Influencer marketing – terra incognita
Even a hundred years ago, there were many white spots on the maps of the world. Territories of which only stories circulated – and always second-hand – tempted and enticed. Riches surrounded by nimbus, filled with dangerous “savages” and adventures. Everyone dreamed about getting it – ranging from the mythical Marco Polo to Joseph Conrad, who floated up the Congo River, who later explained to us in the Heart of Darkness the pernicious influence of the original on the human psyche.
It is our nature to develop new areas. New always means progress. And who dares first, has the chance to gain fame, wealth or recognition.
Influencer marketing is still unknown in the area of advertising. Everyone has heard of fabulous collaboration between the brand and celebrity. How much income they bring to the latter, and how everyone over the age of perfumer wants to record movies, shoot focuses and make money from it.
Relax. The purpose of this text is to fill in white spots related to influencer marketing. When it makes sense, how does the brand carry it, what does model cooperation look like, how much does it cost and how to measure it?
What is influencer marketing?
The essence of influencer marketing is to use the influence of popular network users (influencers) on decisions made by other people. Repeatedly conducted research clearly shows that the recommendation and information received from the influencer are one of the most important sources of shopping impulse.
Influencers are people running blogs and vlogs, accounts on Instagram or other similar platforms – channels that are distinguished by high viewership. They are usually experts in a given field, sharing knowledge about specific products etc. Although they have a lot in common with the so-called brand ambassadors belong to the group of opinion leaders.
What distinguishes influencers from other network users – apart from the range, of course – is the relatively high trust of recipients. This is due to a simple fact: Internet users treat them as equals. At the same time, they are considered as completely objective persons whose purpose is to present the actual characteristics of a given product, and not to maximize their own profits.
It is worth emphasizing that influencers are not only celebrities. They are also “ordinary” people who – thanks to valuable content posted regularly – managed to build a large audience.
Influencer marketing is very popular – especially due to the results obtained. According to the Influencer Marketing Hub study, as many as 84% of marketers believe that influencer marketing activities are effective. However, for people who are just entering this advertising channel, many topics may be unclear.
Advantages of influencer marketing
The ability to precisely reach the target group
The effectiveness of marketing activities largely depends on reaching the right group of users. Influencers make it easier because their blogs or vlogs are watched by people interested in a specific topic in which your brand can at least indirectly target.
If the target group is women expecting a child or those who have recently welcomed a child in the world, it is easy to find them on a channel dedicated to parenting topics. If you want to reach photography enthusiasts, work with a photographic expert or someone who has created a fascinated community around your photos.
These are examples that arise in the first place and are effective strictly in terms of sales, but of course, cooperation can be much more sophisticated and focused on resonance in perception. I will use my favorite example – cooperation of a well-known car brand with a well-known novel author.
On the Internet, our writer can be successfully called an influencer. For many it is a navigational fear, it is read, heard and discussed. With his novels he opens new threads or even wounds. Still, it offers moderate views, but are strongly expressed. On his social media accounts he often expresses his fascination with motoring – mainly what emotions are behind driving a car. Is a representative of the intelligence and one of the new wave of writers. In a word – it is cultural, and at the same time it is “some”, and in the group of its fans there are (I shoot) 30-50 year olds from larger cities, with higher incomes than average.
And all this is neatly combined with a well-known car brand, automatically earning everything that our writer has built up over the years with his narrative among a group that partly overlaps with the brand’s target. This cooperation was mainly communicated on the Internet and there was a lot of controversy like “but how? writer and advertisement? he sold himself! ” To be honest, I would not be surprised if it turns out that these controversies were also generated by the known car brand, because thanks to this cooperation not only the fans of the brand and the author learned, but also the whole world. Well, we will probably never find out.
Potentially attractive cost of cooperation
Influencer marketing often turns out to be much cheaper than other reach forms of brand promotion. One specific amount cannot be indicated here, because everything is an individual matter. However, several factors determining the price can be mentioned. These include range, cooperation channel, scope of activities, industry. The influencer’s recognition is not without significance.
Usually, the settlement takes the form of a specific rate. Sometimes, however, influencers operate on the basis of affiliate programs or barter exchange. It all depends on the company’s internal policy and the influencer itself.
Greater punching force
The spread of the Internet has led to significant changes on the brand-consumer line. While many years ago all advertising messages were one-sided, a lot has changed in this respect. People want to know who is behind a given message, they want to interact, etc. Therefore, influencer marketing has much more clout and impact than traditional marketing messages. What’s more, product or service recommendations are often not associated by paying viewers as paid, but mere recommendations. Of course, customer awareness is getting better and they are becoming more and more sensitive to unnatural movements by influencers.
Influencer marketing and SEO
Influencer marketing is also worth considering because of the impact on SEO. Cooperation with influencers not only has a positive impact on the brand image and contributes to the promotion of products. A good strategy allows you to get much better positions in search results. Why?
Cooperation with influencers gives you the opportunity to get good quality links leading to e.g. an online store. They come out of blogs or other external websites that enjoy a high reputation and popularity among Internet users. influencer marketing – by the way, can support the positioning of your website or store.
