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Want to work with influencers? THIS is how you get the best out of them

Here’s the skinny on influencer etiquette so you don’t get burned, from Thomas Walters of influencer marketing agency Billion Dollar Boy.

Team Phillipart

George Pagan, Unsplash

Think local

You need to identify your objectives for an influencer marketing campaign. This will dictate the types of partnerships you should prioritise and how to execute them. Assuming it’s a campaign designed to grow awareness and drive consideration for SMEs working to a budget, you should explore collaborations with micro-influencers in a targeted, local campaign. This is cost-effective, generating on average $5.78 (£4.55) in earned media value (EMV) for every dollar (79p) spent. It can help to boost your content output, grow your audience, and increase credibility.

Focus on TikTok and Instagram

You’ll get best value for money on TikTok and Instagram, which are still the best-performing platforms when it comes to influencer partnerships because of the reach they can generate and the number of influencers available, especially in the beauty and personal care sectors. Knowing your core target audience will determine which platform is best suited for your influencer marketing campaign. For example, TikTok typically skews towards a younger demographic. Knowing the type of content you want to create – whether it’s long form or short form, or video or still imagery – is crucial. TikTok tends to generate better performance for short-form video content while Instagram is a more effective channel for still imagery.

Who are you targeting?

You need to identify your key target audience. Focus on demographic characteristics such as age, gender and location, which are key indicators of an individual’s interests and potential purchase motivations. This will help to whittle down the list of prospective influencer partners. You should also explore subcultures with an affinity to your brand and target audience. For example, participating with influencers active in the Hairtok conversation on TikTok in which consumers share hair related content.

Go micro

These subcultures are where you’re most likely to find ‘micro-influencers’, with smaller but often more loyal and more engaged audiences. It means that they often generate higher engagement rates, which means more impactful collaborations and better return-on- investment if you’re working to a budget.

To pay or to gift?

To further keep costs down, you might want to explore gifting instead of paid collaborations, offering free services and/or products in exchange for visibility on the influencer’s channel. This method may not work for influencers with large followings since their barrier to promotion can be much higher, but this approach can be highly effective for local micro- influencers who are effective in spreading positive word-of-mouth.

Take over a trend!

Consider ‘trend hijacking’ as an approach to influencer collaborations. TikTok has changed audience behaviours and the speed at which content is consumed, popularised and then dissipates. Businesses able to spot trends and react quickly to them can gain significant reach on a budget, using influencers to join the conversation more organically. Small businesses have the benefit of being agile, so can use this strategy to effect.

Trust is key

Effective influencer marketing relies on trust, which means authentic partnerships are crucial. This is built by creating genuine relationships with the influencer and the business and its services. You can do this through gifting so the influencer actually knows your offering well and genuinely endorses it as a user themselves. Longer-term partnerships, which are far more convincing than one-off collaborations, help too. Consider committing to more than one sponsored post with an influencer or within a niche community.

Team Phillipart

Thomas Walters

 Love their content?

It could be a match Choosing the right influencer can be a challenge. It’s important that the look and feel of their content is aligned to your aesthetic, especially if you plan to amplify the content beyond their audience. Ensuring alignment leads to improved performance and engagement. You’ll need to do your due diligence and thoroughly assess an influencer’s track record to ensure they align with your values and to ensure there aren’t any contentious historic posts.

Track it all – and track the right stuff

Careful monitoring of performance to gauge effectiveness can be hard. You’ll need to work with the influencer closely to secure their first party data insights. Be wary of assessing performance against the right metrics. Beyond vanity metrics, such as engagements, you should also consider comments, saves and shares. They show deeper consumer intent.