Going back to my roots today to talk a bit about influencer marketing. The whole industry has shifted since I started working in this business years ago, but there are still some key considerations to understand if you are a brand looking to hire an influencer or if you are an influencer who wants to be in a position to work with a brand.
At its core, influencer marketing is a form of branded content – as in it’s considered a ‘top of funnel’ strategy. I used to tell my brand clients that they needed to be okay checking their expectations at the door for the first few campaigns. The fun is in understanding it’s a relationship you’re developing with the influencer and his or her audience. That’s it.
(Read all about what I learned from a 7-figure influencer here).
If the brand makes it too much about metrics or direct sales, then it’s not really influencer marketing, but paid advertising or celebrity endorsement.
I digress. Let’s look at the six factors that go into pricing and creating influencer marketing campaigns. (Some of these will carry more weight than others, but all should be considered from both sides of the agreement).
When you are pulling together budgets and factoring in pricing and negotiating with your potential influencer partners, the first variable that you really need to think about is reach. A few years ago, if you could get eyeballs on your content, you were doing the right thing in terms of digital marketing but in this day and age we’re being a lot more smart.
We’re being a lot more nuanced. So reach is one of those things that should be a factor when you’re pricing an influencer, but it’s also not the only factor. You want to make sure that you are reaching the right people. You are definitely using that influencer to leverage an audience that you would like to convert into customers.
Let’s do a little bit of deep dive into what that reach truly means…
Factor number two will be engagement and we’re talking quality of engagement here! What kind of comments are they getting on their content? How many comments are they getting on their blog posts or on their Instagram feed?
Do they get quality comments on their YouTube channels, asking deep probing questions about the content, or is it more just like ‘you look great’, ‘love this’ kind of pithy comments. You want to make sure that when they are generating interaction and engagement, it’s authentic and it’s going to help your brand.
The next variable that you should be considering would actually be the quantity of work. It’s not really a good idea or a good investment to work with someone who is a bit fair-weather about their content and campaigns Certain influencers really do take this seriously. Most influencers who are working for brands on a regular basis are either doing this full-time side hustle or as a full-time job.
You’ll want to look for influencers that are consistently pumping out content, at a regular rate. Ideally, this would look like a couple of times a week, on social media and in terms of blog posts, you want to be looking for two to three times a month at a minimum. It’s important to ensure that they don’t post and ghost on their audience, only creating content for a brand collaboration, because it will make their audience feel weary about investing.
Next, it’s key to consider the quality of work. This is where you’re going to have a little bit of discussion with your team, or you’re going to journal this out if you’re a solopreneur or brand manager. What kind of quality of work are you looking for? Are you looking for more authentic photos or are you looking for glossy magazine quality?
What do you want that end product to look like? Something I like to caution brands against is going into influencer relations with too many expectations. This isn’t because you shouldn’t expect high quality work, but because that can really bog down the approvals process.
So if you already have a sense of the.quality of work that the influencer is doing before you approach them, you can kind of work through the approval process more seamlessly. Consider if the influencer you are approaching is used to producing glossy photos, beautifully staged content, and amazing video production.or if their style is more of a snap and go, real-life authenticity. This will help you manage your expectations and know what you’re diving into before starting your collaboration.
The last two things to consider are usage rights and exclusivity. Make sure that you’re explicit about how you’re going to use the content that is created going forward.
If you want to have universal access to everything that that person creates with your brand attached to it, there will be a price attached to that. If you are a brand working in a very competitive niche where perhaps that influencer has a chance of being approached by one of your competitors as well, it may be important for you to consider exclusivity. The last thing that you want is having the influencer talk about you one week and talking about your competitor the next week.
This will confuse their audience, and will dilute your message significantly. You may want to factor in the cost of exclusivity to protect you and to protect the influencer going forward.
To recap, the variables to consider when determining how much influencers cost are the influencer’s reach, quality of engagement, frequency of posts and the quality or style of their work and if that fits the message you are trying to convey with the campaign.
Once you’ve determined if the influencer is a good fit based on that criteria, consider if you need to address your usage rights and exclusivity.
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