Throughout March, we are sharing a five-part blog series on influencer marketing! Topics will provide insights and how-to based on our experiences, ranging from the power of blog ambassadors to working with influencers to amplify an event.
Some of our clients have had questions about influencer relations and if it’s the right move for their company, so we felt this was the perfect place to begin the conversation.
To augment a smart PR campaign, there is often a strategic place for influencer relations to be weaved in. Below, we’ve taken some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve received and shared some insights.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing encompasses the efforts by brands to build relationships and engage in partnerships with key individuals who have considerable influence with a desired audience. There have always been people whose opinions carry considerable weight or inspire others to action, and today, many of those voices are found online. This type of marketing involves both organic and paid relationships with folks on different blog or social media platforms that cultivate large and engaged communities.
Why should I work with an influencer?
Working with influencers is a great way to get a brand or product in front of a curated group of people. For example, if you’re a children’s apparel company, then working with a mom blogger is ideal for reaching parents who have the purchasing power in a family. Similarly, working with a YouTuber who climbs mountains and skydives allows a brand to get in front of consumers who are adventure seekers.
According to the 2015 Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Report, 66 percent of worldwide respondents reported to “completely or somewhat trust” the recommendations of editorial coverage, whereas those surveyed said their level of trust went up to 83 percent when the recommendation comes from an influencer.
As a lifestyle PR agency, we’re big believers in the power of influencers. In 2016, our client Ably launched a line of technologically advanced clothing that repels liquids, stains and odors. Curator brokered a partnership between Ably and the nomadic adventurer behind Expert Vagabond when the brand was launching via a Kickstarter. More than a year after that partnership, Ably is still tracking web traffic that is directly attributed to the Expert Vagabond post.
What does it cost to work with an influencer?
Unlike working with traditional media and reporters, working with influencers usually involves a budget. It’s important to remember that being a blogger or an influencer is a business venture and a source of income for your potential partner. When negotiating cost of a partnership and forms of payment, remember that it takes time and there are costs associated with the creation of their content on your behalf.
If you don’t have any budget available, some influencers accept trade, such as complimentary experiences or product. An example of an enticing trade would be a free weekend at the hotel you’re asking them to help you promote, or a beautifully curated kit filled with cosmetics to review that would amount to an equivalent dollar amount to their required cost of partnership. Not all influencers will work for trade, though, and some will require a check or gift card as payment. There is no set system to determine cost of partnership, but many established influencers and bloggers have their own media kits and rate cards that outline their fees.
Another factor of cost is what your scope of work looks like. A scope of work is an agreement that outlines the program deliverables with influencer and it defines the investment of the partnership. Are you working with them for a one-time Instagram post or are you looking for a yearlong blogger ambassador partnership? The cost of these two different activations will be very different.
Bigger is better, right?
Not always. The magic word we’re looking for is “engagement.”
If you’re looking to get the most eyeballs on a post of a product, then bigger can be better, but just because people are seeing your content doesn’t mean there’s an action attached to it. That action is made through engagement, which means the influencer’s followers are liking, commenting and interacting with their social or blog posts, ideally resulting in a desired action.
Desired action can vary based on what the campaign is designed around: enter a contest, buy a product, tag a friend, follow the brand, attend an event, etc. Studies show that micro-influencers, influencers with 1,000-100,000 social media followers, often have more engaged followers, making them the best choice for brand campaigns. Their concentrated follower count also comes with a smaller price tag, which makes them a great asset and partner for brands who are still testing the waters with influencer campaigns.
How is success measured?
The success of a campaign is measured by the desired action and results that capture ROI. Was our client able to obtain 100 email addresses through a contest? Did their Facebook page increase in likes by 10 percent? Was the discount code used in online transactions? Did the event see additional RSVPs?
In addition to engagement, which was outlined above, and similar to how we measure traditional media placements (newspapers, magazines, podcasts), we also measure success through impressions, or the amount of people who could have seen a post, image, Tweet, blog post or video. A more qualitative form of measurement, the more impressions you earn, the more likely you are to be introduced to a potential customer and the more likely you are to have your potential customer take an action with your brand.
Come back next week to read about using Instagram to connect with audiences! For ongoing updates and news, follow Curator on social media! Find us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @curatorpr.