Whether you are looking to engage an influencer on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or smaller niche sites, influencer marketing is on the rise in 2017. To stay on top of this trend brands must actively change their strategies to capitalize on this seismic marketing shift.
Influencers are paid to sponsor a product or campaign through their blog, social media posts, other video/written content. The benefit is simply that many of their followers will often take the trusted source, in this case the influencer, as being a good motivation to check out a brand, participate in a sale offering and possibly initiate a purchase.
There are five market measurements of Influencers:
Most campaigns will take on a blend of influencers with each campaign directly involved in achieving a defined goal: Either brand amplification, general awareness, lead generation or a defined sales campaign.
Influencers are keenly aware of their power, and this is likely to increase as more brands continue to invest in them this year and beyond. Some of the things you may want to consider when negotiating with an influencer:
1) Do I possess the skill set to negotiate an influencer contract or should I be outsourcing this to an agency?
If you have no prior experience in negotiating with influencers you should consider the cost benefit of using a company that has knowledge, is process driven and can display results from past campaigns. Don’t get lured into influencer software platforms that will spit out millions of recommendations without a defined strategy. No two tracking software programs are alike and, at the end of the day, a human analysis will be required to legitimize whom you may be pursuing for your campaign. Most companies that have this area of expertise will have the required information and market knowledge to create a strategy that will get you the results you are seeking.
2) Do the influencer’s profile and audience fit with my brand? If not is there a parallel association that might make sense?
Experienced influencers will be very particular about your brand and their core audience. They will need to understand your campaign and how they might fit into their communications schedule without being accused of product pushing. Remember, they got to where they are by carefully curating their personal brand. Not all campaigns will have a direct relationship to your brand. As you build out your campaign look for audiences that may have similar character attributes that would be transferrable to your brand. For instance, could an influencer who has a large following in travel also have an impact in food? Also, look for niche experts in geographic locations. You may be pleasantly surprised by both finite expertise and local loyalty. You will also like the associated cost benefits.
3) How do I determine the Influencer’s track record?
Most influencers will have a media kit with past performances and results. Be sure and ask for it. If not ask for screen shots of Google Analytics or past campaign performances. A quality influencer will want to share this information as most campaigns today can be easily tagged and tracked.
4) Who controls the content?
Content control will largely depend on the influencer you are working with. Most influencers will want to know the campaign direction you are contemplating and make their partnership decision based upon this information. For the most part, they will want to incorporate your product info into their own vernacular that best suits their community. Try and look for longer-term relationships. One-offs don’t create any value at the lower three levels of influencers. Having said that, manage your expectations on what might be the outcome when you first begin the relationship. For this reason, incorporate a few influencers into your campaign and see which ones are the highest performers.
5) What is fair compensation?
Most influencers will be willing to negotiate their compensation. Be prepared to pay anywhere from $100 – $1,000 per post/campaign depending on their past performance and size of their base. Most influencers will prefer to be paid in cash, but some (few) will take product in whole or as part of their compensation. There will be other variables that will influence the cost such as schedule (theirs and yours), the length of campaign and level of endorsement you are seeking. The greater the track record, the more money you will likely be paying. If you are prepared to engage celebrity or athlete endorsements, your cost multiples will increase substantially. Some influencers may to try and negotiate some value-add for their community. Be prepared to serve up some free product, brand swag or discount to those who ask.
6) Is there a contract?
Yes. Please make sure you have a signed Non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before you begin negotiations. This way you are protected from the opportunity being publicly disclosed. From that point on, if you decide to proceed you need to have the terms defined in a written binding contract. A contract is the only way you will be protecting your rights and the content.
7) Should I be concerned about “sponsored” or “paid” labels on the content posted?
Most Influencers’ communities will not be swayed by the tag sponsored or paid. They will consider the merits of the brand and fully understand that the influencer to whom they are following will have made a commitment themselves to your brand. They must be convinced of your product to take on an endorsement role for it is their community you are trying to penetrate.
8) How do I measure the success of the program?
See point # 1. If you are inexperienced in running these campaigns and seeking help there are a few base ingredients you should be considering such as:
According to Altimeter’s Traacker report, 71% of marketers rate influencer marketing as a strategic area of their marketing campaign this year. The report also noted that while budgets are currently small, 55% plan to spend more on influencers in 2017.
A survey by IAB in 2016 indicated widespread rise in ad blockers, especially amongst younger demographics. A full 47% of people are using them, and this number will undoubtedly continue to rise, making influencers even a more valuable component of your marketing strategy.
Influencer marketing is big business and bound to increase even more in 2017 and beyond. Be careful with your negotiations and if you are just starting out, manage your program and expectations accordingly.