As the name suggests, influencers have forged their path through their ability to influence their followers – in particular, their followers’ purchasing decisions.
These figures are not here to play around, with nearly fifty per cent of consumers depending on recommendations from influencers for their purchases. The end game? If consumers feel confident about an influencer’s recommendation, they are more likely to make a purchase and brands can piggyback off this confidence.
If your business isn’t already utilising influencers in its marketing strategy, there is no time like the present.
Brisbane Business Hub asked four Brisbane influencer experts – Sarah Hua and Emily Bitkow, Directors & Co-Founders of VIVRA; Kaitlin Bakalar, Digital Marketing and Ecommerce Manager of dk active; and Ashton Tuckerman, Chief Marketing Officer at Gathar – for their top tips for businesses looking to get into the influencer marketing game.
1. Be clear and set goals
As with every marketing campaign, goals and objectives need to be both clear and communicated before undertaking influencer engagements. Without an end goal in mind, things can easily become murky before you even start.
For Tuckerman, it’s about ensuring there are no surprises. “Setting goals is vital,” she says. “How else will you measure the success of your campaign? Define your key objective: Is this content purely to drive awareness/reach; build your own social community; drive traffic; trial product; or generate leads? This will guide the decisions you make throughout your influencer marketing.
“Providing a clear talent brief means there should be no surprises when the content is published, and you’re setting clear deliverables that hold everyone accountable.”
“We used Scrunch as well as Drew’s talent management agency, Ivy Talent Co – two wonderful Brisbane brands – to gain insight into Drew’s audience and engagement metrics. From here we received Drew’s rates, figured out our ideal ROI to measure the campaign’s success and created a comprehensive brief for Drew including key brand messages we wanted to get across, a visual mood board, content deliverables and dates and any mandatory inclusions.
“We view our campaign with Drew as a successful collaboration for Gathar. We saw a significant increase in followers who have not dropped off; valuable content was produced that we were able to leverage; and we generated actual paid bookings thanks to Drew’s wonderful recommendation.”
2. Bigger isn’t always better
Nano (1,000 to 10k followers) and micro (10k to 50k followers) influencers can be the secret ingredient for success in an influencer marketing strategy.
While they may have less followers than their mega and macro influencer counterparts, their audiences tend to be more engaged and are more likely to take action. They also come across as more authentic, relatable and credible, all factors that are highly valued by today’s consumers. These influencers are far gentler on budgets, while delivering bang for their buck.
“From our experience we have found that nano influencers have been the most effective for us in sharing our product and brand,” Hua says. “Nano and micro influencers are known to have a higher engagement rate than macro or mega influencers, and they are able to develop and cultivate a more interactive and trusting relationship with their followers.”
dk active takes a similar approach, with Bakalar agreeing that they love micro influencers.
“They are a massive source of revenue and provide such high quality content,” she says. “I believe in nourishing these relationships as much as possible. The audiences of micro influencers have such a trusting relationship.
“We also experiment with different platforms so our micro influencer portfolio is well spread.”
3. Gifting is your friend
A gifting model works hand-in-hand with nano and micro influencers and can be incredibly effective. If done right, you’ll be able to keep costs lower and still see great results.
While you can’t guarantee promotion in exchange for gifting, if you believe in the strength of your product or service and partner with influencers who align with your brand and genuinely want to share useful content and recommendations to their audiences, it can be a match made in heaven.
“It is not mandatory to pay for influencer marketing,” Bitkow says. “Gifting can work just as well and usually the nano and micro influencers really appreciate the gift. It’s a win-win.
“At VIVRA, we personally don’t do paid influencer marketing, but do give gifts to influencers in the hope they will love our product and want to share it with their communities. We never force anyone to post or share about us and they choose to do so only if they genuinely love the product, like this post by Seeing Less of Sarah.”
The outcome is a positive relationship that comes across as organic to audiences. Gifting can also act as a solid trial of whether or not a partnership will be fruitful for both sides before committing to a budget.
“Being a start-up or working with limited budgets doesn’t mean you can’t work with influencers,” Tuckerman says. “There’s still nothing like credible word of mouth to boost your brand’s awareness and reach. You just need to be selective and understand the true purpose of the activity you’re investing into.”
4. Be mindful and targeted
It can feel tedious to go through the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of influencers out there to find a great match for you and your business, but doing this due diligence will pay off in the long run.
You should consider your goals and then look at audience, engagement rate, relevance, authenticity, values, credibility, reliability and content and audience quality. Make the wrong selection and you’ll be wasting time, energy and resources.
“We work with talent that shares our views and interests as a brand and are always honest and authentic when working alongside them, such as self-love and mental health influencer Ash Paraskevas,” Bakalar says. “This helps to solidify our brand identity and authenticity and increases the right type of awareness.
“But don’t be afraid to leave your vertical. We partner with ethical brands from beauty to cleaning products to financial influencers.”
Hua and Bitkow agree that selecting suitable influencers that align with your brand and target market can make or break your influencer marketing campaign. They say while it can be a tedious task to research all of your options, it may pay off in a big way.
“If successful, it can be a much more affordable method of marketing over your traditional methods such as paid Facebook and Instagram ads,” Hua says.
Gathar has a similar line of thought, and Tuckerman approaches every influencer campaign as a brand partnership.
“We are very selective about who we work with,” she says. “The first step when choosing an influencer to work with is deciding the audience we want to put our brand in front of, then finding the right influencer who can connect us with that audience. Understanding audience breakdown and average content engagement is essential to choosing the right talent to work with.
“It is also beneficial to look at other brand partnerships or collaborations the influencer may have done for an example of sponsored content they’ve created before, and see if it would work for your brand.”
5. Be sweet, not sour
It is important to remember that your business won’t be for every influencer, just like every influencer won’t be for your business. But building strong relationships with those who you do align with can foster great potential.
“We have always endeavoured to build genuine relationships in all aspects of our business,” Bitkow says.
Bakalar says dk active treat the influencers they work with as an extension of their team.
“We raise them up in their life events and support them during their individual journeys,” she says. “If a talent doesn’t want to work with you, be kind and understanding. One great relationship can spread by word of mouth that you are a great brand to partner with.”
Finally, Tuckerman adds that content usage rights are often overlooked.
“The influencer space continues to become more regulated,” she says, “and it’s important you are playing by the rules, as well as respecting the rights of content creators.”