencer.
· Consider an agreement where you can help the influencer or work together. Mid level influencers are more flexible so you may be able to negotiate.
· Do your research into their philanthropic alignment. Many mid-level influencers support charities or causes and this may be a point at which you can bond. Perhaps your brand can contribute to their chosen charity or provide products or support for a cause.
· Provide a brief to tell your chosen influencer about your brand and what you represent. Creating a synergy between yourself and your influencer in this is more likely to lead to a successful collaboration.
#3 Micro Influencers
Micro influencers tend to have a small, niche following of 10,000 or less. Whilst they are not celebrities in the traditional sense, they may be well known and respected in their field. Underestimating micro influencers would be a mistake as their reach, engagement and pulling power is often very high.
Pros of using a micro influencer
The social media followers of micro influencers are close-knit, loyal community members. They are often following for valuable insights, thought leadership, inspiration and education. This means that micro influencers are less likely to demand high payments for posts or want to tout products on their page. Remember too, that 10,000 real, engaged fans are more valuable than 200,000 bots, something known to happen in the celebrity world. Indeed, a recent study showed that choosing a niche influencer with 1000-10,000 followers can bring in more than four times the level of consumer engagement.Expect a high level of integrity and be prepared for a more meaningful influencer marketing agreement.
Audible, Amazon’s audiobook and podcast division, partnered with photographer Jesse Driftwood (@jessedriftwood) above who posted a photo of himself using Audible.
Although Jesse had under 100,000 followers, Audible realised that his fans are loyal and engaged. “His simple anecdote makes followers feel as if they’re receiving an authentic suggestion from a friend,” says Harley Schachter, president and founder of Travel Mindset.
Cons of using a micro influencer
There are very few cons associated with micro influencers. The only obvious one is that your product is less likely to be instantly catapulted onto the pages of Vogue or to go viral overnight. This however is balanced by a much lower cost, lower reputation risk factors and a much easier route to accessing the influencer.
Tips for enchanting a micro influencer
· Retweet micro influencers, comment on their work and become a loyal member of their community.
· Reach out to them directly for a statement or interview to include on your blog. Be sure to backlink to them and include a relevant and up to date bio.
· Discuss the possibilities of collaborating for the greater good. Can they help you with a charitable endeavour you’re sponsoring or at the launch of a new product?
· Describe how your offer fits with them and their niche audience. What would be the benefits for them in backing your campaign?
· Micro influencers are often keen to get backlinks or high-profile PR. Consider offering them the opportunity to appear in a high-end PR piece which you will fund.
More Tips for Working With Influencers
· Don’t send out a mass email- This may seem obvious, but many companies forget to personalise their offering when reaching out to influencers. Remember that influencers receive thousands of emails every day so yours needs to stand out.
· Be prepared to embrace a lack of creative control – You won’t get to dictate the way your influencer writes or engages with their audience. Be sure that you love their style and be happy to take a back seat.
· Set a brief – Be ready to prepare an easy to read content marketing brief and brand style guide for your influencer.But remember if they veer too far from their usual output their audience will notice.
· Plan your own marketing activities – Are you just going to pay a celebrity 250,000 for an Insta post and then that’s it? Think about how you can tie this into a greater campaign. Perhaps as part of a storytelling series or social media campaign.
· Think about analytics- Do you have a media monitoring service ready to track engagement? Will you be tracking click throughs from your influencer’s activity? Failure to do this in advance will mean you never fully understand the ROI for your influencer marketing expenditure.
Are you ready to begin an influencer marketing campaign? Moondust works with leading brands and has the content marketing and social media experience to get you started. Contact the team here.