So you’ve just started your new brand. You want to have influencers endorse and advertise your new products, but how on earth do you start? We’ve got you covered. We know how tricky it can be to source the right people to get behind your passion project, so we’ve compiled some of the best tips and tricks to ensure you get the most out of any influencer relationship.

Covid19 has had a huge impact on businesses, however influencer marketing is one thing that seems relatively unaffected, in fact unsurprisingly social media usage among consumers has seen a marked increase throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. According to data from Connect with Influencers , social media engagement has increased by 67% over normal usage rates. So if you’re still on the fence about contacting influencers to market your brand, just take a look at the stats. The truth is if you put in the legwork and keep a good and long-lasting relationship with a few influencers you can gain more consumers than you could imagine.

The Handbook allows you to compare the social following of different celebrities, in the form of growth charts, so you can see which celebrities have risen the most that week in terms of following. You can also compare celebrities and influencers in terms of social rank and brand influence. This is key when starting off any influencer marketing campaign, and it essentially means that we do all of the ground work, so you don’t have to!

The first thing I’ll say is do your research. It’s so important to know the audience you want to reach, and to keep your business goals at the forefront of these reasons. Maybe you want to connect more with males aged 25-30; you wouldn’t use a 17 year old female influencer to promote your brand then, right? It may sound very obvious, but so often people don’t think about who the audience interacting with the influencer are, and what they are looking for. Follow any relevant influencers and keep track of other paid promotions of gifting they may post about. Did they just post a story on Instagram, or a full ad on their feed? All of this background research ensures that when you go to approach your chosen influencers you can express how impressed you are with all of their past relationships and how you would love to be involved.

Four years ago, the average person needed to see an advert six times before they responded to it, that number has now risen to an average of 16 exposures. As a result the world of marketing, advertising and media has undergone an enormous power shift in recent years, driven by consumers’ demand for more authenticity from brands. If you put yourself in your target audience’s shoes, you want to know you’re getting the best product and brand from whatever advertisement you engage with. People are perceptive; they can tell when someone is being fake and just pushing a product because they’ve been paid a nice amount. This is why it really is imperative that you choose the right people to reflect your brand. You want to be memorable, but only for the right reasons!

It might seem like a daunting thought to reach out to celebrities and influencers, which is why we’ve made an easy and comprehensive plan for you to harness the power of social media marketing and use it to your advantage, click here to view our super detailed guide on how to contact influencers and celebrities. According to www.bigcommerce.co.uk, the two most important things to businesses who use influencer marketing are brand awareness (metrics tied to audience awareness of your product or service, such as content impressions, likes, comments and traffic) and direct response (metrics tied to specific actions, such as clicks, sales, conversions and subscribers).

There are hundreds of companies who have used influencer and celebrity gifting to maximise their sales. Sarah Shaw’s company Sarah Shaw Handbags grew to a multiple eight-figure business thanks to press in magazines like ELLEINStyle, as well as being worn by celebs like Jennifer Aniston and Oprah. “There are so many benefits to getting your product photographed in the hands of a celebrity,” Shaw says. “The media is much more likely to be interested in your brand if you have celebs behind you.” So take notes; before long you might just have the marketing tools you’ve always wanted.

Relevance

Let’s start with the basics. You want to make sure the influencer you choose and their respective audience are relevant to your product, brand or service. I would recommend starting with a look into each of their social media platforms. Do they only post on Instagram, or Twitter as well? With the rise of Tiktok, this could be worth exploring also. According to www.mediakix.com, “TikTok has surged in popularity since its launch in 2016. When parent company, ByteDance, purchased Musical.ly and merged the two, it gave TikTok direct access to the Gen Z market. In 2018, the app was downloaded more than 660 times and an additional 188 million in Q1 2019 alone.” This could be a great way for you to get into a brand new and upcoming market, where your product may still be really niche. Influencers like Charli D’Amelio, Loren Gray and Zach King have all found success with Tik Tok and collaborated with brands like Dunkin’ Donuts and Hollister.

Like with everything, we so frequently rely on other people’s recommendations rather than the actual person/brand themselves. If your friend recommends a great restaurant they have just tried, chances are you’re more likely to go there for your next meal out than a random restaurant on the street. The same goes with influencer marketing. When you see the likes of Kylie Jenner using a new product, and you are in her target audience, you are more intrigued than perhaps would be if you just saw said product in a regular ad. Like all businesses, brand, recognition and outreach are exceedingly important to success, and using an influencer to create this recognition can be an excellent tool. In short, choosing the correct celebrity will create great media exposure. Not only do people pay attention, but they also talk; and with the power of social media, conversation momentum is more important than ever for campaign support and success.

