Influencer Marketing: What is it?
When you think of the word influencer, many tend to think it is someone who has a large social media following. In reality, it is a form of marketing where someone influences their audience to take action. That action can be in the form of a purchase, getting people to visit a restaurant location/store location, visit a website, sign up for an email subscription or register for an event.
Influencer marketing has been around for a long time and perhaps came in different forms from what you are used to seeing today. Before there was social media, you seen “old school” influencer marketing in the form of sponsorships and spokespeople. With social media being a staple in most of our lives today it is much easier to reach a wider audience and increase your reach.
What is a Micro Influencer?
A micro influencer is someone with less than 10k followers and focused on a niche. Influencers in this range are generally newer accounts and are trying to build their following. A couple that come to mind are Racquel with a focus on journalism and broadcasting managing RacquelGoldy and David a foodie and video producer managing ThePlasticSpoon.
*Video credit @Theplasticspoon
Both of these micro influencers have less than 10k followers. Sometimes it is possible for a micro influencer to work with another influencer that has a much larger following to help gain exposure.
Other reasons may be to provide services to the primary influencer to carry out the task such as providing filming and editing.
Never underestimate the smaller followings of influencers!
Why do I need to hire an Influencer?
Increasing your exposure, attracting new audiences, starting a new business and showcasing your unique offerings as well as introducing new ones are all reasons to consider implementing influencer marketing into your strategy.
From the photos and video captured by the influencer, this can be used to highlight unique aspects of your features or offerings in detail. Check out this video example of an all mechanical prosciutto slicer at the AC Hotel in Doral, FL featured by StickAForkInMe and shot by ThePlasticSpoon.
*Video credit: @Stickaforkinme – Yes, she edited and filmed this herself!
This short video was designed to showcase the prosciutto slicer which is a highlight of the AC by Marriott hotel brand. The video captures the experience of freshly slicing prosciutto for a sandwich on fresh bread. It is all about the experience you want to showcase to your audience.
According to Influencer.uk; 70% of teenagers who have accounts on YouTube say they relate to content creators on the platform more than traditional celebrities. Similar stats can be found for other channels like Instagram.
How do I find an influencer?
Finding an influencer can be easy. However, how do you find the RIGHT influencer for your needs? Generally if you are in the food, travel or lifestyle categories you have oodles of choices. Other categories can include entertainment, photography, art and design. Here are 3 great options to begin your search.
- You can start your own search, by browsing usernames, word of mouth recommendations and hashtags.
- Utilizing an influencer database like this one from Social Bakers can help aid your search. Keep in mind the results returned, are only as good as the database.
- Using a pre-vetted list from a reputable organization like the Convention and Visitors Bureau/Chamber of Commerce from your city.
Researching influencers is a process. Start small, make a plan and don’t overwhelm yourself.
How to Narrow Down Your List and Find a Good Fit
Analyzing the Statistics
- Content: Look for visually appealing posts, captions with photos/video posts
- Likes: Compare likes across photos, look for consistency
- Followers: Check for valid active accounts, real posts and engagement. Instagram accounts with a large amount of followers and very few posts can be questionable
- Comments: Are there meaningful comments on the posts? More than just 1-2 words
- Comment Responses: Verify that the influencer sincerely replies to audiences comments on their postings.
Determining if they are the real deal
- Reach out to the influencer through email, direct message or any other form of communication.
- Ask them to explain how they got started and why they love what they do
- You will want to inquire further about rates & services they can provide
- Find out about their target market and demographics
- Check out their website and other usernames, if known
As you are interviewing each influencer be sure to take notes so you can gain the full picture of what is on the table. Make sure you ask lots of questions! Have more than one conversation if needed. Communicate!
What to expect when working with an influencer
Every influencer is different. You will have varying personalities, interpretation of what you want done, level of professionalism along with tools, resources and equipment available.
It is more beneficial to lay out a plan of action prior to executing an agreement with the influencer. When you are clear on the expectations, goals and the story you want to tell, it will go a lot smoother.
*Photo credit: @Racquelgoldy
You are there to provide guidelines to your vision but let them be the creative behind the lens. Be sure to communicate the type of shots, video content and story angles you want to capture. If there are particular items you do not want captured, communicate that as well.
As a recommendation; create a storyboard outline. This will help you work through the process. If this is not an area of expertise for you, ask the influencer for assistance. They do this for a living, they are going to know more of how to curtail your story to get the best results.
How much does influencer marketing cost?
Cost ranges for influencer marketing can vary greatly. Costs will largely depend on the size of influencer’s audience, mode of posting (static image, video, channels, blog), giveaways, featured highlights, stories and featured shoutouts with other collaborating accounts. Here is a blog post produced from Valentina at SweetPortfolio about her staycation at the AC Hotel Doral.
*Photo credit: @Sweetportfolio
A post by a middle-level influencer averages $271 per Instagram post according to this post by DigitalMarketing.org. It can also vary in price due to if the influencer brings someone with them as their photographer/videographer for example.
Remember when bartering with an influencer it would typically be expected you’d cover their meals, hotel stay, props or any other means deemed necessary to complete the task in addition to what you are paying them. You would not be covering their crew and equipment costs as this is an expected cost to be covered by the influencer.
Time Investment for Influencer Marketing
- Research: Plan 1-2 hours to research the web to find potential influencers
- Interviewing: 15-20 minute phone chat with each influencer to discuss what you are looking for, target market, rates etc
- Content Plan and Follow Up: I would estimate a few hours at a minimum
- Legal agreement: 1-2 hours. Be sure to review this thoroughly and outline specifics to avoid grey areas.
- Execution: Will depend on your comfort level, trust and staffing. Some influencers will require very specific direction which involves more time while others will show up and get to work right away. Have supplies needed ready to go beforehand.
Working with 3 different influencers for the AC Hotel by Marriott in Doral required approximately 40+ hours. The biggest part of my time was learning the process on how influencer marketing works.
My Influencer Marketing Recommendations:
Go with it! While it’s not a new form of marketing but rather has been redefined. Take the time to understand your audience but let the influencer help guide you on how to market to them effectively.
Be open to their creative minds and listen to how their audience responds to their postings on social media. The whole idea of influencer marketing is to influence.
Deliver your marketing message simply but make it effective by being engaging and capturing your audience’s attention. Include it in your digital marketing strategy. Have fun and Influence on!