Influencer marketing is a 21st-century approach to “celebrity endorsements” that involve product posts from prominent social media figures.
Brands collaborate with influencers to increase brand awareness, grow their own social media platforms, and focus their marketing to a niche audience by collaborating with influencers in a specific field.
One reason influencer marketing is so effective is that it puts the relationship in the hands of the brand. This can’t be said for most advertising methods: push an ad out, pray that someone sees it and buys. With influencer marketing, you are connecting one-on-one with your audience to achieve deeper credibility.
And now, due to the advent of social media, anyone can become a storyteller. Influencer marketing is no longer just for large brands and agencies. Companies can now tell stories by connecting with individuals. Brands have also begun to realize that working with smaller micro-influencers may be cheaper, more meaningful and more beneficial in developing a stronger bond between brand and consumer.
In this article, I’ve outlined some strategies to consider if you’re looking to work with influencers on a small-business budget (and will be useful for startups and marketers in general).
How much does Influencer Marketing cost?
here are numerous factors that determine how much an influencer collaboration will cost.
The audience size of an influencer is not the only factor that determines the cost. Just like any job, the amount of time the influencer will spend on the collaboration plays a role in the price they’ll charge. A single post on Instagram requires less time than a YouTube video dedicated to your brand, which will usually be reflected in the cost.
Influencer marketing can certainly come at a high cost when it comes to collaborating with big-name social media figures. Some influencers charge up to $1 million per sponsored Instagram post.
Micro-influencers are creators with fewer than 10,000-20,000 followers. Not only are they more affordable, but they also tend to be highly trusted by their followers, have hyper-engaged audiences, and are viewed as more authentic since they don’t have any celebrity status. Their followers see them as relatable which makes them more likely to try a product they recommend. Even big-name brands with larger budgets are gravitating toward micro-influencers because of how effective they are.
When it comes to recruiting micro-influencers, some are willing to be compensated only through free products. This is a strategy known as product seeding or influencer gifting.
Product seeding is the process of sending out free products or gifts to social media influencers, usually in exchange for a post on their platform.
Every influencer is different when it comes to product seeding. Some creators are happy to take part in the collaboration if they are interested in trying your product. Others can be more reluctant and do not guarantee a post on their platform.
Because influencers vary in their willingness to take part in these types of collaborations, it is important to discuss the specific details of the campaign so you know what to expect.
Social Platforms and Strategies.
Brand collaborations vary depending on the social platform. The differences lie in the type of content, the quality of engagement and certain guarantees that will come from each collaboration. Here are some highlights from the most popular social platforms being used for Influencer Marketing in 2021.
Instagram offers various types of content within one platform, which can make it overwhelming for marketers to envision their collaboration.
Instagram’s traditional, grid-photos are ideal for starting a conversation around your product. Other users can like and comment on these posts, making it easy to track engagement. Creators can also include lengthy captions in these posts, which are great to describe your product’s benefits.
Stories are also an option on Instagram. They are a great way for creators to show themselves unboxing your products, casually discussing the benefits of your product and displaying how your product works. When stories are in the form of videos, they are typically “one-shot,” and don’t involve much editing, making them easier for creators to work on.
Reels are Instagram’s latest addition, which are less than 30 seconds long and will also appear in the newsfeeds of those who follow the creator. Reels are a perfect tool to showcase your product in action. For example, if you sell a food product, creators could integrate your product within a recipe displayed through a reel. Reels are often more work for creators than other methods since they require more editing and creativity to produce.
TikTok has quickly risen to popularity as a social platform that features short videos which are 1 minute or less in length. While many influencers have built their name on TikTok, there are questions arising regarding how effective TikTok really is when it comes to influencer marketing.
One of the biggest differences between TikTok and other social platforms is the fact that it revolves around a For You page, which is essentially content that is highly curated to each individual user. While TikTok has been praised for the algorithm behind the infamous For You page, this aspect of the platform has a few implications for marketers.
First, the For You page mostly features content from creators who users do not follow. While other platforms revolve around content from those who you do follow, this is a secondary aspect of the content on TikTok. While there are obviously TikTok users who are widely followed, their content is not necessarily showcased first and foremost. In a way, this undermines their influence, meaning a collaboration may not be easily quantified just by their number of followers.
Second, many TikTok creators theorize that the algorithm actually downplays content that appears to be an advertisement. If there is one thing we know about the TikTok algorithm, it’s that it is incredibly effective at what it does. Avoid language that indicates the nature of the post, such as “sign up for…”, “use my promo code” or “it is only $50!” This is key in the caption, video text, and spoken language.
TikTok has much more virality potential than other social platforms because their algorithm is based on many other factors besides the number of followers. You’ll see a much wider gap in the views a creator gets on each of their videos. It can be harder to guarantee the level of engagement you’ll actually get from a collaboration. However, this evens the playing field for smaller creators. Choose creators based on the quality of their content and understand if their engaged followers align with your brand and product.
Creators can leverage popular “trends” on TikTok – this includes sounds, dances, memes etc. Trends change quickly, so it is important to work alongside creators to stay on top of them! Working around a popular trend will help your content appear on more For You pages and get more engagement.
In conclusion, a small marketing budget isn’t a barrier to working with influencers. Smaller creators and micro-influencers have become popular outlets for content and marketing exposure.
Major brands are also relying more on micro-influencers because of their high engagement rates and authenticity. Methods like influencer gifting and product seeding make influencer marketing accessible to businesses of any size.
Communication is always the best policy when discussing gifting opportunities with influencers. Make sure both of you are on the same page when it comes to the details of the campaign and the type of content they’ll be posting. While influencer gifting can work on a variety of social platforms, it is important to understand the key differences between each one so you can choose which one is best for your product.