The risks with influencer marketing and how to avoid them.
Influencer marketing can be a huge opportunity to increase your brand awareness and generate leads, but only when done right.
Influencers are often branded as ‘just in it for the free stuff’. This of course is only the minority of influencers but it can still be a risk, read on to understand a bit more about influencer marketing and how to find the right influencers for your brand.
Recently there was an increased demand for micro-influencers. These are influencers with under 100,000 followers. Research has shown that 92% of consumers trust a micro-influencer more than a traditional ad or a celebrity endorsement. Micro-influencers tend to have a much higher engagement rate than celebrity influencers (people with around 1million followers or more). As well as a higher engagement rate they tend to be more connected to their audience, rather than just having a following they can create a ‘community’.
Another benefit to working with micro-influencers compared to traditional influencers is you can find influencers within your niche. Realistically to gain millions of followers you have to be as palatable as possible however micro-influencers can focus on something more specific that not every Tom, Dick and Harry will be into but your customers will be, whether that is 70s fashion or zero waste living. By working with a micro-influencer within a niche you can trust that their engaged community of followers are all passionate about the same thing so you can reach the right people.
The darker side
However, there is a new dark side to micro-influencers that we need to be aware of. There has been a rising number of reports where small businesses have sent products to micro-influencers who then don’t follow up on their end of the deal. In some cases, the influencer has then blocked the small business ignoring countless enquiries as to why they haven’t posted yet. This can be off-putting but before you run a mile and never consider influencer marketing again there are several things you can do so this doesn’t happen to your brand.
Before you start, keep in mind that influencers are providing you a freelance service, do consider how much time it can take for them to plan, shoot, edit and create their content. While you may not have budget, show them you understand the effort that goes into their work.
How do you know if they're a good fit for you?
You may think you have found a selection of micro-influencers whose audience is in line with your target audience, great. Now let’s make sure they are a good fit. Start by checking their engagement rate, look at the number of followers they have vs. the average amount of likes and comments their posts get. Someone with 1 million followers could be averaging 1,000 likes per post and other micro-influencers with 20,000 followers could be getting 2,000 likes per post. As well as their engagement rate ask yourself questions such as have they worked with competitors of yours, do they only ever share ‘’PR hauls” or do they create exciting campaigns?
Looking at some of the examples where brands felt ‘ripped off’ by influencers there is a common trend. All were approached by the influencer first. While there is nothing wrong with an influencer pitching to brands they are genuinely passionate about. If you often get messages along the lines of ‘hey, I love your brand, would you like to send me x and I will promote it on my Instagram’ from someone who doesn’t even follow you, it's usually best to politely decline. However if an influencer who follows you closely, engages with a lot of your content then pitches via email rather than DM’s with a specific idea for a campaign, explaining who they are, who their audience is and what they can do for you. This isn’t as alarming.
My rule as both an influencer and a marketer is to do everything over email rather than DMs part of my reasoning for this is so it gets treated like work regardless of payment. Regardless of your budget treat all streams of communication with your chosen influencers as professional as possible. Traditionally influencers have a view that gifting / PR products means there is no obligation to post as there is no payment, whereas with a paid advert you can outline every step of the campaign, specifying each output, viewing their content beforehand to feedback and approve it before it goes live this could also be outlined with a contract too. If you are gifting but still expect content as long as you are honest with them and outline in prior emails what you are hoping for, they can then decide if they want to collaborate knowing the full expectations. Once both parties are happy the real fun begins your influencers will create amazing, engaging content sharing your brand with their audiences.
Compared to traditional forms of marketing such as magazine adverts you can track exactly who saw the post, how many link clicks it got, how many followers you gained and you get images or videos for you to post on your social media. This is why when done right it can be so valuable.
Get in touch!
If you need further influencer marketing support get in touch with Charlotte @digital.oddity for all things digital marketing.
Charlotte Anstee LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/charlotte-anstee/
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