Consider how you make purchasing decisions. Are you more likely to buy something after seeing an advertisement or if someone you trust recommends it? Most people value the opinions of friends, family members and experts.
Consumers encounter social media influencers daily and often view them as experts, particularly if they like and respect the influencer and feel a connection. If an influencer they trust recommends a product or service, consumers are more likely to follow their advice and give the brand a try.
Influencers can help businesses grow when they’re incorporated into a brand’s marketing plan with care and thought. We’ll explain more about influencer marketing and how to form strategic partnerships with the right influencers to grow your brand.
Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that involves social media stars promoting your products on their channels. It’s a type of “earned media” ― gaining publicity through promotional efforts instead of paid-for advertising.
Some influencers charge brands to endorse their products or services via social media posts. Others work out product deals with brands. No matter how they’re compensated, gaining an influencer’s trust is paramount. They’re putting their reputation on the line by promoting your offerings.
Influencers tend to have large social media followings. They can be celebrities, bloggers, trusted authorities and “internet famous” individuals with niche audiences. Influencers usually produce copious content relevant to their followers, so they’re always on the lookout for new content that will appeal to their audience.
If you’ve just created a new product, influencer marketing might be an excellent part of your product launch. The Oracle study cited earlier found that 28 percent of consumers find new products and brands via social media influencers.
Influencer marketing has become a more nuanced marketing tactic as social media marketing has changed and evolved. Consider the following steps to find influencers and build lasting relationships.
The right influencer is crucial to your social media marketing campaign’s success. While Kim Kardashian may have nearly 75 million X (formerly Twitter) followers, they may not be the ideal audience for your office chairs.
For best results, research influencers with authority and trust in your industry. Several tools and platforms can help you find the right influencers:
After identifying ideal social media influencers, you must connect with them. This is where many marketers get ahead of themselves. Too often, they ask influencers to work with them before building a relationship.
Depending on their fame, influencers can receive hundreds or thousands of daily requests for content mentions and brand relationships. It’s crucial that they know who you are before you ask them to check out your product.
Building influencer relationships takes time, but it’s worth it. Here’s how to get started:
Get on their radar so they recognize you and your brand when you pitch a partnership deal. Give yourself at least two to three months before moving the relationship forward.
Typically, the bigger the audience, the more likely the influencer will expect monetary compensation for product promotions. Learn each influencer’s rates. If you pitch them with a free product offer and they expect $500 a post, you’ll likely be rejected.
Nanoinfluencers ― content creators with 1,000 to 10,000 followers ― are more likely to promote your product without money changing hands. If you have a large following on their favorite platform, you can offer reciprocal shout-outs ― you promote the influencer to your followers and they do the same. Another option is negotiating a smaller upfront fee plus a performance bonus. According to the State of Influencer Marketing Report, 53 percent of influencer contracts pay influencers based on a sales percentage.
The Influencer Marketing Report also revealed that 41.6 percent of marketers pay influencers money, 29.5 percent give them free products, 17.7 percent provide product discounts and 11.2 percent enter them in a giveaway contest.
After building the foundation of a solid relationship, it’s time to pitch your idea to your social media influencer. Ensure you take a personalized approach that shows you’ve done your research.
Here are some best practices for pitching a social media influencer:
For best results, remember the following when pitching an influencer:
If the influencer agrees to work with you, it’s time to formalize the arrangement with a legal contract. The contract will spell out precisely what the influencer’s obligations include. It should include the following:
While influencer contract templates exist, it’s best to have a business lawyer review your contract before sending it to the influencer. Ensure the contract is fully executed (signed by the influencer and your company representative) before beginning the promotion.
According to the State of Influencer Marketing Report cited earlier, 83 percent of marketers believe influencer marketing is effective and more than two-thirds (67 percent) increased their influencer marketing budget in 2023.
Here’s why influencer marketing works:
YouTube, TikTok and Instagram are the most popular channels where consumers follow influencers.
Successful influencer marketing is about relationships. By showing your respect for the influencer’s work and sending them quality content, products or monetary compensation, you can leverage their influence to connect to a wider audience.
Most brands continue working with the same influencers over the long term, building stronger relationships and growing followings that create mutual benefits. Your goals will determine the success of your influencer marketing relationship. For example, you may want to build brand awareness, reach new audiences, increase sales or boost customer engagement. No matter what your marketing goals are, you can benefit from influencers’ ready-made audiences to improve your bottom line.
Bryan Robinson contributed to this article.