As the power of influencers continues to saturate marketing strategies, Katrina Bell reveals how to go about finding the perfect fit for your brand.
No matter your view of influencer culture, it is now a permanent feature of the consumer landscape. Google searches for ‘influencer marketing’ grew by 400% from 2016-2021 in the UK alone, according to Micro Biz magazine. In fact, consumers are increasingly regarding influencers as having as much of a voice in their decision-making processes as close friends and families – so can any brand afford to ignore the pulling power of this new breed?
You will have heard the old adage 'never go shopping on an empty stomach' and the same is true for when you are on the hunt for an influential partner. It’s paramount that you have a clear idea of what you want from the matrimony between your cherished brand and an influencer with a relevant audience and skillset.
With this preparatory knowledge at hand, your first collaboration could be the start of something truly rewarding.
Reach or niche?
The biggest question has to be whether your main goal is a nationwide campaign that gets the maximum eyeballs, or if your clientele is more locally contained?
While the typical goal is to raise overall brand awareness, the benefits of an influencer with a large following may be diluted by the ‘throw something at the wall and hope it sticks’ nature of the campaign. A big name could be ill-advised expenditure or an act of vanity unless you are in the FMCG game.
Micro doesn’t have to mean less than – although they have fewer followers, their engagement levels can sometimes be significantly higher and be a more harmonious fit for an endorsement.
What both types of influence can bring is their unique creativity in anchoring your product experience with their lifestyle-led storytelling. Approachable and relatable are what they do well – it won’t be too hard to find a creator that has a relevant audience.
Trust me – I’m an influencer
Authenticity counts but self-styled influencers often get bad press, when they are caught featuring products without being transparent about their relationship with the brand.
Consumer trust levels are particularly low surrounding reviews – just 6.1% of people polled by MicroBiz said they trust influencers they follow on social media to give an honest review of a product however, with the 55-64-year-olds being the most likely to trust they are seeing an honest product review at 9.2%.
One way to get around this is to lean heavily on positive scores on the likes of TrustPilot or Google Reviews in any collaboration, so viewers can easily see for themselves other people’s real-world experiences.
Data is king
There are two main routes to sealing a mutually beneficial deal with an influencer, whether it is for commission, a straight payment or a transaction of goods or services. The social platforms have very strict rules about transparency, which the influencer can help you navigate.
If you deal with the influencer directly, expect them to help you create a set of deliverables, which might include click-throughs to your website, use of a coupon to purchase, or a code that can be redeemed at purchase.
Similarly, most of the influencer agencies have a criteria, data-driven approach that is a refreshingly long way from the ‘choosing beggars’ who promise much but can prove little. If the agency is set up to provide tangible ROI figures then that’s a good indication they have the tools and knowledge to monetise your interaction. Neither should you assume that they can only put you together with an expensive, nationally known creative – there is a healthy market for more regional, micro influencers.
While there is no such thing as a standard rate card for either route, it’s easy enough to shop around to get you taking advantage of your first collaboration.