The rise of social media & influencer marketing
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Snapchat. YouTube. The increasing popularity of social media platforms has opened up a marketing opportunity to hustling business owners and self-promotors alike..a new age we call influencer marketing. Entire brands are being built off the backs of Facebook and Instagram with the help of social media influencers and their loyal followers. I’ve even built my own activewear label this way!
Building our brand
Almost 3 years ago, I co-founded our Australian activewear brand named Aura Eve, growing our sales and our social media following, year-on-year. When we started we utilised various marketing methods, one being influencer marketing.
Back then we had no marketing experience. No idea how to engage girls we wanted to promote our products. How did we start? Emails, DMs and Facebook Messenger! It was pretty hard in the beginning…no one knew who we were and we didn’t a large marketing budget. We tried contra deals – Instagram post in exchange of product – with varying degrees of success.
We eventually came across an up and coming local influencer and blogger, who had a loyal and growing following. She was our very first paid influencer at a relatively low rate. When she posted about our booty bands, we saw a direct correlation in sales…we were ecstatic! Seeing the success that could come from influencer marketing, it has always been part of our marketing strategy.
The good and the bad
From my own experience, influencer marketing hasn’t always been successful. Followers can be fake and likes are bought. To save you some of the pain and anguish I’ve been through, I’ve listed some of my insights below:
1. Increased brand awareness – there is no doubt that a successful social media influencer with help get your product out to an audience.
2. Increased social media following – using the right influencer will hopefully bring across some of their followers to your business’ social media platforms.
3. Increased sales – a direct sales from conversion from a social media influencer post = success! You might consider using the influencer again or come up with other strategies that benefits them as well.
1. Some influencers will take you product and never post – unfortunately, not everyone is honest…select influencers carefully.
2. Social media post may not be what you expected – your idea of the post might be very different to the influencer’s idea of the post. Make your content request clear. Review the content created and stipulate when to upload, to ensure maximum engagement.
3. May be a poor performing conversion – let’s face it, sometimes it just doesn’t work as you might have anticipated. This can be due to a number of different factors – time content was posted, relevance to the audience, quality of the content etc. Remember to always track as best you can, so you can improve the strategy next time round.
Social media influencer & Personal Trainer Camilla Akerberg
How much should I pay?
It’s hard to determine how much to pay in influencer to promote your product. I’ve seen rates from $100 to $10,000 per Instagram photo. YouTube product reviews are even more! Always do your research and check the legitimacy of a social media influencer’s followers and engagement. Don’t just look at follower numbers and likes, look at how many people are commenting on a post and what they are saying. I’m no Instagram expert, but hashtags don’t work like they use to (Instagram is changing all the time). With the banning and unbanning of certain hashtags, it can be hard to keep up.
To give you an idea of rates proposals we were getting for social media influencers on Instagram, 1 x post would cost on average between $300 – $500 for a micro influencers. Don’t be surprised if you generate little to no sales from a single post – it’s still a very hit and miss strategy dependent on the influencer. Obviously the more you pay, generally the higher the conversion.
Be very careful on the type of influencer you engage and the quality of their audience. For example, for us there was no point engaging an ‘insta-famous fit chick’ to promote our activewear when 80% of her following were male…these guys aren’t going to buy our leggings! Do your research before you dish out the cash that won’t get you the result.
Should I use agencies or engage in the middle man?
There are agencies that you can contact and apps that connect you with social media influencers. I have tried and tested both. We found going through an agency drives the rate up and that speaking directly with an influencer is actually cheaper – that’s of course if you can get an influencer’s attention.
I have also tried apps like BrandSnob. They are a great start for engaging micro influencers, but found that some girls rates way too expensive based on their low following and engagement. As these type of apps allow you to post your ‘job’ we would end up with loads of engagement requests we had to trawl through, which was quite time consuming. Not to say agencies or apps are bad, just that they come with their own challenges.
Micro influencers Rachel Brooker & Laura Brooker found via BrandSnob
How to choose an influencer
Choosing the right influencer is imperative to a successful marketing campaign. The more you talk to influencers, the more you’ll get a feel for them and their work ethic.
My tips are:
1. Engage someone who truly loves and believes in your product – it’s obvious when they don’t know anything about the product or your brand.
2. Acts professionally and replies promptly – you’ll notice which influencers treat it like a business and others who make your business dealings less of a priority.
3. Ask for analytics – ensure they track their own data and that their followers are the audience you want to market to. If they can’t give you any stats or there social media following doesn’t align with your target market, don’t use them.
4. Give them a discount code to track their conversion – if they are generating sales, use them again!
5. Make it clear what you want from them – so there’s no confusion about you want and that your brand/product is promoted the way you want it. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!