The Basics of Influencer Marketing

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Basics of Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing has uprooted advertisement strategies in the last 5 years. It turned into this hip, new trend that all content strategists and social media managers are vying for. It can be a huge chunk out of your ad budget, but it does not always naturally fit with your brand, so be careful when you embark on this adventure.

As you can guess, entrusting your marketing pitch to external influencers can be tricky and has ended in social media crisis for multiple brands. Thankfully that is not the standard, but you better have your marketing and PR team aligned if you embark on influencer marketing activities.

As if these considerations were not enough, there is also a fair share of influencer programs that are just pretty poor. Not every campaign ends in a disaster or outrageous success, most of them are just average and some are mediocre. So, when I see a great example, I love to share. Before I jump into the examples, let’s get the basics right.

7 Considerations When Picking Your Influencer

As a social media manager who also works in content strategy and community management, I always consider the following items when looking for an influencer:

  1. Who are they and what do they stand for? What makes them special?
  2. Which audience group do they aspire to influence and how does that group relate to my target audience?
  3. What is their reputation?
  4. Do their values align with our brand values?
  5. Review what kind of content do they produce and does that fit with our marketing content strategy?
  6. Analyze their writing or content style, does it fit with our brand tone of voice?
  7. What is the risk for our brand by associating with this person or company? (free or paid, reputation is a shared risk)

The Who?

There is a simplistic way of thinking about influencers. There are usually tiers of influences, some companies use three tiers, others use five or even seven. The basics are celebrities, journalists, micro influencers, social media sensations, authority influencers, bloggers and even employees. You choose what works best for you. I usually subscribe to these 3 as a good basic starting point:

Audience SizeCostContent Type
Micro10,000-100,000$250 per postBlogs,
Social Post
Macro<100,000 $2,000 per postPhotos, Videos,
Social Post
CelebritySeveral Millions>$50,000 per
Photos, Videos,
Social Post


The How?

Some influencers are easier to engage than others. Celebrities and Artists are usually managed through their agents, who have connections to advertising agencies. You will barely ever be able to negotiate a deal with them directly. Using a marketing agency who has the right tools to identify the right influencer for your target audience will buy you the time and connection to negotiate a contract.

If you find that your sweet spot is with micro influencers however, or your own SMEs and executives, you can do a lot more yourself. Find those advocates amongst your customers or employees. Or find people who have engaged with you or your product previously on social media. People who maybe wrote a blog post or newspaper article about you. Someone who spoke maybe at one of your conferences or is a rising star in the industry and fits your brand and audience profile.

Reaching out to them in email or on social media, asking them if they are willing to collaborate goes a long way in establishing paid or unpaid advertisement for your brand.

The What?

What to write or how to promote yourself is up to you and your influencer. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Free products for video or written reviews
  • Invite people to speak at conferences or workshops or a webinar
  • Co-author a book together
  • Have them guest blog on your corporate blog
  • Invite them to an event and have them do live coverage
  • Surprise and Delight programs to say thank you
  • Invite them to a photoshoot for your upcoming marketing materials

Taking It One Step at a Time

It’s ok to not jump right into the depths of influencer marketing activities. We evaluated in early 2018 if our brand is ready to spend the money and decided against it. 2018 was our year to focus on getting our brand aligned with our own executives and the message they shared with our target audience. We recognized that our brand was too young (only a few months old since re-branding our company) to effectively align with any influencer’s values out there. In addition, the audience we are hoping to influence is not really following a specific influencer.

We found after lots of research, that there just are not many influencers who speak to financial advisors who embrace our core values (yet). So we turned instead to our own executives, who represent the company, our values and have a deep connection with our target B2B audience. We have made executive blogs part of our content strategy and included it in our editorial calendar and planning session. These free resources boost our brand awareness amongst key audiences without raising our risk profile and compliance concerns.

With 2019 on our door steps, we will re-evaluate our LinkedIn influencer content strategy. While our brand might have matured over the last 12 months, we still struggle to find external influencers who speak to the right audience and embody the core values we wish them to represent on our behalf. I believe, that there is a lot more work ahead of us before we can use #ad in our marketing campaigns on social media, but we have lots of fun today as we are paving the path to that future.

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