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Working with Influencers to grow your social media audience

Whilst bloggers have been promoting goods and services since the early 1990’s, the emergence of professional Influencers has been a more recent event. Professional Influencers do exactly what it says on the tin, they influence! Typically they post pictures and videos of their day to day life on their social media channels, sometimes focused around a specific subject (e.g. make up, fitness, parenting etc.) whilst growing their follower base. These followers are then, at times, influenced by the products, services and companies the Influencer uses. Brands quickly realised that by working with the right Influencers they could reach potential new customers. 

How do I identify an Influencer?

There is no clear definition of what an Influencer is or what someone has to do to become one. In reality, an Influencer can be anyone a brand believes could make a positive impact on awareness, reach and sales of their products or services. Micro Influencers (Influencers with around 1,000 – 5,000 followers) are being increasingly recognised in their importance to brand partnerships as their followers are often very loyal and highly engaged. For some brands and companies, location will be important as they may want an Influencer to visit a shop, attraction or event or know that a lot of their followers are based in a certain geographical area. 

What does it cost to work with an Influencer?

This really is a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question. Some Influencers will review products or services and post about them in exchange for free goods, or free attendance to a show or event. Some will charge thousands of pounds to simply try a product and others will negotiate a five or six figure fee for taking part in an ongoing social media campaign for a brand. 

As a very rough guide you can expect to pay Influencers:

  • 30k+ followers – around £300 per post
  • 20k+ followers – around £200 per post
  • 5K+ followers – around £100 per post

The 2018 fall out #ad

During 2018 there was a lot of criticism about Influencers and how they earn their money. There was a strong backlash to several parenting Influencers who had promoted goods or services without making it clear that they had received payment for doing so. The ASA released new guidelines towards the end of 2018 to clarify the situation. The ASA is quite clear that even receiving free goods, or free entry is a form of payment and once payment has been received any post is therefore an advert. This has seen the rise of the use of #ad #advert #spon and #gift by Influencers. Whilst it is the Influencer’s responsibility to ensure they make the advertising status of any social media post clear to their followers, it is always worthwhile a brand checking everything is presented correctly. No one wants to be caught in the middle of an ASA investigation or social media backlash.

Risks to brands

Like any form of marketing that relies almost entirely of an individual’s name or personality (e.g. sponsorship, endorsements), there is always a risk to a brand or business should that individual become embroiled in any sort of controversy. This risk (and indeed likelihood!) needs to be carefully assessed against the potential benefits of working with an Influencer. 

Steph BakerDigital Marketer

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