Access to unique content
Influencers create high-quality content in which they present a specific product or brand. These actions are welcome from Google’s point of view, therefore access to unique texts may increase the position in search results and the reputation of the website itself.
The possibility of increasing website traffic
There are quite a lot of opinions about whether website traffic is one of the ranking elements. Either way, the influencer helps in getting traffic by recommending specific products and posting links to the site. Those interested will click and go to the brand page, etc.
Influensers reach their recipients through various channels. Before starting cooperation, it is worth checking in which advertising environments they operate. Influencers have already learned that, of course – they can be known from one advertising channel, but they cannot afford to stay in that one channel only. Therefore, it is worth establishing cooperation with people who act in many ways.
Influencers care about the quality of their content and other formats, taking active part in discussions, respond to comments and are able to defend the brand skillfully in case of crises.
It is worth remembering, however, that the above-mentioned advantages apply to model campaigns with experienced and quality-tested influencers. Each such type of cooperation requires in-depth attention and verification from various angles. The advantages of a given cooperation also depend on our goals, indicators or product matching. The methodology for selecting the appropriate influencers is explained in the relevant chapter.
Disadvantages of influencer marketing
No control over the influencer’s image
A problem that has more than once manifested itself with all its might. By linking a brand to a person, you have very limited influence on how you manage your next days, weeks or months of life. Unfortunately, influencers are also people – they have their weaknesses and passions, and sometimes they make mistakes that affect not only their image, but also the image of their business partners. The easiest way to illustrate this is with specific examples.
The latest – and at the same time the most spectacular example – is a celebrity. By creating her own brand, she wanted to associate it with her popularity. The brand was supposed to sew and offer high quality products.
Unfortunately, some fans and customers noticed that the shirts probably came from China and came out of the production line of the company that offers the same shirts (without prints), for a few or several dollars. Never mind the price, but the brand and the celebrity provided information misleading consumers.
Unfortunately – despite the vast experience in communicating with their fans – there was also no sign in managing this crisis. As reported by virtual media:
After disclosing this information, the website removed the information that the clothes were sewn on their own. The celebrity has blocked fans from commenting on all their Instagram accounts. The internet is full of comments criticizing the blogger. Disgruntled fans wrote that they felt cheated because the influencer was building the brand from the beginning on independent sewing and premium quality (clothes prices were also translated).
This example shows how brand dependence on influencer and influencer marketing itself can actually bury it. In addition, it is also worth noting that social media love charismatic personalities – in some sense borderline. The pressure to still be “some” means that even the most experienced influencer can simply swim.
In the case of small influencers, the costs of cooperation are usually time spent and shipping products or small fees.
However, cooperation with the largest influencers means considerable costs. This is not just because the influencer’s “gage” is large. Such cooperation only makes sense when it is long-term. If we already pay 100 or even 300 thousand dollars for a given cooperation, then it would be a shame not to consume the image in as many ways as possible. Thus, we also need to invest in a sensible photo session in a stylish antholog with a view, for example, on Facebook banners or in display or outdoor advertising. You should also record a few or a dozen or so video materials with a view to advertising on Youtube or Facebook, or even television (which powerfully pushes up costs). Therefore, if a given brand decides to enter into a long-term contract with a given influencer, then usually the said fee can constitute only between ⅓ and ⅕ the actual costs of preparing such a campaign. Remember that this is not only a financial investment, but also absorbing human resources within a given company. Your employees’ time also costs, as does pushing other projects to the side track.
That is why – as a rule – the largest combine with the largest. First, they want to strengthen their “brandies” with strong names that somehow correlate with the image they are building. Secondly, they can simply afford it capital. Thirdly – unfortunately – GREAT companies very rarely have everything counted from A to Z – as a result, they allow themselves to wide and reachable cooperation, which is not necessarily well targeted, but at the same time build universal recognition. Something for something.
Measurability of actions
Measurability is a relatively big problem in influencer marketing. And not because it is impossible to implement, but because many times influencer marketing specialists lack skills in analytical tools. This is a very underrated area among marketing professionals. They often leave analytics in the area of e-commerce and performance campaigns. Thus, they have a big problem showing the effectiveness of their actions.
That is why it is so important to understand at least the basic functions in Google Analytics that will prove or negate the effectiveness of some advertising channels. Tracking traffic inside your site will also help you find places where, for example, a surprisingly large outflow of users occurs. In general, even basic analytics can significantly improve not only our marketing messages, but also typically UX issues.
Regardless of whether the cooperation takes place on a blog, Instagram, Facebook, ticker course or anywhere else – make sure that once the given creator links to e.g. a product card, he uses the link you have defined. You can extend it with the name of a given campaign and a specific source. The best tool to do this for free is Campaign URL Builder from a good Google uncle.
By using this tool you will be sure that by analyzing a given campaign in Google Analytics you will not escape any user from a given link.
