Influencer Marketing: The Dos and Don'ts
by Gabrielle Mondejar, Content Marketing Specialist
Do Focus on Engagement
Ahhhh, the classic debate of engagement vs. follower counts. Many brands are continuously making the mistake of overlooking a key factor when it comes to connecting with and utilizing influencers for their brand advertisements - ENGAGEMENT. That number displayed at the top of an influencers page… NEWSFLASH you can buy it, and it is not that expensive to buy either. It truly means nothing anymore, and if you are a true spotter of good influencer talent, how many followers someone has will not phase you and will not be the first thing you check for. The first thing you should be paying attention to is engagement levels - not their follower count. DO focus on engagement and DON'T concentrate on their overall number at the top of the screen because it genuinely does not have meaning anymore when it comes to brand partnerships that will have value and ROI for your brand.
Do Find the Right Niche
It can be easy sometimes to get caught up in the wrong influencer genre for your company because of their status or celebrity. Make sure you spend the time researching the community and market you need to immerse yourself so you can see results. Too often, the audience your influencer appeals to is not interested in your product, because it is not what they usually see on the influencers page. Finding influencers that are accustom to your product, have a follower base built around it, and are knowledgeable will produce more ROI (return on investments) than the wrong influencer in the wrong niche. For example, beauty brands should not work with influencers that are fashion or travel-oriented, but rather influencers built around skincare and self-love. The same could go for a clothing brand. Prioritize fashion bloggers and not food influencers just because of a status they might have within the social media community.
These all go hand and hand and are mistakes that might seem like common sense but are made more commonly than you would think. If you sell kids toys, you would want to advertise with someone like Amber Fillerup or Cara Loren, knowing they have children and a massive mother audience. All of these are things to increase sales and warrant yourself proper exposure with the right community.
Do Pay Attention to Comments
Okay, we are giving away one of our trademark Instagram clues that so many digital marketers are overlooking when selecting influencers. Check their comment section. Are they receiving a lot of comments? Are the comments genuine? Are the comments filled with emojis or "so cute" comments? If so, they are not the right fit for your brand. You want to see engagement but also genuine engagement (unfortunately, engagement can be bought too). Are the followers discussing what is happening in the photo in the comments, are they talking about the brand featured, are they asking questions? The more questions an influencer can raise, the more likely it is to turn that into a sale for your brand. Is the influencer responding to comments, are they making a conscious effort to engage and spread knowledge and awareness about the products that they advertise? Take that little business secret and run wild in the comment section; you're welcome!
Do Create a Budget
Have a budget and stick to it. Whether your goal is to give out free products or pay influencers for their services, know what you can afford, and only dedicate around 20% of your marketing budget. Do not put all your eggs in one basket with influencer marketing since it is such a new form of advertisement. It still has its pros and cons and does not always work the way you want it to.
Do Have Backup Plans
You will commonly find out that the influencer you were dead set on working with is just not interested, or their fees are straight up too expensive. Have a solid enough list that this set back does not screw up your whole quarter. Not everyone will be eager to work with you, and not everyone works for the exchange of a free product, be aware of this and always be respectful of that because you do not want to burn a bridge for an opportunity in the future.
Do Ask for Leftover Content
No shame in the game, if you are paying an influencer for posts, you know that one picture has a million others behind it. Influencers take hundreds of photos before they get what they consider as their "best shot" for the brand, and then they only end up using three to four of the images they spent hours creating. So, ask for all the extras! If you ask for this from the beginning and make it part of your arrangement, you can use the images down the line, and you will build-up collateral for yourself at no extra cost.
Don't Fall Victim to Pricing Sheets
The people who do not want to have a conversation about your brand and send you a pricing kit right away… they are taking advantage of you. A good influencer will get to know your brand and your needs before concluding what pricing should be. The ones that present you automatically with a pricing sheet and exhibit pushy demeanors with it, most of the time, their rates are way too high for the value they actually bring, and these influencers do not care about your brand. They want to make their post and move on. The influencers that want to invest time and energy into your brand are the ones worth paying for, and sometimes the ones you want are not really who is suitable for your brand. Do not fall victim to the overpriced drama queens that make you feel less than you are. Your brand is unique and has value to be shared with others, and the right influencer will help you cultivate that.
Don't Be Caught Up in a Fake Account
Check the influencer's credentials. Ask for their insights, check their engagement, check them out on sites like https://igaudit.io/ . When looking at sites like this one, the influencer should be at least 65-70% authentic following. No one is hardly ever 100% seeing as bots sometimes follow without the purchase of fake followers. Sometimes, Instagram tracks inauthenticity as just not very engaging followers, so inactive accounts are basically impossible to avoid. Still, a really high authenticity rate is anything above 70%, so keep that in mind when searching.
Don't Exclude Micro-Influencers
This has been the year of micro-influencers. On occasion, they are even outselling the influencers that have millions of followers, why you ask because they are real people! So many people are on social networks looking for real and honest reviews of their favorite products. Partner with individuals who are going to review your products with honesty and authentic conversations and invest in the people who are not just searching for the dollar sign you can offer them. Micro-influencers are great for that, and they also usually are more affordable. The two options you are presented are you can either take the one big macro-influencer route or several small micro-influencers. Both have their benefits, and you should try out both avenues to see, which is the better fit for you.
We hope some of this information opened your eyes to the inner workings of influencer marketing! There is still so much more to discover, and it is truly an undertaking. If this is something you are interested in learning more about, reach out to our social media team here at Power On Marketing!