If you read back through past articles, you'll see that I'm a big fan of partnerships and that includes partnering with influencers. The biggest thing stopping most businesses from incorporating influencers into their marketing strategies is not the question of 'should we' but the question of 'how do we get started?' Here are a few things you need to know to help you select the right influencers, structure partnerships, and grow your audience.
Partnering with the right influencer is more about the demographics of their audience and their type of content than their number of followers.
In my experience, I've found that there is an influencer for every budget. In fact, when my clients are partnering with influencers for the first time, I advise them to start small, typically even within their own following. If you've never worked with an influencer before, start by looking into who always engages with your content- oftentimes you can leverage your top fans as micro-influencers with just the incentive of a discount or a shoutout. Learning how to structure your influencer partnerships and what platforms to focus on is often done by trial and error, so starting small allows you to refine content and partnership on a small level, with little to no risk. Once we turn several top fans into brand ambassadors and gain insights into what works and potential return on investment, we typically turn to micro-influencers who have a little bit larger following in our niche area or local community.
(Micro-influencers are typically classified as influencers with between 10,000-50,000 followers or less, and micro-influencers with even less than 10,000 can still be effective.)
Tip for reaching out:
Influencers, no matter the size of their audience, appreciate professionalism and clear expectations. Before reaching out to the influencer, determine what you're willing to compensate them- whether that's in product, cross-collaboration, commission, or direct payment.
The structure of the partnership will depend on the type of relationship you'd like to steward with the influencer, budget, and the size of the influencer's following.
There are a few ways to structure your influencer partnership. With fairly small followings, the influencer may promote in exchange for discounts or even recognition. However, with larger influencers, including some mirco-influencers, influencer partnerships are typically commission-based (usually the influencer has a discount code for their audience to track sales conversions), pay a flat rate per post, or in exchange for product. The largest return on investment is typically commission-based but does require more management of the partnership.
Influencer partnerships aren't right for every campaign and organization, but they can be extremely beneficial when you've hit a wall in getting a campaign outside of your current audience. If you're considering going this route in your advertising plan, make sure to define what return on investment would equal success and have a straight-forward conversation with the influencer on the goals of the campaign, who you're looking to target, and the types of content you'd like to see.
Want to talk more about your marketing strategies and goals? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time to chat.