Successful Influencer Marketing: Working Together With Your Influencers
Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris gives an insight into the world of extreme sports on Red Bull’s Snapchat account. YouTuber Mrs Bella chats to guests about make-up tips on the Maybelline show. And several influencers introduce a new small car, the Kia Rio, on Instagram.
Influencer marketing is now a well-established marketing technique with major brands. But if you’re prepared to take stock of the possibilities and unique features this form of advertising offers, influencer marketing can be equally successful beyond the world of glamorous products and million-dollar budgets. Having considered choosing the right influencers and how to approach them earlier in our series, this last part is all about what makes a successful brand partnership with these opinion leaders.
Before discussing the matter with your influencer, you should think carefully about the exact details of your proposed partnership. Remember that opinion leaders are very often asked to collaborate with companies and other agencies, so any fruitful agreement will have to make an offer on fair terms and should be equally rewarding for both parties.
The Goal of Your Collaboration
Whether it involves publicizing a new product or accessing a younger target audience, you should specify exactly what results you want to achieve during the collaboration. For example, if you wanted to use influencer marketing to extend your reach, the key indicators might be:
- Number of users reached
- Number of mentions on the social web
- Volume of backlinks to your company website
- Number of video views
- Number of Likes, Shares and Comments
- Number of photos or tweets under a certain hashtag
What an Influencer Can Do for You
An influencer’s activities should support the distribution of your content and the promotion of your products. The number of activities in which you agree to collaborate with the influencer will be determined by your defined objectives. However, you should remain open to suggestions and create an atmosphere of creative cooperation in which the influencer feels free to contribute some input. You should also decide whether your collaboration is just for a single campaign or will be part of a larger, long-term project. Possible influencer activities could, for example, include:
- The creation of a certain amount of content within a given time period and its publication on certain channels at agreed intervals
- The mention of a product / company / or a particular hashtag over a given period
- The posting of a specific number of photos featuring a product
- The publishing of a certain number of blog articles about a product, or about product tests, within a given time period
- Curating company content containing a link to the company website
- The moderation of a certain number of webinars / expert panels
- Participation in Twitter chats over a certain period, etc.
How Should You Compensate an Influencer?
The extent of reach an influencer generates does, of course, have a quantifiable value. What you should offer will depend on the precise details of the partnership and on other factors such as the publicity value of your influencer.
Hopperhq recently released the 2017 list of how much celebrity influencers get paid per post, with Selena Gomez topping the list at $550,000 per post. And with Instagram, the Influencerdb tool can be used to give an indication of the value per post. Among other things, this calculated media value is based on the number of followers and interactions.
If you’re dealing with a smaller marketing budget, the good news is it doesn’t always have to be a hard-cash value. For instance, you could create individual deals that propose a simple exchange of services.
In return for influencer marketing, you could, for example, offer:
- Free product use
- Giveaways for the influencer’s community (e.g. free trials of software)
- Invitations to exclusive events (e.g. expert panels, product presentations, fashion shows)
- Distribution of the influencer’s books via your online shop
- Promoting your influencer’s content via your newsletter, etc.
- Support for an influencer’s other marketing activities via an author portrait in your blog, etc.
Suitable Content for an Influencer Partnership
Influencers will want to constantly inspire their users with great content. Therefore, the precise type of content you propose to use will be an important factor in any successful influencer partnership. The following aspects will need careful consideration:
Ensuring a good brand match is part of the essential preliminary work involved in choosing your influencers. Both the influencer and his content should fit the image the company wants to convey and positively contribute to its identified goals.
In the context of the partnership, whether an influencer creates his own content or shares company-generated content, it’s important that it be authentic content that his or her followers will trust. That’s the only way to guarantee that the combined efforts of the company and its influencer will appear credible and convincing.
If company content is shared during the partnership, it’s important that the influencer finds it convincing. In order to be successful, you need to ask yourself:
Is the image, the video or the article relevant to the topic?
Will the community find the content interesting?
Is the content too promotional?
Influencers know their users best. When designing your content, rather than specifying every last detail, you should leave room for some flexibility. “Precise rules for blogs or Instagram posts don’t really work. Instead, companies should provide enough room for influencers to combine their ideas with the campaign objectives in their own way,” said Miriam Rupp of Mashup Communications. To help your influencers create thematically appropriate content, you should provide them with plenty of background information.
The more high-quality emotional content that influencer marketing contains, the better it usually works. For instance, it’s especially important to address the users emotionally on visually driven networks such as Instagram. The Saxon Tourism Association used Instagram to promote Saxony as a tourist destination. They engaged three international influencers to post some appealing, professional photographs under the hashtag #simplysaxony. The photographs were a great success and gained around 90,000 Likes.
In addition, content supporting a good cause can also be spread very successfully by influencers. The Boxed Water company worked with three Instagramers, sending them photos to distribute to get the word out about their campaign alliance with the National Forest Foundation. Two trees were planted for every user post containing the hashtag #retree. Within four weeks, more than 2,600 user photos had been sent using that hashtag.
Exactly how influencer-marketing content should be identified is a rather controversial issue. In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission has issued letters to influencers that warn them to “clearly and conspicuously disclose” when a post has been sponsored.
Bloggers generally insist on an obligatory label for paid articles. In the case of videos, the wording “Supported by product placement” has been adopted. On Instagram, it’s advised to use hashtags such as #ad, #sp, or #sponsored.
To avoid upsetting users, and to stay on the safe side legally, partnerships with influencers should be transparent. Tools such as Commandpost provide technically and legally sound solutions for different social media channels.
In regards to the concept and content of influencer-marketing, there is a lot to consider. A partnership with an influencer should be based on mutual benefits with the aim of building a long-term relationship. However, few collaborations work perfectly from the start, and most will need a little time to get up to speed. Making influencer marketing pay off for you may be a matter of conducting an evaluation of your own situation and adjusting your strategy if necessary. A helpful template for assessing influencer activities can be found here.
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