When it comes to influencers, we as marketers often think like Ross Geller. As a result, what we consider ‘Unagi’ possessed by influencers often turns out to be just another kind of Sushi. We end up falling into the trap of influencers who bring in little value because most of their followers either have been bought or are just fake impressions they had managed to create.
Before we get down to business, let us consider something very basic.
What’s common between an influencer and a follower? They both are human beings.
They want similar things-
- To be heard
- To be validated and appreciated
- To be rewarded
Want some fancy facts about influencer marketing before our fast food for thought? Take a dig.
Influencer Marketing Facts
Our hacks intend to help you solve the challenges related to influencer marketing. But our larger goal is that you are able to get the best ROI from influencer marketing. Ah, you get the drift. Go on then.
#1 Use the Power of Mid-Level or Micro Influencers
Turns out that big and small influencers are like Coke and Pepsi. Followers have a preference but they will pick either one. Influencers with a follower base between 10,000 and 100,000 fall into the mid-level influencer category. Their blogs, Youtube channels or Instagram accounts are good testing grounds to measure a good ROI in micro influencer marketing.
There are a few reasons why we recommend this –
- They are affordable.
- They have a filtered, niche audience because they are not very famous yet.. Their audience is passionate about them.
- They are keen on watching their engagement levels at this stage and can bring as much ROI as the ‘A’ list influencers.
- They are keen on pleasing you and will do anything to get engagement.
|Example – Sperry – a boat shoe brand – started working with 100 micro-influencers in the year 2016 on Instagram. All they did was pick up existing boat shoe users with mild to medium following and invited them to develop visual content for its official Instagram account. Check this out.|
#2 Travel Influencers are Your New Gods
Travel is a new luxury and offers the ultimate bragging rights. Millennials and Gen-X are traveling now more than ever. A Forbes report said that 64% of millennial families having taken at least one international vacation in the past year. If you market to millennials and Gen X, likely that your buyers are following some popular travel blogs and handles. A brand that collaborates with travel influencers is likely to get a better ROI. In the case of sourcing travel influencers, you can easily make segregations such as choosing a national, global or local travel influencer according to the product or service that you are selling in particular areas. Travel is a common interest shared by a large number of buyers, hence, reaching out to a travel influencer is a definite ROI.
Travel Youtubers we love
#3 Know Their birthday. Yes. For Real.
Finding out about influencers’ personal details can go a long way into building long-term business relationships. You must have noticed by now how some influencers just show off in their Insta stories about freebies they got from some brands on special occasions. This is already a good PR when you remember an influencer’s birthday and send him/her a gift, chances are the said influencer would want to flaunt the gift on his/her Snapchat or Insta story. Here’s why we recommend this –
- In exchange for the gift, you may get a free shout-out.
- Even if you don’t get a shout-out, this is a good start of the conversation with the influencer.
#4 Influencer Quotes are Like in Your Content
It’s possible that you may not have the budget to pay influencers at the time. There’s so much content in almost all the fields being posted by influencers that you are likely to find something relevant to your brand or service. Use that tiny piece of relevant content in any of your social media posts or blogs. Later, contact the influencer and inform him/her that you were impressed by what they had posted and that you were compelled to reference it in your content.
Here’s why –
- When you include an influencer’s content in your brand promotions, your users would be pleasantly surprised and would be inclined to buy.
- There’s a chance that the said influencer would promote your content since he/she was referenced.
#5 Get Influencer Testimonial
You may be struggling with users who browse your products but are somehow choosing not to buy them. They are most likely looking for stronger validation or motivation to spend that money. Try to send a free sample of your product to a few influencers. Include a note to send them a testimonial for the product, seek permission to use their photograph and name with the testimonial. From our experience, 1 out of 5 influencers would be willing to send a positive testimonial. Include that testimonial with your products and you will find purchases happening more quickly.
|Youtube and Instagram Influencer KC Stauffer, the mother of the famous Mila Stauffer, often promotes lotion and cream brands in her Insta and Snapchat stories. Several times she has stated that she wasn’t asked to endorse those brands but tried their free samples and was compelled to promote.|
#6 Offer Followers Some Special Deals or Discounts
A way to an influencer’s heart is through his/her followers. Influencers themselves run a lot of discounts, special offers throughout the year to sell their own products, channels, podcasts or tutorials. Offer a reasonable collaboration deal to relevant influencers where you offer to give away discounts or special deals to their followers. This is one of the sure shot ways to get engagement with your brand while also striking a good understanding with influencers. Here’s how to do this –
- Offer a few solid giveaways, deals or discounts and ask followers to win these deals.
- Even when only a few get to win, a lot of audiences would be drawn to your website creating an awareness about your product or service.
#7 Ask them to Endorse Promo Codes
This is similar to Hack #6 but with a slight twist. You may have identified relevant influencers for your brand and calculated costs but it’s still out of the budget. You can just persuade influencers to use your promo codes. You may write a persuasive email requesting them to use your promo codes in their posts for a week or a month at a reasonable price. Why we recommend this –
- Promo codes are the way to win buyers and brand evangelists, hence they work regardless.