Take OTBT (Off The Beaten Track) for example. They designs and sells women’s casual and travel shoes. It’s a relatively new brand that has quickly grown, and promotes a vibrant and positive lifestyle. Much of their success can be attributed to their carefully selected influencers, and their influencer marketing strategy.

OTBT’s Instagram launched back in January 2015, but its real influencer campaigns began in 2017. The team at OTBT chose to focus on micro-influencers with accounts of 5k followers or less. Since then, they have grown their influencer community from just a few influencers  to over 400; 200 of which just signed on in 2020. Hannah Jenae, with around 3.4k followers, posted herself wearing OTBT to her loyal audience, giving the brand the right leverage they needed to put their young company on the map.

Finding an influencer that connects with your brand and connects with their followers is key. Influencers are really having to identify with their following on a much more personal level, and when discussing certain issues, it’s key to getting the message across, and also think how best they should shift their content as a result of COVID19, and also the tone . Here are 19 influencers who have used their influence positively through the pandemic. In terms of influencer marketing, brands and marketers can use this to their advantage when looking to target and promote their brand/product. Personalisation is all key when brands are looking to work with influencers, its important they find influencers that are relevant and personalise their message to them. Tips on this can be found here.

Engagement

As with any social media content, engagement is the driving force behind it. There is no point in carefully piecing together all of your research, influencer content and gifting products not to have any engagement on the posts. This is crucial, as engagement essentially means potential customers. The higher the engagement, the higher your chance of sales. Pretty straightforward, right?

A good idea would be to look at your chosen influencers engagement on both previous unpaid and paid posts. They should have an idea as to what works better for them and what doesn’t, so take this on board when planning your campaign. To calculate the engagement rate for a single Instagram post, add the number of comments and likes to get the total amount of engagement, then divide that total by the account’s number of followers, and multiply that result by 100. The higher the engagement, the better! If your calculated engagement rate is above 6%, this is generally classed as very high.An element to take on board when considering engagement rate is micro- versus macro-influencers.

An element to take on board when considering engagement rate is micro- versus macro-influencers.

What is a macro influencer vs micro influencer

In simple terms, a macro influencer has a large global following, whilst a micro influencer holds a smaller, often local following. Normally a micro influencer is anyone who has between 10,000 and 500,000 followers on their social media channels, and a macro influencer is anyone with figures greater than these.
However, the key thing to consider it not the numbers but the level of engagement. Micro-influencers can be found in almost any sector, our platform categorises these influencers into focused groups, such as beauty, fashion, health etc.

How can micro influencers help brands? Micro influencers spend all of their time building up their following and not necessarily much time monetising on that following, therefore not only do they generally put in a lot of work to ensure they offer the brands as much value as possible but they also have a highly engaged audience who trust them and are not used to being constantly sold to by them. Often the larger the following is the lower the engagement rate is, therefore brands can benefit from hiring a group of micro influencers, or a combination of micro-influencers and celebrities to raise the ROI of a campaign.

Many small businesses are choosing to work with smaller influencers, with around 5k+ followers, who have a niche following or more loyal followers and using this to their advantage. Take Audible for example. They partnered with photographer Jesse Driftwood, who posted a photo of himself using Audible. He explained how he uses Audible to gain more experience with business management and productivity, all while involved in other activities. Although Driftwood had fewer than 100,000 followers at the time, the Audible marketing team realised that his fans are particularly loyal and engaged. “His simple anecdote makes followers feel as if they’re receiving an authentic suggestion from a friend,” says Harley Schachter, president and founder of Travel Mindset.

The Handbook has over 327,000 global celebrity and influencer contact details, which are constantly updated. For full data on engagement and reach, as well as full audience breakdown by category for celebrities and influencers, have a look here.

Authenticity

Finding an influencer who matches your sector/brand cannot guarantee your success, but it definitely brings you closer to it, check out The Handbook’s celebrity and influencer platform to see how to do this . Say you have a baby toy aimed at toddlers, and want to use influencers to promote it. A good influencer would be a parenting blogger, like the Saccone-Jolys. You can see that they are authentic with what they choose, as they themselves have 4 children. A high percentage of their audience are probably parents too, so you would be getting straight to your target consumers without all the faff of a large advertisement campaign. You must have found the influencer you are interested in somehow, so reflect on this? Did you Google search parenting blogs, or have you already followed these people?  If you have been following them before you probably have a good affinity with them and what they represent- already proving that authenticity matters!

According to www.keyhole.co “71% of influencers believe that what keeps their audience engaged is an honest and authentic voice”. This is a significant number! Like with any business arrangement, you want to know that who you are working with cares about the same things as you do, and encapsulates the same core values as your brand. This can be tricky to navigate, especially with some smaller influencers who may just be looking to make a quick buck. You need to reiterate what you want to achieve out of this relationship, and where this could lead you in the future.

