Leading the influencer marketing revolution, Social Media expert and author, Unsah Malik, tells all on why it’s so important for SME’s to consider implementing a Social Media strategy in their business’ development and what you are doing wrong when it comes to your marketing strategy.What is influencer marketing? Influencer Marketing is a marketing method practised by brands to promote products and services via an individual (i.e. the influencer) who is followed for her/his opinions within a specific niche on social media. The product or service is generally promoted in exchange for a monetary fee or gifting. This isn?t to be confused with User Generated Content (UGC) which is content a customer creates off their own back and with no prior communications with the brand. Naturally, as the use of social media has risen over the past decade, we have seen an increasing number of social media users becoming influencers ? and a growing number of brands putting spend behind said influencers. How much does influencer marketing cost? There is no one-size-fits-all approach here. It?s like asking how much paid ads cost. It?s entirely dependent on how much budget and attention you want to put into your influencer marking efforts. Some brands put millions of pounds behind their influencer campaigns, while others are limited to 2% of that. The brief answer here is that if you intend to use mid and macro level influencers, you should definitely have budget in the upper-four to figure range depending how influential the influencers are and how many influencers you use. If you?re a smaller brand and want to focus on gifting products or services to influencers because your budget is limited, your best bet is to use nano and micro influencers who aren?t at the stage of charging for promotion (because they haven?t reached a high level of influencer just yet). The industry has changed a vast amount in the past three years? gifting is far less of an option as it used to be because more influencers are influencing as their full-time job. What value can my business get from influencer marketing? If you use the right influencer for the right campaign and with the right campaign objectives in mind, influencer marketing can maximise brand awareness, increase your social stats, increase your customer database and increase sales (note: one campaign alone won?t achieve all of this, you will need to focus on one or two goals at a time). What you achieve from the campaign isn?t always tangible or obvious ? and this tends to be the first mistake most brands make. For example, just because an influencer has 250,000 followers, it doesn?t mean by promoting your product via their Instagram or TikTok, you will automatically generate over 200,000 sales. I always recommend to track as much of your metrics as possible. E.g. If it?s via Instagram Stories, ensure you have created a custom, trackable link your in-house team can measure. If it?s for the feed, ensure it is in the contract for the influencer to send stats after 24 and 48 hours (as an example). Different types of influencer marketing – Which type of influencer marketing is best? There are a few different approaches to influencer marketing which brands lean towards. In exchange for content on the influencer?s social feed(s), a brand can either choose to offer a giveaway, pay the influencer for the content they have produced (sometimes it?s for their feed, sometimes it?s for your feed, sometimes it?s for both parties? feed; your contract will need to make this clear), pay the influencer via an affiliate scheme or to gift the influencer. If you want to work with a macro influencer, it is very rare to negotiate anything outside a strict fee unless the influencer in question has built a strong relationship and loyalty with your brand. Most influencers, whether nano or macro, will use an affiliate scheme for most of their content anyway, and as mentioned beforehand, gifting is generally practiced with influencers who aren?t as influential. I don?t necessarily advice giveaways to be practiced often because it?s rare you?re going to gain invested followers or engagers ? meaning, people might follow you just to enter the giveaway but they will drop off eventually. It?s nice to give back to your audience? just don?t make giveaways as a means to consistently boost your awareness because it?s very surface-level growth. How do I create an influencer marketing strategy: Where should I start? I have a deciding factor rule in my e-book which goes into this in further detail, but a good starting point is to first outline your goal is and how much budget you have. This helps you decide what types of influencers will be best. For example, if your goal is increased brand awareness, you might find it beneficial to spread a wider budget across micro and mid-level influencers because this will likely have you reaching a wider audience. If you have very limited budget, you can look at gifting nano influencers. If you want a huge PR stunt-like bang on everyone?s social channels in the space of 24 hours ahead of a new launch, you can spread budget across mid-level influencers and a couple of macro-level influencers who already own a big audience. What makes a good influencer? There is no