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The basics of influencer marketing

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Over the past few years, influencer marketing has grown to be a worldwide industry, worth billions of pounds. It’s now easier than ever before to source an influencer, collaborate with them and measure their success. 

Brands from all industries have turned to influencers to grow their brand awareness and increase sales. This includes large scale partnerships like JustEat and their inclusion of rap giant Snoop Dogg in their TV advertisements, to small independent brands gifting micro influencers products in return for positive content on their accounts. 

You may be considering whether influencer marketing is right for your business, and asking yourself if it could really meet your goals. In this article we’ll discuss the basics of influencer marketing on social media and how to tailor it to fit your social media marketing strategy. 

Getting started

Before you begin influencer marketing, it’s important to recognise how an influencer fits into your campaign and understand what you want to get from the partnership.

You might want to accelerate the reach of your campaign on social media, or you might be interested in influencing sales, or you may even just want ready made content to share on your brand’s channels. Know the purpose of your influencer marketing and this will help you start to define a strategy.

You also need to identify which social media platform you want your influencer campaign to run across. Think about your audience, what platforms they might be using and how they will be interacting with influencers. For example, let’s say you’re working with a beauty brand with a target audience of 18-35 year olds. The beauty tutorial and review culture on Instagram is huge, and your target audience are likely to be active on this platform – so this could be a good place to start.

What type of influencer fits in with your strategy?

Firstly, you need to look at the budget. Influencers with a hundred thousand followers, could be charging up to a few thousand pounds for an Instagram story or grid post of your product.

Generally, we categorise influencers into two key territories, macro and micro. There are a few different takes on the requirements for each category, but it’s widely suggested that:

  • Micro influencers: 1,000-100,000 followers
  • Macro influencers: 100,000-1,000,000 followers

Individuals with more than one million followers would typically be categorized as a celebrity, rather than an influencer.

While macro influencers, or larger micro influencers may typically give you the biggest reach, content from smaller, micro influencers can feel more authentic and less like a paid promotion.

But, followers aren’t everything. When looking at influencers’ post insights, you will sometimes find that accounts with 3,000 followers will have a larger post reach than accounts with 30,000 followers. Just because an influencer has a large number of followers, it doesn’t mean these followers are engaging with their content. 

You also need to think about who you are trying to reach, and if your chosen influencers target audience reflect this group. 

You could select a macro influencer with 200,000 followers, but are they the right followers? It may be more valuable to choose a smaller influencer if they’ll be able to directly reach the people you want to speak to. 

Ask influencers for their follower demographics and engagement rate before you begin working with them, to make sure they’re a good fit. 

What type of collaboration?

When a brand gives an influencer any kind of payment (monetary payments, commission, or a free product or service), any posts promoting the brand or the products become subject to consumer protection law, and they must be labelled correctly. 

If you browse through influencer content on Instagram, you’ll be met with a flurry of #ad, #gifted, sponsored posts and paid promotions. However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s advertising regulator, recommend labelling any promotional content as an advertisement either using # or without. 

Popular hashtags such as #sp or #gifted are advised against by the ASA. Typically, when you see an influencer share a sponsored post (#sp), they will also have been paid a monetary sum for the collaboration. #gifted simply means a brand has gifted an item to an influencer to try out, and if they enjoy the product they might promote it to their followers. 

But, to be on the safe side, it’s worth labelling any type of influencer collaboration as an advertisement, in order to stay within the ASA regulations. There are a number of ways you can do this but simply captioning any content with #ad is a popular option. 

The ASA has a guide for influencers to clearly label ads, however it’s an equally useful read for any marketeers or social media managers who produce influencer content. 

Once you’ve mastered the basics and chosen a strategy for your influencer marketing, it’s time to get stuck in with coordinating the creation of great content and managing your influencers throughout the process. 

Working with influencers could be a useful tool for any business or brand. Have a read of our influencer management case study, to see how we put it into practice for a financial services company. 

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