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The world of Influencer Marketing is now in full force and a little bit like Marmite, it seems to be something businesses either love (mostly love) or hate (because they’re scared of it), but as time goes on, it’s becoming apparent that even the haters need to start paying attention to this marketing revelation.

The laws are becoming more defined, the consumers are more protected and the processes are becoming streamlined… Influencer Marketing is here to stay.

Why should I be considering influencer marketing?

Almost 90% of shoppers admit that they’ve now been prompted by an influencer to make a purchase and a statistic that high is certainly something not to be ignored.

So why is this type of marketing more effective than brand created content? It’s simple, trust and likeability.

Don’t take it personally, it’s not necessarily that consumers don’t like what you have to sell, but they like it a lot more if someone they look up to, feel inspired by or trust is delivering the message on your behalf. You see, these influencers have opened themselves up to their following, there’s a sense of relatability and almost friendship between them and their followers and a relationship like that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Imagine if a good friend told you about a fantastic product they’d recently discovered and couldn’t live without, you’d be tempted, right? Now, times that by 1000, cover it in glitter and set it on fire, that’s the power of Influencer Marketing.

Ok you’ve got my attention with the fire and glitter stuff, where do I start?

Start with knowing your brand like the back of your hand, when you know who you are and what your message is, you’ll be able to find Influencers who are inline with your ethos, and that might be the single most important part of this evolved breed of marketing.

The followers of these influencers are following them because they like the things they talk/post about so you really need to do your research on who exactly you want to promote your products. You’ll have better results working with someone with a smaller, more engaged following reflecting the type of product you sell than you would going for someone 500k who’s never posted about anything like your product.

For example; if you’re a protein shake company, putting budget behind an influencer whose focus is interior design might not be your most advantageous move.

I’ve found someone I think is a good fit, where do I go from here?

First things first, check they haven’t bought their following. It’s now easier than ever to appear as though you have a huge audience with a little budget behind you, but it’s also easy for you (as a business) to spot if you know what you’re looking for.

With tools like Social Blade, you can look up your influencer and check for spikes in followers, if you see their numbers have shot up with no obvious reason why (such as sponsored ads or collaborations with big brands) there may be cause for suspicion.

A simpler way to check is having a quick scan of the type of comments/likes they’re getting. Do they have 50k followers but get 20 likes on a post? Are the comments incredibly generic like “LOVE THIS” or “COOL PIC!!!”? All things to look out for.

From there, it’s very simple, reach out to them in an approachable, clear and friendly way. They’re people and they want to be treated like people. Don’t forget to explain exactly why you think they’d be a perfect fit for your company and speaking from experience “we think your followers will love our products!!!” or “we love your posts!!!” does NOT cut it. What do you like about this particular influencer? Remember, you should’ve hand-selected them so the less spammy you sound the better!

If you’re approaching someone with a large following via the platform they have the following on, it may be hard to get their attention, remember that it’s likely a comment will get lost in a sea of notifications for them, so slide into their DM’s if there’s no email address or website contact form available.

How do I protect myself/my company?

You wouldn’t invite someone in to freelance for your company without a contract, would you? The same rules apply here. If you’re going to approach someone to collaborate, know exactly what your objectives are when you approach them. Do you want an Instagram post, a swipe up story and a tweet? Outline all of this in the contract and make sure everyone is on the same page, literally… get it signed.

But DO let the influencer deliver the content in a way their audience will want to see it, you have to loosen the reins a little to let them work their magic. If you’re asking for 3 posts over 3 consecutive days, it’s likely they’ll push back as they know it won’t be received well.

Remember, it’s a collaboration.

So how do we make it clear it’s a collaboration?

There’s a common misconception that once you’ve agreed your terms with the influencer, as long as they fit the brief and deliver on time, your job is done, but this simply isn’t the case. You have a legal responsibility to ensure the influencer is using the appropriate hashtags and delivering the content with a crystal-clear approach that lets the consumer know you’re in a partnership of some kind, whether money has changed hands or not- so do your research.

Followers are smart and they respond well to relevant products popping up in their timelines though it’s becoming clearer by the day that another thing they respond well to is transparency. If they’re being sold to, they want to know about it and it’s both your jobs (legally) to let them know.

Ok, I’m ready to collaborate

Great! Now, don’t get carried away with all the excitement of your first Influencer Marketing campaign and forget to set measures to monitor your success as you would with any other marketing campaign. What are your goals for ROI tracking?

Some to consider might be:

  • Increased following
  • Social Media awareness
  • Exposure to a new audience
  • Furthering your brand reach
  • Increased sales

And if you’re unsure on how to measure these, tools such as NeoReach and Tapinfluence might be worth checking out.

So there you have it, Influencer Marketing in a blogpost nutshell.

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