Influencers are becoming more and more important to include within the marketing mix and can be used in a number of ways dependent on your strategic goals. They’re a great way to gain widespread coverage in a relatively cost-effective way, reaching your target consumers (if you do the right research) and increasing brand awareness. They can also be a great way to obtain beautifully created content for your brand, especially for social media use.
83% of people say they discover new products or services on Instagram – Facebook 2019
Influencers usually specialise in a particular interest area, from ‘mummy’ content, to fashion, lifestyle, travel, food and beyond. They are also present across all social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Snapchat. So, when targeting influencers for collaboration, honing in on their interest area and lead social media platform is key, ensuring it matches those of your target audience.
There are a variety of ways you can incorporate influencers into your marketing or PR campaign, dependent on your objectives, brand, product and budget. Here are some of the more common…
1. Contra: One way to promote your brand or product is making a contra arrangement with the influencer. Offering your product/service in exchange for social media exposure. This can be very cost effective and generate organic-feeling, genuine opinions from influencers about your brand. However, influencers are unlikely to agree to many specifics regarding content, messaging, timings, hashtags etc when you’re dealing in contra (unless the value of the contra is significant and of high importance to the influencer). You need to be comfortable that they’ll post whatever they like about/including your product, whenever they like.
2. Seeding: With seeding (or gifting) you’re sending your product to influencers unsolicited in the hope of exposure. With seeding you need to send product to a larger list of targeted influencers, to increase your chance of exposure. This can involve creatively executed deliveries, but also just simply sending products. There are no guarantees of coverage with seeding, but the more gifts sent and the more cleverly targeted the list, the more chances of a result, usually via Stories.
3. Familiarisation: Similar to seeding, but for service based businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, and travel destinations. This involves organising for an influencer to experience the brand’s service on an unpaid basis, in the hopes of coverage and reviews. Where the value of the experience is significant, a contra agreement can be made to guarantee certain aspects of the exposure.
4.Paid Collaborations: To guarantee the event and nature of coverage, you need to commercially engage an influencer with a fee. This might involve them documenting and sharing use of the product alongside specific messaging and tags at specific times and in specific ways, acting as a mini (or sometimes maxi!) ambassador for your brand. This allows you to have more control over messaging and nature of the content, and guarantees it will be posted when you want it to be.
5. Event invitations: When holding an event for your brand, it’s also a great idea to invite influencers who are likely to share content from the event to their social media feeds.
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