A beginner’s guide to influencer marketing

5 questions you must answer before working with online influencers

 

‘Influencer marketing’ has become a key building block in most organisations’ marketing strategy – at the end of last year, 84% of marketers surveyed said they planned on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign in 2017.

With increasing numbers of consumers now using online ad blockers (47% according to one report), companies are looking for more innovative ways to get through to potential customers online. Influencer marketing allows them to subtly sway users towards their product – by putting it into the hands of someone they trust or look up to. It offers targeted exposure to the right kind of customer, as well as a level of ‘cool’ by association with the right people. But how can you make sure your business will get the most from its influencer marketing programme? Here are a few tips.

Does their tone/style match yours?
Finding the right influencer to promote your brand can be a tricky business. It’s important that the person you choose reflects well on your brand, but equally that what you’re offering is something that sits naturally with what they are already talking about. There’s nothing more jarring than seeing a misplaced brand being promoted by someone unsuitable – it undermines the credibility of what they’re saying and it’s immediately obvious to the user that this is something that has been paid for. You’d be surprised how many organisations get this wrong from the outset – one example we can think of is a slimming brand who accidentally approached a blogger who was widely known to have an eating disorder to try their new diet. Inappropriate doesn’t cover it! The lesson here? Before you approach an influencer, do your research on them and make sure that their values reflect yours.

What are their stats like?
So you’ve found the ‘right’ influencer and you’re keen to get them on board. Hang on though – before you invest with them, are you sure you’ll be getting a solid return on investment? Will enough potential customers see it to make it worthwhile? One easy way to check how they’re doing is to run their social profiles through SocialBlade – an online tool that lets you check not just the number of followers they have, but also their engagement history. One thing to watch for is if they’ve suddenly picked up thousands of followers overnight – it may well be that they did something amazing, but equally it could be a sign that they’re using bots to boost their numbers artificially. And of course, everyone knows that bots don’t buy products.

Do they like you?
It sounds like a simple thing, but you’d be amazed how many companies overlook this one detail. Before you can work with someone, you need to know if they actually like what it is you’re offering. If they don’t, they’re unlikely to cover it favourably – or if they don’t like it but they’re happy to do it purely for the cash, is this coverage that you really want for your brand/organisation? You can get a pretty good sense of their taste and preferences from reading their blog/watching their videos, but also when you contact them, it’s worth asking if they’ve heard of/used your product before or if they use anything similar.

What’s the deal?
Before you part with any cash or product, it’s essential to scope out with the influencer exactly what the exchange is in advance. They might be happy to review your product in exchange for just a freebie, but might charge for a link to your website, for example. Don’t send product assuming that this will automatically be part of the deal. If they’re a professional blogger, they may have a ‘PR/advertising’ page on their website where they detail their approach to these things, or they might include it in their ‘about me’ page. If you can’t find it, be sure to ask.

How will you measure success?
Unless the influencer you’re working with is Kylie Jenner (20.8m followers and counting!), you’re unlikely to see an overnight upturn in sales from just one post. Influencer marketing is more nuanced than that and it can take more prolonged exposure to the brand before you start to see uptake from an audience. The goal should be ongoing relationships with a small handful of great influencers that you can measure over time, rather than a one-off ‘scatter gun’ approach where you’re relying entirely on direct sales that happen immediately.

Sound like a lot of hard work? That’s what we’re here for. At 42group we’re old hands at working with influencers, helping businesses find people who can really make their products sing online. If you’re looking for helping hand with your influencer marketing, contact us today.