There has been a lot of talk about social media influencers and their work ethics, plus the brands that hire them; for the last few months by Ugandans On Twitter (UOT). And this prompt me to share my insights on this topic in the best way possible.
I broke down how influencers can best worked with, and how to do it professional to benefit both them and the brands.
So who is a Social Media Influencer?
I understand this is a person who talks about a brand and can be used to market its products to his/her audience with an aim to build the brand relationships. Whether an influencers’ audience is small or large, an influencer can reach consumers via their blogs and social networks that brands may not be able to.
Why use Social Media Influencers?
- Having influencers discussing their brand experience is considered an online review in terms of purchase decision,
- And we all know that 90% of buyers or consumers trust peer recommendations.
- It should be known that Consumers want authenticity from the brands they interact with, and influencers offer this experience.
- Mid-level influencers like bloggers have a smaller but more loyal audience and drive 16 times more engagement than paid media and “big or colossal wigs/influencers.”
- Influencers think a step beyond buyer personas and develop an influencer persona that is valued more and tends to reach the right audiences.
- Since influencer marketing is about building strong relationships, a strategy that values a mutually beneficial relationship is key.
- There is development of relationships with influencers before brands need them. Relationship building takes time and once the connection is there, activating influencers becomes a lot more easy and effective.
As a brand it’s kinda a must to have a strategy that helps you find influencers to work with under the following components to keep them in check, and them adding value to you. These are ; Topics that speak to your brand’s target buyers. Influencers talk about a lot of things and Vetting those talking and discussing issues and topics that interest brand is good way to start. With this you look for content quality, reach, engagement and an alignment of values that align with your brand. Then relate and engage with those influencers via email and other social channels. Ask them to partner with your brand and offer them compensation to create mutually beneficial relationships. Finally measure all earned media and identify which of the selected influencers and what topics are talked about that lift your brand the most this helps grow your targeted content. If you think there is still need for more influencers, you repeat the process so that you can build a stronger influencer marketing strategy.
Numbers of followers or likes or friends to these influencers don’t matter except and except if your are only looking for number reach and no engagement at all. Its discussion and engagement that matters, about topics that connect your brand.
How do you compensate influencers?
Should influencers be compensated? Is one of the questions asked a lot, and it’s a wrong one. Influencers definitely should be compensated. The only question is how.
But what’s wrong with influencers offering a free service? Because influencers work hard and they risk a lot when they collaborate with your brand.
It should be known that social media influencers’ influence don’t come easy. It was built with solid work and dedication. They spend loads of energy and time building their influence. Step by step they created an online presence that brings them joy, social impact and prestige. For most this is a part time job which consumes their time creating content relevant to a brand. And later spend a lot of time interacting with their audience about a brand.
That ^^^^ up there is worthy paying for!
Now the question should be what the compensation plan be like? Payment? Free samples? Event tickets?
I will go with payment because it creates some obligation between the brand and the influencer. The other matter with payment is how much should be the right price for the kind of content created.
Brands like to cheat influencers! Paying them peanuts for so much work and creativity, this should stop! We are not your slaves!
Each industry has its own standards, I agree. But if you need to internally justify a certain amount of money to allocate to an influencer campaign, ask yourself a simple question: how much is the exposure worth for you compared to the alternative of paid media?
On to the other forms of payment that I consider non attractive, this includes ticket offers, freebies/merchandise and the rest. I think this should be an addon to the payment one. There it encourages creativity and confidence in the influencers.
Hope this helps as a brand to guide on your journey on how to work with influencers and them on how to work with you.