Influencer Marketing is one of the most highly used marketing strategies within the current marketing landscape. With the likes of Instagram and Snapchat taking off, it’s no surprise that brands are capitalising on popular online celebrities and influencers to help reach new audiences and build brand awareness. From popular clothing labels to car insurance companies, brands are following their customers to social platforms and using profiles with high traffic to speak to the market.
The concept of Influencer Marketing is so abundant, that there has even been an influx of bespoke agencies and talent management companies that specialise in connecting brands with influencers. So for the time being, Influencer Marketing is real, and we’d be silly to ignore it. But, as someone who works in Marketing by day and is an influencer by night (or simply when I have time), I feel that both parties have things to learn when it comes to working together harmoniously. Here’s my insight and observations into both sides of Influencer Marketing:
To the Marketers:
So you want to work with an influencer? You have a few things to think about. Firstly, who is your target market and therefore, who has the right personal brand and following to represent your brand correctly and genuinely? It’s no use picking individuals because a) they have the highest following or b) because they will post about absolutely anything as long as it’s free, if they won’t connect you to the right potential customers.
I’ve found that some companies will send generic emails (with no personalisation) to large lists of influencers, in the hope that someone will respond and promote their products or services (usually for free). Firstly, if you can’t take the time to understand my brand (and send me a personalised email) then how do you even know we’re the right fit? Take the time to select influencers who will genuinely represent your brand, otherwise, a sponsored post by an influencer could be more detrimental than good.
So onto my BIGGEST pain point for Marketers – INFLUENCER MARKETING IS LITERALLY DIRT CHEAP COMPARED TO TRADITIONAL FORMS OF DIGITAL OR MASS MARKETING. I know this for a FACT. I work in Marketing. I KNOW that digital marketing campaigns can cost anywhere between 10K to 100K. Nothing annoys me more than companies expecting me to share posts with my followers (which is over 100K) for free. Most influencers whose followers exceed 100,000 will charge anywhere between $300 to $3,000 for a single Instagram post.
Now, let’s work with a number down the conservative end of the spectrum. Let’s say I have 150,000 followers and I expect to be paid $500 for a post whereby I clearly advertise a product. Firstly, that’s $500 for permanent real estate on a channel that probably has a daily reach of about 20,000 people (and growing). So let’s compare that to an add on the inside cover of a magazine. Firstly, that’s going to cost you about $15,000, and secondly, that ad is good for about 28 days. Secondly, all good influencers will work under an ABN, which means, yep, we pay TAX. We pay tax on every single job we do, whether that’s $100 or $1,000. So if, I am receiving $500 for a post, I’m actually only receiving about $335 for my work. If you’re a start up, generally we get it – your marketing budget is probably non-existent. And if a brand aligns well to an influencer brand, and they like your product, chances are they will do it for free. BUT, if you’re an established brand, do NOT expect to get this for free. It just isn’t fair.
My last point (so I can keep this short and sweet), is that organisations should give more credit to influencers for knowing their audiences better than the brands do. There’s been so many instances where I’ve been briefed to post a certain message at a certain time on a certain day. But the undeniable truth is, whenever I post a photo, I want the best engagement each and every time. So I’m always going to do what’s best for me, even if the post is sponsored. So sometimes, ask us. When’s the best time to post for you? What content/messaging styles do your followers engage well with? A good influencers monitors these things and acknowledges/understands trends. After all, we are running a business too.
To the Influencers:
So I have worked in Marketing for over 5 years now, and more recently, have used Influencer Marketing to help with overall integrated campaigns. There are a few things that have stood out to me, and even frustrated with me at time – hopefully helping me understand things from the client side more clearly and ultimately making me a more empathetic influencer.
The biggest thing that I’ve noticed is that many ‘influencers’ are (for lack of a better term) unprofessional. Now, I’ve worked in large corporates for most of my working life, so I’m pretty savvy when it comes to email and phone etiquette. But for those budding influencers who maybe haven’t had that experience in the past, understand right now, that companies are used to dealing with other professionals and we like to expect the same from anyone whom we interact with.
Now, even I have neglected to get back to emails in my time – I’m only human. But if I get a follow up, I feel guilty and respond immediately with my apologies. Why? Because I know how damn frustrating it is when you reach out to someone on a whim and they don’t reply. It’s rude. And, the thing is, if you’re NOT interested – that’s actually fine! In fact, that kind of rejection is actually HELPFUL to companies because it gives them guidance that they need to tweak something about their approx or strategy. It’s not rude to say thanks but no thanks with a respectful decline. What is rude, is not replying to emails, especially if there was a follow up.
Being flexible is another massive factor in building a good relationship with a client that I feel influencers often neglect to understand. If you’re working with a start up, you’ll often find they can’t meet you usual fees, but hey, that doesn’t mean a big fat NO. Be flexible. Can you drop your rates slightly? Or perhaps create the content in a different way. Add the offer/promotion into your Snapchat or Instagram stories instead. I think this point just goes back to my previous example about being professional. If you want to be a highly sought after influencer that brands want to work with time and time again, do your due diligence and treat every outreach with the respect it deserves.
Lastly, if you’ve been given a brief, please stick to it, OR if you’re not sure or uncomfortable about something, discuss this with your client. Remember, this is a working relationship, and it is absolutely unacceptable to disregard the point of the post. I have experienced this with Influencers in the past, whereby they have disregarded the previous conversations and just chucked any old image online. Here’s a hint – it’s a waste of time, energy and money for both parties.
So in summary, Influencer Marketing is still very much a grey area. Who knows how long this phenomenon will last. But for the time being, it is very much apparent, and if you’re looking to be successful in this area (whether you’re a marketer or an influencer) it’s important to see things from the other side.
We out ✌🏼