straight answer for who is a good or bad influencer asides the obvious reasons of using an influencer with a clean reputation. The real question is asking what makes a good influencer for?your?brand. Does the influencer?s audience merge with yours? Do your values align? Does the content the influence create feel organic to your brand? And then, you will need to look deeper into the influencer?s metrics. Forget the following number because there are influencers with 20,000 followers who can sellout products quicker than those with 1,000,000 followers. Look at their video views, see what conversations and comments are left under their content, ask the influencer to send over a screenshot of average story views and demographics. Sure, a good engagement rate is good, but you still need to look deeper. For example, an influencer?s engagement rate might be high because their selfies gain ten times the average engagement for someone at their level, but the type of content you want them to create to promote your brand may massively underperform (which means their audience doesn?t care about such content, and therefore not a good fit for you). How do I find the right influencer(s) for my brand? You can either look manually on the platform you intend to use, or you can use an influencer marketing platform. There are thousands now available to use for SME as well as larger cooperations. Do a search on Google and trial a few. I?m a little old school and still prefer doing manual ?stalks? and requesting specific information directly from the influencer, even when I?m using an online tool. How much should I expect to pay? There is no industry standard for an influencer?s fee. I?ve created an Influencer Rate Equation in my ebook which has seen many influencers appropriately charge for their content, but for the brand, there are a number of dependable factors including whether the influencer has a manager (you?ve got to remember those commission fees), how much the influencer thinks their content is worth, how long the influencer has been influencing, and how much influence the influencer has over their specific niche. I talk about this more in my ebook, but as a very rough guideline (keywords being?very rough), nano influencers can be paid 2 to 3 figures (2 being on the very low end of influence), a mid influencer can be between 3 to 4 figures (the bracket for ?mid? is quite large so you should expect to pay 4 figures for upper-mid), and 4 to 5 figures for macro influencers (again, it depends on what end of the macro scale they sit at). What is the average price for engaging an influencer marketer?? This can be anywhere from 3 to 5 figures. How much industry experience does the marketer have? How big is the campaign? How much outreach will be required from them? Do you have tools you have access to which they can use, or will they need to find thesethemselves? How long is the campaign going on for? What is the level of reporting required? Just like any other industry, the more experienced the marketer, the higher their fees will be. I found an influencer I want to work with. What?s the best way to contact them? What can I do to make sure I get them on board? Send an email. You want to ensure you can keep track of all communications exchanged without anyone being able to delete or manipulate the conversation. I do not encourage conducting business via DMs, and nor should you be asking for personal details via DMs either (GDPR laws!). The email should be friendly, personal (please stop sending robotic copy and paste emails) and understanding of the influencer?s content and niche. Be clear on what you expect and what your budget is, or ask the influencer what their rates are and you can negotiate from there. Once everything has been OK?d from both parties, send the influencer a contract which both parties must sign. I cover contract basics in my ebook, too. How can I measure an influencer campaign? This is one challenge area for the industry but to some extent, it will always be tricky because measuring non-tangible factors such as brand awareness is always going to be difficult. Think about it: If you paid for a magazine or billboard ad, there is no way you can tell?exactly?how many people have eyeballed your content. You can make an estimate based on circulation, but you will never know the exact figure. Influencer marketing is no different in this sense, and most campaigns are indeed about brand awareness over anything else. I call it a snowball effect. If you have an on-going campaign for 12 weeks, or have a new campaign every 3-6 months (as examples) and use the right influencers for your brand, I can guarantee you will increase in brand awareness over the course of the next couple of months because more people within your niche (i.e. your intended target market) will have seen your brand pop up every now and then on your feed. The more you can make those in your niche familiar about your brand, the better the overall awareness will be. If you want to measure sales, ensure you are sending the influencer a trackable link. You can find out more about Unsah Malik’s best selling social growth e-book, ‘Slashed It’ here.Follow Unsah on Twitter and Instagram
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