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Dos and don’ts when working with influencers
Business Insider predicts the global influencer marketing industry will be worth $15 billion by next year—and for good reason.1 Effective influencer campaigns can return up to $18 in earned media value per dollar spent.2 Numbers like these prompted Forbes to call influencer marketing “the biggest breakout star of 2020”.3
To leverage influencer marketing effectively, brands need to understand what it involves and what pitfalls to avoid. Here’s a look at the influencer landscape and the key elements of influencer campaigns.
Influencers Offer Great Content, Large Audiences
Influencer marketing has specific advantages. Vivien Garnès, cofounder and co-CEO of influencer marketing agency Upfluence (Lyon, France), says working with influencers enables companies to raise brand awareness among new audiences. Rather than build an audience from the ground up, companies can borrow an already established audience from an influencer.
“Influencers are expert content creators whose large social media reach will boost brand visibility and product awareness,” Garnès says. “Influencers can also help brands achieve their sales goals through affiliate or promo code campaigns. Creating long-term partnerships with top-performing creators will help brands maximize their return on investment.”
Traits to Look for (and Avoid!) in Influencers
While influencer marketing’s ROI makes it an attractive strategy, Garnès cautions that not all influencers can fulfill their promises. Sorting out good influencers from bad involves digging into the influencers’ data.
“One key factor to be aware of is fake followers,” Garnès says. “Working with influencers who have a high percentage of fake followers will lower your ROI. Social media platforms are doing a lot to combat fake followers, but brands can also turn to influencer platforms that show the percentage of engaged real audiences for each influencer.”
Fake followers are one reason why a large audience isn’t necessarily ideal. Upfluence’s internal data shows that Instagram fitness influencers with fewer than 15,000 followers receive seven times more engagement than influencers with one million followers.4 Furthermore, not every influencer will be a good fit for every brand. Garnès says the right influencer is the one whose audience, niche, values, and content topics are already aligned with the company’s.
Finding and Securing Influencers
There are several free and paid tools available online for finding influencers. Upfluence’s influencer database, for instance, contains over four million influencer profiles, complete with engagement statistics, audience demographics, and each influencer’s location. Influencer marketing firms can also curate a list of qualified influencers.
After identifying an appropriate influencer, the next step is to establish contact. Garnès says this process involves emailing the influencer with a campaign brief detailing the campaign’s parameters and expectations, as well as a compensation offer. There are several ways to pay an influencer, including flat fee, revenue share, or free product. Once an offer has been made and accepted, the final step is to sign a contract.
Elements of an Influencer Contract
Author’s note/legal disclaimer: The author is not a lawyer. The source is not a lawyer. The information contained in this article is general in nature and is provided for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be construed or relied on as legal advice.
Garnès says a typical influencer contract contains certain key elements: the campaign’s start and end date, the number of posts, the content format, the social media channels the influencer will use, and a publication schedule. Furthermore, he says the contract should include an FTC guidelines reminder noting that all sponsored content must be marked as paid advertisements. Garnès says other important contract details include when and how the content will be approved, who owns the content, whether the brand will reuse the content in future campaigns, and how the brand will measure the campaign’s success.
“Brands should state if they don’t want influencers working with competitors or other brands for the duration of the campaign,” Garnès says. “[The contract should also] specify the payment amount, method, and terms, as well as any information the influencer needs to submit before [receiving] payment.”
The fee to hire an influencer will vary from one influencer to the next. Factors that determine the cost of working with an influencer include the volume of content, the influencer’s audience size, and the influencer’s average engagement statistics.
Garnès says the final element of an influencer contract, apart from the date and signatures, is a performance and cancellation clause. This clause will explain how and for what reasons the contract can be cancelled, as well as what happens if the campaign performs poorly.
Influencer Marketing’s Meteoric Rise
Influencer marketing has skyrocketed in popularity to become one of the top online advertising strategies for brands across industries. This strategy works because it leverages a preexisting audience, cultivates trust, and feels authentic. Brands that can foster genuine, productive working relationships with influencers stand to see a strong return on investment.