Getting Started with Influencer Marketing

Our senior marketing specialist, Alicia Hansen, is also an influencer.  She took some time to answer Chris’ questions and share some tips and tricks on how to best approach influencer marketing on the most recent episode of the Sip, Create, Repeat podcast. Now on the blog, we share the questions that came up and the answers to those questions.

How do you find influencers?

The internet is built for this. Between 1) everyone’s favorite search engine, Google, and 2) hashtags, finding influencers is not so hard. For example, in the Cleveland market, the Cleveland blogger collective started consistently using the hashtag #clevelandbloggers. Most major markets have something similar that their bloggers and influencers use regularly to share sponsored content.

When you start to search Instagram, look for accounts using the hashtags #ad or #sponsored, or with posts that have the label “paid partnership with” – these are accounts that are already partnering with brands consistently and may be open to a partnership with you. Also, make sure that the influencer you are researching and are considering is receiving solid engagement – that includes follower comments and replies to those comments. Remember: likes are good, but likes don’t pay the bills. 

 

How does one go about paying influencers?

Payment can be a clunky and an awkward topic. Some of it comes back to the old “creatives’ debacle” – how do you get paid outside of “just” exposure? As we’re well into 2020, you should recognize that content creators are some of the most important people you can partner with in terms of your digital strategy. Influencers put so much time into their craft – whether that’s shooting photos, writing amazing content or finding the right hashtags to use. Influencers are the masters at knowing how to craft a story and also spread the word about that story.

A couple of notes when it comes payment: 

  • You may be able to get away with a trade if your trade has enough value to it. For example, if you are offering VIP tickets to a concert with a meet and greet with their favorite artist, an influencer may not require a cash payment in addition.
  • Pricing will be determined based on the size of the influencer. From those with millions of followers to “micro-influencers” (those with 5,000 to 10,000 followers), rates will vary depending on how many people they reach, how many followers they have and what type of engagements their posts receive.
  • You can start by asking an influencer “what is your rate” for specific deliverables, such as blog posts, social media posts, etc.  Being as upfront as possible with your expectations allows that influencer to quote rates for those types of services just like you would receive with any other type of proposal.

 

When approaching an influencer, what are some other things to keep in mind?

  • Ask yourself, “what am I looking for by hiring an influencer?” Answers can include wanting to gain a sale, Instagram followers, website visits, or even brand awareness. 
  • Give them a timeframe – and enough time to complete it. Many make the mistake of treating influencers similarly to traditional journalists. While that type of writer and content creator is used to tight turnaround and fast deadlines, influencers typically do not operate that way. Give them time to get your project or event on their actual “in real life” calendar, not just their content calendar.
  • If you want people to visit your website to buy a product, consider giving that influencer a referral link or custom promo code to track the success that influencer is driving. It can be for a percentage off of the sale or free shipping, for example.

 

Is working with influencers only beneficial for B2C companies?

Working with influencers is not just for B2Cs – B2Bs just find ways to be more creative in the process. Start to think outside of your box and figure out new ways to get in front of people. For example, say your company is hosting a giveaway on Instagram focused at B2Bs – you can hire an influencer (in the same space as those B2Bs!) to share the giveaway to help spread the word and support your efforts. 

 

I’m just not completely sold: why should brands even consider working with influencers?

Having an influencer’s stamp of approval is the new celebrity endorsement. You no longer have to go hire an athlete. You no longer have to go hire some celebrity to speak on behalf of your brand. Hire an influencer instead as they are the mom next door, the coworker in the cubicle across the hall and the guy on your rec softball team. They are “real people” in the “real world” and ultimately, humans are looking for social proof to show someone they know and trust likes a brand and their offerings. 

That said, Cameo allows you to find celebrities to do the same thing. If you are not familiar, Cameo allows you to find talent (including well-known celebrities with strong Instagram followings!) and pay them to record a message. Companies are doing this with brand messages, which is basically a commercial for your products and services. If you have the budget, it could have a big impact on your brand.

 

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