However, there are places with limited linking options. Then a certain analytical method is to add to the movie e.g. a rebate code, which will be communicated only on this channel. This is not a perfect method and many times marketers do not want to create a dozen or several dozen discount codes for one campaign. Nevertheless, better than nothing.
Why measure at all?
John, known in the book industry under the nickname “cardboard”, is designed to boost sales of the new book. His greatest friend Tom once had a spectacular success selling 100 instances of the steam cleaner on Instagram. The said Tom suggested John this path and he was already beginning to rub his hands.
He sent 20 books to industry instagram accounts and blogs and then waited for results. After two weeks, he recorded a total of 200 book purchases. Because he did not carry out other advertising activities, he decided that this happened thanks to Tom’s divine intervention and advertising on Insta. Sounds logical.
But John was not tempted to give his creators a dedicated link and he doesn’t know what analytics is.
Meanwhile, in the headquarters of the publishing house that published the book, a newsletter was sent in the same period, which went to those interested in news. In the case of this book, it was linked to John’s store, of which he was completely unaware.
What’s more, the publishing house took care of the analytics of its mailing and knows that over 700 people found their way to John’s store, only from this link.
At the next opportunity, John will be convinced that this time it would be good to send books to the same influencers and after the fact he would wonder … why this time it did not work out. It didn’t work out, because it didn’t work out the first time, which it just doesn’t know about.
Aggregates or individual cooperation?
A few years ago, several agencies – aggregates – were created to group influencers under their wings. Some of them were founded by the creators themselves, who wanted to professionalize relations between the brand and creator on the one hand, and partly monopolize access to some reach accounts on the other, which would dictate rates.
Like everything, cooperation with an influencer agency has pros and cons. The organization of work is definitely a plus. You complete the brief, set goals, industry and budget. In return, you can get an estimate of the ranges, creators proposed for cooperation and even a strategy of action with the preferred message that correlates with the given message.
Agencies of this type have taught the brand that it is worth leaving creators a lot of freedom in their actions. They are the ones who know their community best and know what will resonate well among their fans. The problem of influencer marketing for a long time was the instrumental treatment of creators by brandy. They were given a rigid framework of cooperation to blend in with corporate standards. It was a mistake which, fortunately, is not often repeated nowadays.
However, the downside of the agency is that of course you have to pay extra for these services. Commissions depend on the budget and, of course, the higher the amounts, the smaller their percentage share. It is also often the case that, apart from a given agency, you cannot collaborate with a given creator. However, if you have a choice – which option should you choose?
It all depends on the goals – the wider the campaign, the more justified the decision to lead it through an agency that coordinates all emissions, messages and selects the right people for your project. Then your function will be reduced to the role of coordinator. It’s convenient, but also more expensive.
However, if you want to run a “more intimate” action – in terms of coverage or budget – then choose a more economical version, in which you leave everything – from signing the contracts to setting publication dates and their subsequent verification.
Terms of Cooperation
A separate category is what terms of cooperation both parties to a given agreement can agree to. The last thing you can afford is any understatements and areas for interpretation under a given contract.
When it comes to settling accounts with influencers, we usually come across
A. Barter – in exchange for sending products or using services, a given creator shares his opinion / review on a given topic. This is of course a favorable form of settlement for the brand from a financial point of view. Such accounts are usually interested in smaller influencers or medium-sized ones operating on topics priced by advertisers below. Repeatedly, cooperation for barter means less control over the message, form and content because it is not bound by a contract. This, of course, has its pros and cons. Such cooperation takes place much faster and is freer because you do not have to consult it with lawyers, wait for contract signatures by the boss, etc. The creator usually also has much greater freedom in expressing the view on a given product or service, which may be good, but sometimes problematic.
B. Salary – the other often accepted form of settlement (no surprise there) is regular financial compensation for reviewing or reviewing a given product or service. This form is usually tightened by contractual provisions.
Of course, it also happens that in the case of cooperation we are dealing with a mix of both of the above – i.e. barter / financial cooperation. Influencer marketing is quite flexible in this context.
What is worth remembering in the contract from a brand perspective?
– If the creator also prepares the material for use in YOUR advertising channels, then list all possible fields of exploitation. Do not leave room for interpretation, but name them all separately.
– Include in the contract the schedule and individual cut-off dates for the next stages of the campaign.
– Specify the amounts.
– Specify exactly what the creator undertakes to do in a given collaboration.
– You can specify in the contract even a specific link to appear in the posts or materials related to the campaign. However, remember that such technical things can easily be set outside the contract.
What is worth remembering in the contract from the perspective of the
– Specify whether the brand can freely manipulate the given movie or any other format you are preparing (this is about using quotes, cutting scenes from movies, etc.).
– The issue of using materials created by the creator in brand advertising materials.
– Specify exactly what the brand undertakes under the cooperation (e.g. delivery of the product, accompanying materials, descriptions, etc.).
– Brand consent to add cooperation information.
It’s time to finish this extensive entry. I hope that you have clarified the issues related to influencer marketing a bit and set out with this knowledge to hunt your first creators. If you have any questions, feel free to write and give me a maximum of 48 hours to respond.