Believe it or not, those Instagram photos of girls posing with their skinny detox teas are a legitimate form of advertising.
A growing number of businesses are choosing to make influencer marketing a part of their marketing strategy. It can be incredibly profitable when used right.
It isn’t uncommon for businesses to add influencer marketing to their strategies but instead of treating it as a marketing tool of its own, putting it under PR or social media efforts. This often results in the campaign getting a minimal budget and minimal results.
It isn’t enough to just send a few of your products to an influencer anymore – you need to invest.
1 – It gives the influencer a bigger part to play
When you simply send your product to an influencer, you aren’t making them a part of your campaign. When you offer them a budget, however, it becomes a lot more like hiring a freelancer. You and the influencer will work side by side to deliver great content to their community and yours. This means you have a say in the look of the content, the timeline, and other such things.
Pro Lesson: Do your homework on the Influencer. Some of the key questions to consider:
- Are they in the right niche? If they talk about low-cost pet products and you are promoting luxury apparel they may not be the right fit for you.
- Do they have authentic engagement? An easy way to spot “fake” influencers” is to look at their follower/engagement ratio. If the influencer has thousands of followers but they do not receive any likes or comments on their posts, the followers are likely fake.
- Do they post regularly and have non-promotional content? Take a look at the quality and frequency of their posts. Do they have a regular rhythm of posting or ongoing conversation?
2 – It gets you better content
When you offer compensation to an influencer for their work, you are giving them an incentive to produce great content. Influencers can do a lot more than take a couple of simple shots and write up a witty caption. And when you give them a reason to, they’ll put more time and effort into it so you can enjoy the better content.
The financial incentive also often results in influencers doing more than what is required. For instance, if you contact them for an Instagram campaign, they may also showcase your product on their Facebook page. It’s simple, really – you have to invest in great content.
Do a small test with the influencer and measure the results of the engagement. If you see an audience coming from their posts to your products, then consider expanding this test.
3 – It guarantees exposure
When you send your product out to influential people without any agreement, they are under no obligation to advertise it, let alone try it. You’re giving out free samples thinking that someone will eventually feature your product in one of their posts. Is it worth it?
Oftentimes, it isn’t.
That is until you involve a budget. You have to be willing to pay some to get some – only then can you be guaranteed exposure.
4 – It is mutually beneficial
Influencers have legitimate careers. Just like a graphic designer shouldn’t be expected to design logos for free, influencers shouldn’t be expected to create content for you for free. These people are often trained professionals who have spent a lot of time building up their community and turning it into a profitable business.
You need to compensate them. After all, you’re benefitting from their content, so shouldn’t they be benefitting, too? And no, getting to keep your product isn’t enough. They didn’t ask for it.
It’s simple. Your partnership with an influencer should be a collaboration. That means that they get something and so do you.
5 – It builds relationships
It’s always nicer to work with someone who you wholeheartedly support. This is why you need to build relationships with your influencers. Having a budget for them is the first step to that relationship. When they agree to work with you, you get to plan campaigns and talk about different approaches together. They get a better look at your business, products, and the vision you have. This often results in them wanting to support you and help your business grow. Relationships are important. Wouldn’t you rather be known as “that amazing company I work with” rather than “that company that sent me free stuff and asked me for free exposure”?
6 – It improves ROI
Influencer marketing ROI can be incredible if you do it right. Oftentimes, companies try to reduce their investments to improve their ROI. This is the wrong approach. When it comes to influencer marketing, you have to spend more to get more results.
When you have a decent investment to put into your influencer marketing campaigns, you’ll see a greater ROI because of the better relationship and better content you will get from your influencers. They’ll be eager and ready to go the extra mile for you because they know that you are investing in them. And when they work hard, you see the results.
7 – It makes expectations clear
When you compensate your influencers, you get to make expectations clear right from the start. If you want to ensure that specific logos, taglines, and even color schemes used on the content can be recognized as your brand, you’ll need to discuss this with your influencer ahead of time. You may even want to have your influencers send in their content for approval before publishing them so that it meets your expectations.
This is why it’s so important for you to have a budget. Without it, you won’t be able to discuss your expectations. So if you want your content to look a certain way and give off a certain vibe, make sure you’ve got a budget.