- Influencers like promo codes because they give them an excuse to either run a campaign or sponsor their current posts or engagement tactics with a brand value attached.
|Take for instance, watch brand Daniel Wellington works mostly with influencers using promo codes. They started off their promotions with influencers five years ago using promo codes and today it’s a $180 million company.|
#8 Shout-Outs for Influencers
When influencers do not hear you, you can create a shout-out for them in your own special way. There are several ways to do this. You can pick relevant influencers and run a series such as – inspiring influencers to watch out or a listicle including relevant influencers in your industry. Any influencer would readily give you permission to promote them or their cause on your platform.
Here’s why we recommend this –
- When you tag influencers in your posts or include their link, they are bound to notice and would be willing to give back a shout-out.
- Followers of those being featured would discover and notice your brand. This is worth a shot.
If you cannot find an excuse to shout-out, find influencers who are looking for brands to get shout-outs. One hit example of this kind of marketing is DJ Khaled – the celebrity Snapchat influencer who regularly takes part in ‘Snapchat takeovers’. Under this, brands give the controls of their corporate Snapchat accounts to DJ Khaled for a brief period and he creates unfiltered content around the brand’s audience.
|For inspiration, follow this account on Instagram called Top Travel Influencers. This account simply finds travel bloggers from all over Instagram and gives them a shout-out. Sure enough, most of their posts have more engagement than their number of followers since influencers often shout-out back.|
#9 Create Causes Around Relevant Influencers
Another influencer marketing hack that we absolutely love at Sinema Films is to build social causes or TV commercial production around the space of relevant influencers. For instance, organic products are trending worldwide and many vegan influencers are endorsing them. You can create an ‘ice-bucket-challenge’ replica urging vegan influencers to post pictures of their vegan food and further challenging other vegan influencers to do the same. That way, you will channelize a whole community of influencers without necessarily paying all of them and make your brand go viral. Today’s buyers like brands that work towards a good cause and are likely to buy from such brands.
|Fiji – a water brand recently collaborated with fashion blogger Danielle Bernstein and created a campaign called BodyWoreWhat since her blog name is WeWoreWhat. They created 8-minute workout videos motivating people to stay fit while keeping Fiji’s motto of staying hydrated.|
#10 Recruit at Least One Youtube Influencer
It’s the age of voice and video calling and video watching. People are consuming video and voice content like never before. Podcasts and Youtube videos go viral purely on merit. While famous Youtubers are generally expensive to onboard, find a relevant mid-level Youtuber who feels excited about your brand. Give him/her some freebies to use and review and persuade him/her to use that review or testimonial in one of his/her videos. One Youtuber today is worth a thousand influencers. A study by Google shows that 70% of teenage YouTube audiences are influenced more by YouTubers than traditional celebrities. Some of our favorite YouTube influencers are Peter Mckinnon, Jessie Driftwood, Louis Cole among others. Wanna check them out?
#11 Study Relevance and Look For Fake Followers
This is one protocol about influencer marketing that we absolutely swear by. Never get carried away by a famous influencer with millions of varied followers. This kind of influencer would be expensive, may have only a fraction of your relevant users and hence will not generate much ROI. Instead, study the most relevant influencers deep and hard. They may not directly be related to your industry, brand or space but they may have a larger fraction of your relevant audience. Know your audience and choose your influencers based purely on your audience’s likes.
At the same time, watch out for fake followers of your influencers. How would you know that? Compare the number of followers with the number of engagements on their posts. For instance, an influencer has 10,000 followers but gets only 100 or fewer likes or comments on posts, this is most likely an account with bought followers. Another tell-tale is the number of accounts the said influencer is following compared to its number of followers. Say if he has 35,000 followers and follows 50,000 or more accounts, this account is most likely fake.
There can be other signs like –
- Uses stock photos
- Has not tweeted for years. Say the last tweet was 4-5 years ago
- Lack of interaction in the posts
#12 Re-Post, Re-Tweet Till They Notice You
Recall what we shared about the basic human trait we mentioned in the beginning. Nobody can’t avoid you when you keep promoting them free of cost. The reason why ‘viral marketing’ became what it is today because marketers dropped their egos and the expectation of instant ROI and learned to respect influencers by promoting the latter. The whole premise of influencers and their existence is the validation they get from people and brands. When you choose to re-post or re-tweet their content, they are likely to create a post to flaunt. But here’s a caution, re-post is not the same as copy-pasting their content on your pages.
Here’s why this is essential –
- When you keep re-posting and re-tweeting, they will feel obligated to return the favor.
- This pays off in the long as well as in the short run.
It’s gotten longer than we had expected but we intended to give you a complete guide for influencer marketing hacks. Hope you picked a lesson or two. Now go ahead and try them out. Let us know what worked and what didn’t, will ya?
About The Author:
Rinku Choudhary is a digital marketing enthusiast and an avid YouTube viewer. He currently heads the Digital Marketing department of Sinema Films – a video and ad production agency based in New York City. He has 10+ years of experience in social media and digital marketing.