Why you need to pay quality influencers
Because exposure doesn’t pay the bills…
The rise of digital media has made way for a new way of working in recent years. From bloggers to Instagram stars, the sale of goods and services is extending far beyond traditional means of advertising with the likes of small beauty clinics to large tourism operators engaging the services of internet royalty, sports stars and celebrities to promote their wares for a fee. There is no denying the reach or…ahem influence…these digital moguls have, and to many of us (sitting at home on the couch, green with envy that old mate is raking in $1,000 per Instagram post) it seems they’re not really doing much, right? Wrong.
Social media influencers (or talent as we prefer to call them) are content creators. They are creatives, photographers, stylists and writers with perfectly executed social media feeds and the ability to perfectly and seamlessly articulate your brand in a way that you (as a brand owner) may never have considered. They know their audience, what makes them tick, what types of content they like to consume and how to best position your product or service in front of them.
They also have rent and mortgages, children and families to support and bills to pay. Like it or not, this is their job, so if you’d like them to create compelling, creative and engaging content for your brand, you must be prepared to pay for it. When was the last time you bought a car and asked for the wheels to be thrown in for free?
Unfortunately, it’s not an even playing field online, with many social media users and self-appointed “influencers” racking up tens of thousands of (usually bought) followers and, approaching brands for free meals in restaurants in return for a story (which is often just a selfie) or a facial in a decadent day spa to make every single one of their “fans” jealous. But a simple story or post, with no strategy or creative direction does not pay the restaurant staff wages, or the products used in a facial nor the time, energy and effort professionals should be receiving for their hard work and experience. So how do you know who is worth the money, and who isn’t?
Do your research
Not all influencers are created equal and it pays to do your due diligence. A platform may have 20k plus followers, but who’s to say they’re all genuine, engaged followers? Micro influencers are on the rise too, so pay close attention to the highly connected and very active users who sit around the 1k – 5k follower mark. There are plenty of platforms available that have the ability to analyse and report on engagement, growth, reach and audience demographics, so running a quick check before you start the conversation is a worthwhile exercise. Hype Audit, Social Blade and Modash are some great options.
Have a budget
The first thing any talent manager or influencer (worth their salt) will ask, is what are you willing to invest? Generally, influencers and talent won’t have a “shopping list” of prices to choose from per se but will create a bespoke package in terms of content and creative storytelling to help achieve your goals. Quality influencers are all about value and creating authentic, genuine social media content as opposed to just a post or an Instagram story that sits in isolation and most likely won’t have any impact. Being clear about what you’re willing to spend from the get-go will help to mitigate any surprises. Expect to pay at least $1,000 onwards (on top of any gifted products or experiences) for quality content.
Have a clear brief and reasonable expectations
Being upfront and clear about what you want to achieve (ticket sales, product sales, brand reach and awareness) in addition to any requirements regarding imagery, copy and hashtags is crucial when briefing an influencer. Equally, being flexible with their style and creative licence is important to avoid looking contrived and dare we say it…paid. Always request data and statistics at the end of your campaign too, you need to know exactly how things performed
Allow your talent to experience your product
This is important. Do you want them to sing your praises and potentially go above and beyond for your brand? Then go above and beyond for them. If your product is a physical item, create a memorable press kit or gift for them to unbox and document. Allowing them to receive, feel and experience your product before entering into an agreement (if possible) will allow for more authentic and genuine storytelling.
We believe social media influencers and talented digital creatives are worth their weight in gold. The value add they can bring to a business, small or large, through reach, engagements, uniquely created content that can be repurposed, lead generation and sales is just the tip of the iceberg. Think of it as having an army of cheerleaders for your business, if they love it, not only will they nail the brief, but they’ll tell their friends, who’ll tell their friends…and so on.
So, do your homework, create a budget, know what you want to achieve and create lasting relationships with talented individuals who will elevate your brand like never before.
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