Everything you need to know about influencer marketing

By Moe McCarthy

3rd January 2017

Until recently, most people would have agreed that Puma hasn’t been on the ‘what’s hot’ list since the ‘90s. However, following some carefully placed pap shots of Kylie Jenner walking to the gym kitted head to toe in Puma, the brand is everywhere.

It’s no surprise that people are more willing to splash their cash based on the recommendations of people they respect, hence marketers setting aside bigger and bigger budgets each year to leverage the sway social influencers have on their followers.

To help you navigate your way through the rapidly changing landscape of social influencers, here are three things you need to know about influencer marketing:

1.    A picture paints a thousand words
I personally find that photographers make the best influencers for digital marketing. Not only do they create everything themselves but they also prioritise imagery (ideal considering 65% of millennials are open about the fact that long-form content is so last year).

Image and video first content isn’t a ‘nice to have’ for the Instagram and SnapChat audiences, it’s a must.

When I find a good lifestyle influencer on Instagram I can literally spend hours trawling up and down their feed. Often to the detriment of my sleeping pattern! Finding someone who can translate what I’m thinking in my head into an image or video makes me so happy and it makes clients even happier.

A good image engages readers, brings an article to life and, if it’s good enough, can completely replace text. 2016 was all about stories on Snapchat and Instagram, a trend which will definitely continue. 2017 will be the year that brands are really tested to deliver great, engaging content that consumers want.

Influencers are key to delivering the right message to the right people and helping push people over that all important ‘click to buy’ line.

2.    You don’t need a big budget
Sure, you can pay international media stars such as Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevigne to post a photo of your product on Instagram, but if it’s not in the right market, or her demographic doesn’t match your brand’s target audience, then your money is wasted.

If you’re small brand and don’t have a big budget to pay A-list celebs to promote your product then you need to be clever to make your money go further.

Hosting a kick-ass event exclusively for the crème de la crème will help build affinity amongst the people that have the power to influence their peer groups and followers. Amplifying an event by partnering with a influencer is a fantastic way to increase exposure. A wonderful example of this is a past partnership between Birchbox and lifestyle blogger, Emily Shuman. Not only was the partnership natural and organic but both parties shared the same audience and were able to benefit from the collaboration by reaching more people.

Offering a first look at products, giving access to the experts usually kept out of reach and offering experiences that money can’t buy will unlock interesting content for influencers to share with their followers. If I’m unfamiliar with a brand, I’m far more likely to engage or purchase if I see a blogger post about it on Instagram or Twitter, as I connect people that I know vs. brands that I don’t know.

3.    To Pay or Not to Pay…That is the Question 
Many argue that true influencers should only promote products that they love without getting paid for it. Others argue that influencers need to make a living. Personally, I believe that they are doing a job. If you’re asking someone to publish content about your brand to raise awareness then why shouldn’t you pay them?

Most influencers will have a code of conduct, only working with brands they truly love. This is clear for everyone to see. It keeps their fans, and their bank accounts, happy.

But remember it’s still business, not a donation. Contracts and agreements must be agreed in writing ahead of any campaign to make sure that everyone is clear on the deliverables.

Here are my top 3 influencers of 2016:
  1. http://www.annelibush.com/
  2. http://wearetwinset.com/
  3. http://www.madaboutthehouse.com/