The term ‘influencer’ is thrown around a lot these days. Anyone can be an influencer to an extent, from your customers, to journalists, and your own family and friends, as it’s about a relationship based upon trust.
We consider an influencer to be an expert in their field, or someone who produces authentic content around something they are passionate about. These people share their knowledge with the public, often through a variety of blogs and social media channels, which is then followed and trusted by thousands, or sometimes millions, of people.
Influencers get a bad reputation, with some seen to be doing it for the ‘freebies’. Influencer marketing doesn’t work for everyone, but it can be a useful tool to increase brand awareness, sales, and reach a wider customer base. There are five ‘super sectors’ of influencer marketing, including fashion and beauty, lifestyle, parenting, food, and travel, with the latter two both steadily increasing. If your business falls into one of these categories, there are an abundance of influencers for you to choose from if you’re thinking of giving influencer marketing a go.
The coronavirus pandemic has had quite an impact on the industry. With people spending more time at home and online, influencers are feeling more connected with their audience than ever, as they have had more time for two-way communication.
Research by Vuelio estimates the global influencer marketing industry to be worth $5.5bn, and is forecast to grow to $22.3bn by 2024. This combined with the increased level of trust consumers hold for influencers means influencer marketing can be a highly effective tool when used as part of a wider digital marketing strategy.
Here are five things to consider before deciding if influencer marketing should be part of your wider marketing strategy.
Working with influencers is not just about collaborating with celebrities or those who have the highest number of followers. For a successful campaign you need to be able to identify influencers who share your brand values, as well as your target audience and demographic. This will help reinforce what your brand really stands for. Influencers are most likely to reject a pitch because of lack of relevance to their audience – so make sure you do your research before approaching them.
It also helps if you believe in their content, and are not just looking to work with them because you think it is the right thing to do. For example, you enjoy reading or watching the content they post, or are inspired by their photography style.
Think about your overall goal and what you want to achieve from working with an influencer. The obvious answer is brand awareness, with many social media collaborations resulting in growth of followers. With this is mind, think about which channel is most important to your brand, or which one you would like to grow. This is where you should start the search for your influencer, as many will be more influential depending on which platform they use most frequently.
However, influencers can work over a number of platforms. Vuelio’s UK Influencer Survey found that 71% of influencers share content on four or more platforms, so their reach can go further than a single picture on Instagram, depending on the arrangement. Some may have blogs where they can feature a more in-depth review with a link to your website, which can also deliver benefits outlined in our PR and SEO blog.
Longer term partnerships can have more of an impact than one-off collaborations, as it starts to build a relationship with the influencer’s followers. This can sometimes be classed as having a brand ambassador. It’s always good to get together with the influencer to find out what would work for their followers (they know their community better than anyone), so you can decide how best to showcase your product or experience in the most natural way – remembering authenticity is key when working with an influencer.
A partnership is also a way of building fresh content for your own channels, as the content they create for your brand can be arranged to be shared on both of your accounts. If this is one of your goals, make sure there is a clear purpose to the collaboration in your brief.
This is a really important consideration, as every influencer works differently. Some will require a fee to work with you, which is becoming more common due to an 11% increase over the last four years in people citing their reason for influencing as professional (it is their main form of income) rather than personal, according to the Vuelio survey mentioned earlier. It’s worth noting that influencers all set their own prices, with no industry standard, so some may be a lot more expensive than others.
All influencers will require complimentary products or experiences in order to produce your required content, such as a meal in a restaurant, or receiving a case of drinks to try at home. For some influencers this is enough compensation for their time, so you would only need to factor in the cost of supplying what you want promoted.
For holidays and accommodation reviews, this lends itself more to a journalist-style press trip with a full itinerary. If you are looking for help with this, take a look at our PR services.
Partnerships and collaborations take time to effectively research and set up. It is important to establish and confirm the arrangement with the influencer by getting the details in writing, or in a contract where payment is required.
Things to think about when confirming your influencer:
Our previous collaborations have included everything from working with Cornish destination influencer, Cornwall Lover, to increase the brand awareness of a new beachside restaurant, to partnering with food photographer, Matt Inwood, on a series of Instagram workshops in Devon and Cornwall.
If you’re considering an influencer marketing campaign, our team is well connected to effectively manage the project as part of a social media service, or within an integrated marketing strategy.