Brands are educating themselves on the importance of promoting their products and services by collaborating with influencers, and many are already realising what rewards can be achieved. We’ve done some research and had a look into the different ways brands can collaborate with influencers.
On the face of it, it may seem as simple as paying a celebrity a fee in return for a post with some promotional copy, images or video content. But, if executed well, there are more discrete yet effective ways to utilise such a large social following and create a bigger platform for your brand.
There are so many different ways you can collaborate with influencers, some approaches being more beneficial than others depending on your objectives.
If your overall goal is to generate new leads, using social media influencers with large followings and utilising their ability to use “swipe up links” is a great start for your brand.
If you’re new to social media (Instagram especially), and you want to build a following, then providing a unique code for an influencer to share with their followers is a fast and easy way to promote your product. However, choose your influencers wisely by ensuring they are relevant to your brand and their audience is fully engaged so they are more likely to covert to a loyal customer.
Take a fitness brand for example, if they collaborate with an influencer who has 100K followers, but they post little to no content about fitness and healthy living, the campaign is unlikely to succeed. It’s more beneficial to use an influencer with 5-10K followers who posts religiously about fitness and wellbeing, this means their audience is authentic and fully engaged with the account content.
Blogger and Influencer, Em Sheldon boasts 115k Instagram followers and posts lifestyle and travel photography content. She collaborates with brands to increase awareness and boost sales. Her Instagram feed maintains a consistent look with bright photography and has a very natural feel. With such a distinctive style, it’s easy to understand why brands provide her with discount codes to share with her engaged audience. For example, a confectionary brand provided a 20% discount code to save her followers money and the post gained over 2,000 likes.
Affiliate links are another way to work with influencers to drive web traffic and increase sales. They are more discreet than discount codes but influencers must be ‘transparent’ and always state if their posts include an affiliate link.
You can create custom affiliate links for any influencer you work with to offer a certain incentive for a follower to purchase something. It will usually be a link to a discounted product. In return, influencers are usually offered a commission for every sale that’s made through that specific affiliate link.
Competitions and giveaways are great ways to organically grow your social audience and increase overall engagement.
There are many ways to run competitions. You can ask people to follow you in return for an entry to win the prize. You can collaborate with an influencer to run a competition on their channels and, since they have an established audience, the competition will have a higher reach.
This method can be one of the most effective ways to work with influencers. Their followers don’t need to commit to a purchase but they become aware of your brand because someone they trust is recommending you.
The influencers usually get something out of this too, because they can build an even bigger audience by asking people to follow them to enter as well as following the brand page. Competitions are a great way to boost organic engagement too because you usually have to like or comment on the post to enter.
In this example, Zoe Sugg who boasts almost 10 million followers, ran a competition in collaboration with a London hair salon giving a follower the chance to win a ‘hair makeover.’ Zoe’s fans are made up of lifestyle and beauty enthusiasts so it was incredibly popular. In fact, the post gained over 15,000 likes and the account gained nearly 4,000 new followers, a real boost in comparison to 800-1500 engagements on their usual posts.
A brand ambassador is hired by a company to represent their brand in a positive light and raise awareness over a period of time. One of the most well-recognised brand ambassador campaigns is Garnier featuring Davina McCall, Fearne Cotton and Holly Willoughby.
Brand ambassadors are people who are passionate about your brand and are happy to spread your messaging in order to influence consumer sales. An effective brand ambassador humanises your brand — a huge benefit since ultimately, people buy from people.
Since you’re partnering on a long-term basis, and brand ambassadors truly believe in your brand, the messages they spread become more trustworthy and authentic in the eye of their established audience.
A guest post is an article that you publish on your blog which was not written by you. A blogger with their own content may reach out to you with content ideas to be posted on your blog. Guest blogging is a great way to boost web visits and increase industry connections.
A sponsored blog post is paid content. A company will pay a blogger or influencer in exchange for written content, but it doesn’t always have to be a blog post. Since the rise of Instagram, audiences crave quick-to-digest content rather than reading longer articles, so brands often choose to work with influencers on a sponsored Instagram post instead. Typically, they will write a post supported with a photo or video which is an effective tool for the launch of products or introducing new products to existing lines.
So how does it work? You would brief the influencer to outline your content requirements. That way you control whether you want them to a write a blog article or post a quick snap on their Instagram feed. Bloggers will usually be happy to provide their web authority and traffic information so you know how many people the post reached.
Alfie Deyes, a Youtube vlogger and Influencer with 4 million followers created a sponsored post with JustEat asking people to comment what their favourite food to order from the company is. This post gained over 81K likes, raising great general awareness for the brand.
If you’re a food brand, sponsored content is an effective way to collaborate with influencers because you can gift them with a product, whether it’s a subscription box or something as simple as a seasoning mix to create a recipe which can be shared in blog or video format. This creates user generated content which is a popular tool for engaged social feeds.
Recently, guest posting doesn’t seem to be as popular as sponsored posting, maybe because people want to create their own content to remain authentic, but there are certainly still benefits from working with influencers in this way; linking with external sources helps to boost domain and search engine authority and build your portfolio and credibility.
Guest blogging can also be effective for new bloggers to push their content out into the wider market. It’s a great way to improve writing and gain confidence in reaching out to bigger brands who may be interested in hosting your content on their site.
It might be assumed that everyone knows the importance of hashtags on Instagram now. They’ve been around for years, yet many people don’t necessarily know what their real purpose is.
Let’s not forget…
Providing influencers you collaborate with a unique hashtag to use across their social media channels means all the content they create is collated in one place, often resulting in a number of influential people talking about the same thing. Hashtags complete your marketing campaign in the simplest of ways.
They are a quick and easy way to:
If you run a social campaign with a specific hashtag, why not get influencers on board who will share it with their followers? Utilising their large followings is a simple way to boost your campaign and share it with people who may not know about your brand yet.
The same is true with mentions. Bloggers and influencers ‘mentioning’ your brand on social media is natural, it looks authentic and it’s the perfect way to gently push your brand to a whole new pool of people who may be interested in your message. The most attractive thing about mentions? They often cost nothing! If an influencer is genuinely passionate about your brand, they are more likely to happily post about it, because they naturally want to raise awareness and educate their followers.
One example of how powerful a single hashtag can be for your brand is the #IAMWHOLE campaign run by YMCA England which encouraged young people to challenge harmful language and negative stigma surrounding mental health. The aim of the campaign was to encourage others to seek help and was backed by celebrities including James Corden, Ed Sheeran and Rizzlekicks.
There are many ways to work with influencers that will effectively promote your brand. Building an audience, driving web traffic or raising awareness — influencers are an effective marketing tool. You just have to know how to choose the right person and ensure you’re utilising them in the best possible way. Choose the perfect influencer and the search will be worth it.
It’s also worth noting that if you wonder if your brand is too niche and there isn’t an audience on social media who would be interested — trust us, a little research and you’ll be amazed how there really is an influencer for everything.
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