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By now, if you’re like most entrepreneurs or business owners, you’ve probably considered hiring an influencer (or two) to promote your business. Everyone seems to be doing it these days, and the allure here is that a single tweet or Instagram post from a big-time A-list influencer might be enough to turn your business into an overnight success.
But the big question here is one of engagement. Remember, just because someone has a lot of followers doesn’t necessarily mean that this influencer actually gets a lot of engagement from his or her followers. And if an A-list influencer is not wildly passionate about your products, are they really going to do a good job of promoting them? So, with that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind when working with influencers…
1 – “Nano” vs. “A-List” influencers
At some point, you have to decide just how big of a name you are going to use to promote your business. Most “nano” influencers have 1,000 or less followers, while some of the biggest A-list celebrities have millions of followers. So, on the surface, it would seem to make sense to go as big as possible. But here’s the thing – the bigger a celebrity is online, the less control you are going to have over what is produced. And you will be competing with a lot of other brands and businesses, so the market price is going to be bid up to an uncomfortable level. By contrast, you can probably get a “nano” influencer to tweet out a mention of your business for just a few bucks.
2 – Market pricing
Cost is definitely a thing, and you’ll want to have at least a basic understanding of overall market dynamics. Like most things you buy online these days, it’s relatively easy to do a little comparison price shopping to see how much things costs. One informal price list, for example, suggests that an Instagram image starts out at around $10 per post, while a Facebook post is worth about $25. As a basic rule of thumb, cost increases with the size of an influencer’s audience. The bigger the audience, the more attention and eyeballs you can expect to be on each post, and hence, the more you should expect to pay.
3 – Exclusivity
Another important factor is exclusivity. Influencers are always hustling, looking for the next new gig. So many influencers aren’t willing to give you exclusivity. This might not be a big deal if, for example, you are looking to promote a new book, and all you want is a little PR and attention. Look at the back dust jacket of any book, and you’ll see plenty of blurbs from all kinds of people. However, what if you are a hotel brand paying big bucks for an influencer to stay at your boutique hotel and post photos all weekend of what a great time they had at your place? You might be upset and a little aggravated if that same influencer is showing up at the hotel down the street the following weekend, doing the same thing for your biggest rival.
4 – Payment options
In the early days of influencer marketing, many influencers were willing to accept gifts and product in lieu of actual cash payments. They might have been willing, for example, to promote your new shoe brand for just a few pairs of shoes. But those days are over, and influencers are much savvier about getting “value” from their brand relationships. Many now expect cash payouts, or at least commissions on all sales that they help to make. For example, if they ask all their followers to go out and buy your products, then they (rightfully) should be getting some kind of commission for sending business your way. But if you are short on cash, there are a variety of other tools and approaches that might work, including exclusive event invitations, influencer-only discounts, access to VIP individuals, gifts, and bonus prizes.
At the end of the day, the goal of any good influencer marketing campaign should be the creation of a mutually beneficial relationship that helps you as much as it helps the influencer. If you respect and really value the content that the influencer produces, then this is actually a lot easier than it sounds. Even something as simple as creating an “influencer-branded” product line could go a long way in convincing a big-time influencer that you have his (or her) best interests in mind. That’s why many small business owners actually prefer to work with smaller-name influencers who are going to be there for the long haul, and not a bigger-name celebrity who is just doing it for the Benjamins.