This sort of subject is pretty diverse and can become complicated, so consider this article a stewpot of ideas. Your job is to stick in your spoon and sip on some of the morsels you find the tastiest. Dealing with influencers isn’t as easy or cheap as it sounds. Some are divas, most are unreliable, and many of them overestimate their worth. Influencer marketing is not a bad idea, but follow a few of these tips if you don’t want them to chew you up and spit you out like nanna’s old, creamed corn.
What is Influencer Marketing?
The narrowest definition is where you (as a marketer/ business) approach an influencer and get them to promote your stuff.
There is a fresh and wholesome side to this method, such as giving smaller and younger influencers a chance to gain some attention. And, there is a seedy side where people try to use their social media influence to hoodwink companies into giving free stuff and then giving negative reviews if they don’t.
Becoming an Influencer
Perhaps the first thing to consider is to become an influencer yourself. If you wish, you can host a series of effective marketing campaigns over a long period of time, making sure to pay the social media network advertising platforms. Over time and with enough money invested, you are going to gain a fair amount of influence if your content is good enough.
Another alternative is to buy up a bunch of other social media accounts. They have to have at least a few thousand followers, most of whom are active and giving out likes and comments. You then promote your goods, services and content to them with the hopes of influencing them yourself. Websites like Fame Swap allow you to buy an audience to set yourself up as an influencer on your own terms.
Work Out Your Marketing First
Do not make the rookie mistake of approaching an influencer and hoping the impact of their words is all you need. Influencers are terrible at selling stuff. If they were any good, they would have more success selling their e-books, supplements, diet pills and clothing. They can’t move an autographed T-Shirt without tying dollar notes to the sleeves.
Influencers are good at getting attention, they are not good at selling. You need to do the groundwork. You need to do a lot of the marketing yourself. Don’t give them scripts unless they are running a podcast. Instead, eliminate potential errors. Give them key points to cover, and keep it brief. Stick to your strongest selling points. These people are not trained actors. They are just popular.
Try Not To Offer Money
Even mild influencers with just 50K followers are going to believe they are celebrities in waiting. Any amount of money you offer them is going to be an insult to their hopes, dreams, ego, and so forth. Instead, you offer them stuff or services.
What’s more, you offer them your best stuff. If you make jackets, then offer to give them your premium jackets. You only pay $8.30 for them, but you sell them for $400. Give influencers “Swag” rather than trying to give them money. They are more likely to give it a good review because they think they got the best stuff, and it costs you far less than if you negotiated a fee.
Give Influencer Some Content Ideas
Again, you cannot trust the intellect of these people. Besides the people in the Fandom Menace, who have to use their intellect, most other influencers are not smart. They don’t have to be smart. They are popular. These are the people who were popular in school. They have natural charisma, but they haven’t worked on their thinking skills. That is why you need to do most of the work for them.
Suggest that they do unboxing videos. Suggest types of reviews they could do. Offer up ideas on the demonstrations they could do. Perhaps offer them insider information so they can give better tutorial videos. Give them extra items that allow them to conduct better and easier demonstrations of a product. Be creative because the influencer won’t be.
Scare Them With Paperwork
So, here’s the thing, if you give a Millennial influencer a script, and they go off script and start accidentally pulling down your product and promoting your competitor, then there is nothing you can do. They can say some pretty awful stuff and you will not win a court case against them. However, influencers are then top of their class.
You can often scare them with paperwork. They may have people who help them with legal work, but simply make it clear what they want and perhaps what you don’t want them to say. In some cases, it stops some of the influencers edit out their negative behavior. Like when you call your lipstick “Vampire red” and they spend ten minutes saying how vampires are white and black, and that blood is red.
More Influencer Manipulation
As a side note, don’t forget there are many ways to incentivize good reviews. You can give influencers affiliate codes, discount codes, affiliate links and so forth. It allows them to double-dip a payment. Firstly by getting a payment from you and secondly by earning referral money. They probably won’t make much affiliate money at all, but they will lean towards being nice about your product because they don’t want to scare off potential buyers. This will work well for your brand, product or service.
Approaching “Not” Influencers
Let’s assume you don’t have the sort of budget that would worry the FED’s interest rate manipulation. Let’s assume you want to start on a fairly modest budget. If that is the case, you must approach people who only have a few thousand followers.
It sounds odd, but you can build your own following of future influencers. Look for people who are clearly putting a lot of work into their content, but they are not very popular yet. Look for people who are good but are currently unappreciated. Give them free stuff to try, test out, review, unbox and so forth. Also, promise to share their content on your social media if they make content about your products or services.
Build a good reputation with people who are content creators. Some of them are going to go viral at some point, and having a prior relationship with them is very powerful. Plus, their few thousand followers may contain a pocket of people who are seriously hungry for your products. They, too, may pass on the word about your brand, which will have a great knock-on effect in the future.