This post was written by our social whiz Grace Dorman. Grace’s job is about researching, implementing, analysing and strategising social campaigns. The social media world is her oyster and she serves it up deliciously…
“Influencer marketing is the act of identifying trusted individuals with an engaged audience and directing marketing activities towards these influencers to receive publicly visible endorsements of a brand, service, or product.” – The Digital Marketing Institute

Yeah. So, simply put, it’s a modern way of gaining a celebrity product endorsement.

It’s proving quite cost effective (right now) for brands to pitch a photo, idea or caption to an influencer, and ask them to endorse a product to their thousands of social media followers. Instead of paying to directly access customers (e.g: Facebook advertising), the brand is paying to indirectly (but slightly more authentically) access a new audience.

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Here in Australia, with the launch of the influencer management platform Tribe, brands (big or small) now have access to a myriad of influencers with follower numbers from 3,000 to 300,000 and whilst paying 500 for a post to go out to 86,000 people seems like it will keep the client happy, there are a few more questions a brand manager should ask before handing over the brief and the cash.

Here are our top four:

1. Relevance

Is the influencer a brand fit? Would Kim K endorse golf clubs? No. But lipgloss? Yes, for a price. Your audience are not idiots, they know they’re being sold to, and they usually don’t mind – as long as the link isn’t too tenuous.

2. Audience match

Are the influencer’s followers likely to purchase your product? The sentiment of the influencer (tone, morals, brand alignments) and basic demographic information (age, gender, location) MUST intersect with those of your target audience for the influencer partnership to be successful. If they do – go for it!

3. Engaged following

Quality over quantity, people! We can’t stress this enough. Elle McPherson has over 192,000 followers, but her like to follower ratio is 0.82%, which means one of two things: either her photos are terrible OR people follow her but for the wrong reasons (bikini shots, anyone?). The lesson here is don’t always trust the follower count, look for the engagement number instead.

4. The price must be right

Consider the cost of taking on an influencer agreement. Let’s say you have a budget of $600.00, and for that you’ve found three appropriate influencers to pair with. If your objective is sales, depending on the value of your product you must ensure a return on the investment. This is where you need to crunch the numbers and find a figure you’re happy with, based on your own cost of goods and services. Alternatively, if your goal is to create brand awareness, you need to determine what each follower is worth to you in dollars, then figure out how high you want to aim.

What’s happening now:

Recently, there’s been a swing toward using quality over quantity, and we’re on board. When we’re working with our clients, we’d rather recommend five influencers who all have a smaller following (micro-influencers), than one influencer with a million followers. Providing you’ve done your influencer research, this should mean you’re hitting your target audience from multiple angles, with repetition enhancing product recall.

Why? Because chances are the smaller audiences will be more engaged with their influencer and therefore more likely to listen to what they say. The stats even back us up: Instagram influencers with fewer than 1,000 followers have a like rate of about 8%, while those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers have a like rate of 4% percent.

So next time you see Nigella Lawson spruiking lawn mowers, spare a thought for the brand manager who didn’t do their research.