Consumers tend to buy from other consumers. In this case, influencers are the consumers who post reviews about a brand's product or service to their blogs, podcasts, or social media platforms—otherwise known as user-generated content ("UGC").
Influencers are no longer just A-list celebrities or world-renowned athletes who have made it to the big screen. Instead, they are digital content creators with a substantial online following (between 5,000 and 20,000 followers) who can deeply connect with their followers and sway their purchasing decisions.
Brands of any size should have an influencer marketing strategy in place when it comes to outreach, negotiation tactics, and maximising UGC from these partnerships. Let's take a deeper look into how your influencer strategy should unfold:
We now know what distribution channels influencers are posting to, but what types of content are they posting? Beauty, e-commerce, and travel are among the most predominant industries that influencers are reviewing and recommending to their followers through UGC.
One example is First Aid Beauty, a line of skincare and makeup products that partnered with 13 influencers who tested the brand's new body scrub and shared their positive experiences on the virtual video platform, TikTok. The main objectives behind this initiative were to build brand awareness and bolster their content creation efforts. First Aid Beauty even created a 38-second song titled "Tik Tok made me buy it" that was used as the soundtrack to each influencer's video.
Another brand leveraging influencers through an affiliate program is ASOS. The online fashion and cosmetic retailer sells over 850 brands on their website, with a significant portion of its revenue coming from influencer marketing sales through Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. The stylish influencers will post a photo of themselves wearing ASOS clothing, accessories, or beauty products and include the product code that consumers can use to shop the same look on their website.
Any influencer you choose to work with has to be reputable, authentic, and dependable in order to provide you with meaningful results. Answering these questions will help you refine which types of influencers you reach out to:
Now that you have a better idea of the type of influencer you want to potentially collaborate with, the next item on the agenda is knowing when to reach out. The process of securing an influencer, communicating expectations, sending your product over (if applicable), and approving the final post(s) can take between 3-4 months.
With this guideline, it is recommended to work back four months from the desired campaign launch date.
When you reach out to an influencer, you want to make your offer so enticing that they can't say no. These popular content creators are likely getting requests from other brands and don't have the capacity to fulfill each opportunity. When crafting a compelling message to send, make sure to include the below:
If your brand is not in the position to fund any influencer through paid sponsorships, there are other ways you can provide incentives to entice influencers. Remember, you want to show your appreciation, offer them something meaningful, and encourage them to purchase from you again: the more they buy from you, the more opportunities you have for future collaborative projects!
Can you offer them a discount when your new spring merchandise launches? If you are a tourism organisation, is there a local hotel you can partner with to provide them with a one-night complimentary stay? Or, are you able to help them grow their following by featuring their profile in a social media post or story?
Rather than casting a wide net with hopes of reaching every influencer in the digital creator space, make an effort to collaborate with a few key influencers using a well-defined strategy. Gain access to consistent, high-quality visuals and build trust with talented creators along the way to make your own content truly stand out.