How to make your influencer collabs count
We all understand the power of influencers in today’s online landscape. But how do you make sure you’re getting the most out of your collabs, and how can you really understand whether it’s been a success when the stories have disappeared, and the posts have been pushed down the social feed?
Why invest in influencers?
Working with influencers is an incredibly important way to demonstrate brand endorsement and third party buy-in. What’s more, the smoke and mirrors effect has (thankfully) diminished with the ASA’s insistence on clearly articulating when ads are ads – a good step for the industry in general when it comes to transparency and ethics from a brand point of view.
Influencers curate their own authentic style and tone; one they know their audience engages with, making it more likely that this captive audience will respond positively to a partnership. Reputation is everything for influencers, so although they will be being paid for the majority of their collabs, the reputable ones will only partner with brands who have similar values to their own – and brands that are relevant to their audience, otherwise they risk losing followers. So even if payment if changing hands, the stamp of influencer approval is still a pretty powerful one.
Finding the right influencers
Finding the right influencer to work with is key and, on the flip side, working with the wrong one can have a damaging effect on your brand. This is why researching potential influencers is one of the most important parts of any influencer strategy. There are two ways to do this:
- Subscribing to influencer databases, which can be costly but ultimately a lot of the hard work will have been done for you.
- Desk research. It might sound old school but it’s a fail-safe way to find the right people; it just takes time.
With the latter option, there are various tricks to use to find influencers who’ve previously tagged or mentioned your brand, rather than just starting with a blank search.
Whichever option you choose, the more targeted you can be the better. If you’re looking for ‘national lifestyle influencers’ you’re going to have a bigger task on your hands than searching for niche micro-influencers. And micro-influencers should be considered just as much as macro-influencers. You could argue their audience is more likely to be more engaged because their content is more tailored… but often the micro vs. macro decision may be decided for you, depending on available budgets.
Remember you don’t have to stick to obvious influencer genres either. For example, if you’re a health and wellbeing brand, you might think working with a wellness influencer is the best route. But you could similarly look for parenting influencers (especially new parents) who are bound to have followers who would engage with (and appreciate) health and wellbeing content during night feeds or in their sleep deprived state. Sometimes the less obvious trajectory can be more cost-effective and impactful.
Doing your due diligence is key too. You need to understand which other brands influencers have worked with in the past, whether there’s been any negative media coverage around them etc. This should form a crucial part of this research stage.
Measuring the impact of influencer collabs
Measurement is always a topic of debate. Ideally you want to be able to demonstrate more than just the reach of a post when reviewing the success of your influencer activity.
Here are a few tips to make your collab as measurable as possible –
- Set objectives – why are you working with an influencer? What exactly is it that you’re looking to achieve?
- Define you audience – who are they? What are they interested in? What themes will resonate with them? Does your chosen influencer align with these asks?
- Once you’ve found an influencer to collaborate with, set KPIs up front (they may not want to commit to setting KPIs because of changing algorithms, fluctuations in their audiences etc.) but you can ask them to share post insights from recent brand partnerships/activations, so you have a general understanding of how their content performs. From this you can set KPIs that you can report against internally.
- Think about the type of content you’re briefing in – is it measurable? If you want to evaluate impact, think about how you can simply and easily show direct correlations in web traffic, for example, or offer redemptions. Can you focus on stories with link stickers, or exclusive discount codes for followers of your influencer? The more tangible you can make your content the better – but listen to recommendations from your influencer too because ultimately, they know the content types their audience engages with most.
- Make sure you have a contract in place clearly setting out the brief, deliverables, timescales and a posting schedule – so there are no uncertainties on either side (a side note on timings: always build time in for content approval – you’d be surprised at how much back and forth there can be, especially if you need approval from other stakeholders!).
We’re just scratching the surface but hopefully this will help you on your path to influencer enlightenment and understand the different ways to engage your audiences.
About the author: Amy Airey is CreativeRace’s Communications Director. Amy has extensive experience in communications and PR, working on big name brands such as British Military Fitness, Morphy Richards, Landsec, Barratt Developments, Yorkshire Water and Thomas Cook.