Remember that no one else knows your brand like you do. Take note of the influencers tone of voice. Do they use lots of emoji’s, but you use very minimal? Are they using slang words or a more formal way of communicating? All of these elements tie into how your brand will be reflected to their audience. They won’t want to change how they interact with their followers just for you, so make sure that they would convey your product in a way that resonates with your brand’s own voice.

 

 

Reach

The next thing you want to think about is reach. Essentially reach is the number of people, or rather accounts, that have seen a particular piece of content. Don’t get this confused with impressions, which is the number of times a piece of content has been seen, regardless of how many times those views came from the same people/or accounts. You have to remember that reach can mean someone who saw the post or content for a brief moment, not necessarily in depth. With platforms like YouTube it is more likely that reach should be a factor as the person viewing it has to click onto the video to play. Number of followers is not enough to really determine which influencer is best for your campaign. The potential reach will always differ from the actual reach, so bear this in mind when considering KPIs.

A big focus should be unique reach. Unlike impressions, which are counted several times for the same post, unique reach measures the total number of unique people or accounts who see an ad or post. This is so important as it shows you how many people saw your content across different apps, sites, etc. Impressions track every single time your content is viewed, whereas unique reach will indicate that one single user saw your content three different times, for example. Why does this matter? Unique reach equals more widespread brand awareness, to more new faces.

One of the most successful influencer marketing campaigns in 2020 was one between sustainable skincare brand Biossance and Jonathan Van Ness (Queer Eye). Jonathan’s personable nature and expertise in the beauty arena meant that his followers would be the perfect audience for a brand like Biossance. Jonathan’s own values align perfectly with those of Biossance, so it was really a match made in heaven. With 5.3 million Instagram followers, Jonathan’s platform allowed Biossance to connect with an audience who already have an interest in beauty and who resonate with the content Jonathan shares.

Who could be the Jonathan Van Ness to your brand? If you’re still not sure, take look here at the demographics and comparisons between different influencers, which you can break down by category.

Gain

When all is said and done, what are you getting out of your influencer marketing campaign? It might seem like a very straight forward question, but it is something you need to keep thinking about when approaching any influencers. If you plan on building a relationship with an influencer through influencer gifting for example, you should take this cost into account when sifting through the thousands of Instagram accounts. Can you afford to send them your products free of charge? This is a great way to get an influencer on board and have them try out your product for themselves. Starting with only £960 in his account and 6 dresses, Adam Frisby used TOWIE star Lauren Pope to promote his company. In The Style is now worth over £30 million and it has collaborated with many UK celebrities including Billie FaiersJacqueline Jossa and Emily Atack. By sending influencers the right dress or outfit for their occasion, like a night out, Frisby solidified In The Style as the perfect one-stop-shop for all kinds of events. A simple gesture like sending a gift can help to earn an influencer’s trust and pique their interest in your brand.

The long-term goal, I imagine, is to not only have a heightened brand awareness and new customers but also generating money where you can.  Lots of influencers are able to turn over engagement rates and interactions and make them into cash, and you can profit from this too with the right tools and outlook. By starting a conversation with them through liking posts, sharing content and eventually reaching out you are essentially putting your brand on their radar. You want to make sure that your chosen influencer encapsulates the right image for your brand and can provide that niche market of consumers that a traditional marketing campaign probably could not do.

If you have the budget to host an influencer event, then here are some tips on how to go about it . Take Bonobos for example- When they launched the #BetterThanAC campaign with Foster Huntington, all of the posts included clothes from Bonobos’ Summer Collection. All of the photos and videos were taken in natural outdoor surroundings to show the summer environment. Thanks to these tailored posts, they generated over 5.1 million impressions combined. They also got over 68,000 engagements, which increased their engagement rate by almost 3 times.

If you can’t afford to host your own event, why not attend one? Consider something like Social Media Week London, in November 2021.  On average there are 1,500 attendees and 200 plus speakers. Last year speakers included CMOs, CEOs, and influencers, such as Lindsey Turner, Head of Creators at Twitter and James Lamon, Head of Content at Buzzfeed UK. This is a great way to make connections and approach influencers in person. You can build your relationship in a natural way, and bring along some product samples for them to take home and test out. Follow up with an email after the event, and express how lovely it was to meet them. You’ll be right on track to get your new business connections off the ground!

 

Following these simple steps is a sure way to get you connected to the right influencers, with the right audience. We know how important it is to find people to advertise your brand in an authentic way, and how tricky it can be. Once you build a good relationship with your chosen influencers it’s guaranteed to open more doors for your business and your brand. What are you waiting for?

 

To reach out to Celebrities and Influencers click here 


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