I recently watched (or should I say binge watched) the show The Black Mirror on Netflix. If you haven't checked it out yet I highly recommend it. There was one episode in particular that really hit home for me. It is called Nosedive.
In this episode, Lacie Pound lives in a world where people can rate one's popularity out of five stars, from friends to strangers on the street. Lacie, who is obsessed with being well received, begins the episode with an approval rating around 4.2. She lives with her brother Ryan, who has a lower approval rating and does not worry about it. Their lease is expiring, and Lacie is eager to move out to the "luxurious" Pelican Cove, against her brother's advice. In order to be able to afford to live there, she must either pay an exorbitant rent or earn a discount by having a rating of 4.5 or above.
The concept is kind of crazy, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it really isn't far off from reality. In today's world, we are obsessed with likes and follows so much to the point that Instagram is now paying the bills for many pretty girls on Instagram (a.k.a every girl who has ever stepped foot on the show The Bachelor).
You can probably relate. You casually scroll through on Instagram and see a photo of Jillian Harris promoting her exclusive discount code to some retailer or Sophie Gray of Way of Gray showcasing all of her new furniture from HomeSense for her beautiful new home. Is this a coincidence? Does Sophie just really love Homesense? Maybe. But the real answer is that she was more than likely paid a lofty amount to not only get free furniture and home decor but to post about it on Instagram.
Influencer marketing is a huge strategy for larger companies. Whether it's HomeSense, Protein World, or those silly Gummy Hair Vitamins, influencer marketing is where many companies allocate large amounts of their marketing budgets towards.
This marketing is so popular that new companies have emerged making a business out of connecting companies to influencers. The average influencer campaign can range from $25,000 to $50,000. The real question is does it really generate anything? Will your business see an ROI from this large investment? The answer is always dependent on a number of factors. These include:
1. Choose The Right Influencer For Your Brand
Picking someone who aligns with your brand is key. A collaboration that (in my opinion), is extremely wise is Jillian Harris and Poppy Barley. Jillian speaks well to Poppy Barley's key demographic and has a similar lifestyle. If Poppy Barley decided to go the route with one of the new Bachelor contestants, I don't think they would see the same authentic engagement.
It is also important to remember that Influencers are real people. From my experience, many local influencers are often extremely young. Just because someone has 40,000 Instagram followers does not mean they have their business life together which leads me to point number two...
2. Set Clear and Realistic Expectations For Your Influencer
When I first started experimenting with influencer marketing, I was very naïve and just assumed that the influencer would have my company's best interest in mind. I was wrong, very wrong.
Layout everything in writing with your influencer from:
3. Determine Your Budget. Don't Let Them Determine It For You (Unless it's Beyonce, in that case there is no negotiating).
When working through an agency to connect with an influencer you really have limited control on the price you pay. If you are working with an influencer directly, you are eliminating the middle-man and have the ability to negotiate. I find most influencers with 500,000 or less followers are usually quite flexible on the arrangements. Sometimes they may just want to trade for free things such as products or services, however this is not always the case. Some may have strict guidelines and prices so you will have to determine if it's worth it (and you really won't know until after the fact).
What do you think about influencer marketing? Does it annoy you? Do you ever buy anything that an influencer is promoting?
Let me know in the comments section below!
Simplified Social is an Edmonton-based social media company. We believe is making social media easy and affordable for business owners.