According to a study from Mirriad, 76% of people say they block ads online and skip traditional ads on television. The survey also went on to illustrate that 84% of millennials admit to blocking or skipping ads all or some of the time, while 73% and 72% respectively of gen X and baby boomers claim the same.
Another report from Nielsen found that 92% of customers trust people over ads.
So… What do all these stats teach you about marketing? That you need to reach your audience with content that they want to see and from people who they trust!
If you have chosen to work with influencers as part of your social media strategy, here's a helpful list of do's and don'ts when it comes to searching for the right one to work with.
When choosing an influencer for your business to collaborate with, there are three key things to consider:
When searching for bloggers, YouTubers and influencers to collaborate with your brand, you need to decide whether they’re the right fit i.e. is their key demographic in line with your buyer personas? For example, if you are a car dealership in the South West, there’s no point providing discounted services or free products to an influencer who will be targeting 12-16 year old teenagers who are unable to drive yet.
Is your influencer within budget? It is possible to work with influencers who are happy for you to provide products only, but if you are looking at an influencer with a social following of 10,000+, then they are likely to charge in the region of £100-£800 depending on the services they will provide for you. For example, one Instagram post will be considerably cheaper than an Instagram post, an Instagram story and a blog post.
You should also determine whether the influencer shares the same values as your brand. Top tip: scour their archive by searching for keywords that may bring up an old blog post stating that they are opposed to working with certain brands/products.
When searching for influencers to work with, begin by searching for the industry you work in on Google followed by the word ‘blogger’. For example ‘travel and lifestyle blogger UK’ will pull up individuals who market themselves as someone who travels the globe, writing up reviews of key destinations they feel their followers would love to know about. This would be perfect for a travel agency!
Once you’ve found an influencer, take a look at who they are following on Instagram - the likelihood is that they too are following bloggers in the same industry. Voila! More bloggers and influencers than you can shake a stick at.
Influence.co is another great website to use when searching for key influencers in your industry. You are able to refine your search depending on the amount of budget you have and how big of an influencer they are.
Another top tip: if you have found great bloggers who are in line with your key values, take a look at the comments section of their blog posts. The likelihood is that other bloggers will be engaging with the content.
Unfortunately, it is possible for individuals to ‘buy’ their social following. A few pounds can provide 100 new ‘followers’ which will make your chosen influencer’s social following look considerably better. However, a quick look into their followers will easily show whether they have been paid for or not.
Suspicious of an influencer? Take a look at their follower’s accounts; are they missing a profile photo? Or, is their account private with 0 posts but following 3,687 people with only 4 followers? Does their account show spam photos like ‘gain followers quick!’? If a lot of these accounts are apparent then it is likely that their engagement isn’t genuine. Social Blade is a great tool to use to run someone’s Instagram handle through to check there isn’t a significant jump in followers over night.
Screenshot of the Social Blade tool showing where lots of followers were gained (very suspicious!)
When you have found a blogger or YouTuber to work with, be sure to do a quick Google search of their name to ensure they haven’t had any bad press before. It’s also important to run a quick search of their archive to make sure they haven’t worked for any of your competitors previously.
Speaking of bad press, here's an example of an influencer who received huge backlash from 'doing her job' earlier this year.
Back in February, a YouTuber called Elle Darby came under the crossfire of a particular hotel owner after reaching out for a place to stay for free, in return for advertising the hotel on her social channels. Elle's email read:
I hope this email finds you well.
I’m emailing in regards to a possible collaboration on social media – my name is [BLOCKED]. I work as a social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty and travel based.
I have over 87,000 YouTube subscribers as well as 76,000 Instagram followers.
My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentines Day weekend from feb 8th – 12th to explore the area. As I was searching for places to stay, I came across your stunning hotel and would love to feature you in my YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation. Last year I worked with Universal Orlando in Florida and it’s been amazing for them.
Let me know if this is something you’d be interested in doing – I look forward to hearing from you! 😊
This, unfortunately, was Elle Darby’s response from the hotel owner:
Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names),
Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure. It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity.
If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room? The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in? Who is going to pay for the light and heat you use during your stay? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates? Maybe I should tell my staff they will be featured in your video in lieu of receiving payment for work carried out while you’re in residence?
Lucky for us, we too have a significant social media following. We have 186k followers on our two Facebook pages, an estimated 80k on our Snapchat, 32k on Instagram and a paltry 12k on our Twitter, but Jesus Christ, I would never in a million years ask anyone for anything for free. I also blog a bit (www.paulvstenson.com), which as far as I’m aware is another way of saying “write stuff on the internet”. The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for.
In future, I’d advise you to offer to pay your way like everyone else, and if the hotel in question believes your coverage will help them, maybe they’ll give you a complimentary upgrade to a suite. This would show more self-respect on your part and, let’s face it, it would be less embarrassing for you. Here is a little video I produced which you may learn from: http://bit.ly/2mKTDTD.
P.S. The answer is no.
Unfortunately, Elle’s approach to pitching to Paul Stenson was unprepared. Elle attempted to mix business with pleasure by mentioning she will be visiting for Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend, suggesting that this won’t be taken seriously as work. Elle asked for a weekend stay but requested four nights as opposed to the two nights it would be for a weekend…
Elle mentioned that she had worked with a hotel in Florida but failed to support her claim with any metrics or measures and she also failed to mention whether her followers fit the demographic of the hotel.
So, we've covered the type of influencers you should try to avoid, and given the top tips for finding the best ones for your business. What then?
When you have found bloggers you would be interested in working with, or finding out more about their costs, pile them into a spreadsheet for ease of access when it comes to starting your outreach. Columns you might want to include might be:
Remember to let your influencers be creative with the content you want them to provide you with. Provide them with a loose brief, but remember: they’re professional influencers for a reason! They will have fresh ideas that you may have not thought about. Ensure they know what they need to create in return for payment and make sure to turn this into an on-going relationship!
When your influencer has written the blog post, or uploaded the video or image you requested to their site, make an annotation in your Google Analytics so you can record any spikes in referral traffic from this point onwards. You should also keep a spreadsheet of all of the links you are gathering so that you can easily access them and share them on your own social channels (these links make great ongoing content to share so long as the content is still relevant!).
Do you have any of your own tips for working with influencers? We'd love to hear them! Tweet us at @NoisyMonkey and tell us your thoughts!
Events & Marketing Manager Claire writes about events, and, uh, marketing.
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