Should You Hire Social Media Influencers to Promote Your Work?

As attractive as being your own boss may sound, self-employment actually means that you are the only one in charge of solving one task after another, especially when you are just starting out. Whether you are a business owner, freelancer, or independent contractor / gigabyte, part of your workload will involve promoting yourself and your work. And given that most people have no experience in marketing, advertising or public relations, you will have to put in a lot of effort.

But advertising and marketing don’t look the way they used to – and we’re not just talking about the 1960s madmen era. While print, television, radio, and website advertising are still widely used today, consider the rise of a new type of marketing that uses “regular” people with high social media following to let consumers know (and ideally be interested in) the variety of products. and services. But is social media influencer marketing really worth it? And if so, how do you pick and test it? Here’s what you need to know.

What does social media influencer marketing include?

Social influencer marketing is definitely not news in 2020, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon. In fact, a Business Insider report indicated that this industry is likely to grow to $ 15 billion by 2022. And while celebrities often act as social media influencers and get paid to promote their “favorite” products, most self-employed people won’t have the capital to have a celebrity act as a social spokesperson.

Instead, these business owners target people who are not otherwise known outside of social media (except maybe in their specific area of ​​expertise) but have significant influence over their followers. In exchange for rewards in the form of actual payments, discounts, donations to charities, or other perks, these influencers will post and talk about your work. But is it worth the investment? Let’s take a look.

How Much Does Social Media Influencer Marketing Cost?

Unsurprisingly, this depends on many factors, including the number of subscribers a person has, as well as the pay structure (more on that in a minute) and the frequency of their posts. According to Jeff Crane, digital director of Kingstar Media , the standard rate is $ 100 per 10,000 subscribers. As such, an influencer with 50,000 subscribers will be paid $ 500 to create text, images, and videos, and to publish that content on their social media.

The rate can also depend on the social network in question, explains Oleg Donets, founder and marketing director of RealEstateBees.com . Noting that different influencers have different costs, he says the industry standard posting price is $ 20-30 per 1,000 followers on Facebook, $ 10-15 for 1,000 followers on Instagram, and $ 20-30 per 1,000 followers. on the YouTube platform. …

And, as noted by Josh Carter , director of digital and social marketing Tunheim , marketing influence in social networks does not have to cost a lot of money . “In my experience, influencer marketing can be done efficiently and effectively with smaller budgets, or it can be done in larger ways if there is a larger budget,” says Carter, who has over 15 years of experience partnering with influencers and celebrities, including launching Kitchen Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings collection at Target.

In addition, according to Carter, the beauty of today’s influencers is that they are also “content engines and creators,” which means that in some cases you will be able to present your product and present it in a more cost-effective way than a full blown ad campaign. …

What does the commission structure look like?

Carter explains that, as with traditional partnerships with celebrity brands, most social media influencers receive a flat fee and work under contract. These contracts typically include a one-year licensing agreement during which the influencer creates images and video content for use across various brands, Crane said.

Other pay structures used in influencer marketing include ppp (pay-per-publish), ppc (pay-per-click), ppv (pay-per-view), ppe (pay-per-interaction), and cpa (cost-per-acquisition), says Donets. These models are billed per post based on precise numbers such as follower / subscriber count, clicks, views, etc.

What about the return on investment?

Carter says that even though the costs of hiring a social media influencer can be kept relatively low, it’s important to do your homework and look at the data to formulate your potential return on investment (ROI) and other key performance indicators (KPIs) to be sure. … you don’t overpay. This includes accounting in part for the type of payment (fees, donations, other products / benefits, etc.).

Like the payments themselves, ROI can take many forms. For example, according to Crane, it is “very rare” for an influencer to post on social media that includes a “swipe up to buy” component to generate lucrative profits for the advertiser. Instead, he says influencer content is best used as part of paid social initiatives in the form of user generated content, such as an affordable alternative to full-length video. “For just a few hundred dollars, small businesses can use influencers to create content that they can use on their website, social media, and paid digital initiatives,” explains Crane.

Given that no two programs or campaigns are the same – and there are so many factors that affect influencer engagement and traffic metrics – Carter says ROI ultimately depends on how a brand engages with an influencer. This means there is more homework before the partnership; Take the time to understand social media influencer engagement in terms of the average number of likes, comments, and / or reposts of their posts. whether their audience cares about their content; and whether they have the ability to direct traffic to a specific destination for the campaign.

If you’re looking for a way to test or validate your ROI, Carter suggests giving influencers custom links or custom promo codes to determine if their content is making an impact.

How do you find and screen social media influencers?

Overall, there are three main ways to find social media influencers in a specific niche, Donets explains. One involves hiring an agency that specializes in influencer marketing. Another is the use of platforms like upfluence.com or impact.com that connect influencers to businesses.

But assuming you’re starting small and you might not have the budget for the first two options, you can take the more traditional (and cost-effective) route and do your own Google and / or social media platform search of your choice. (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), Donet says. Here are some specific strategies for finding and checking potential social media sites:

Narrow your search

Before diving into the details, it’s helpful to know what – or, in this case, who – exactly you are looking for. Andy Weil, head of content at Infinity , a call analysis platform, suggests starting by asking yourself what you are selling and who are you trying to sell it to before starting your search.

Look at their level of engagement

Even without fancy software, one can look at influencer engagement rates, Crane said. To do this, look at how many comments an influencer has on their posts versus the number of followers. “Those with an engagement rate of 2.5-5% indicate that their followers are passionate about their posts,” he explains. “Anything less than this means otherwise.”

Analyze the audience of an influencer

Once you have a certain influencer in mind, it’s time to take a closer look at their audience. The easiest way to do this (which also happens to be free) is to manually scroll through their followers and try to determine which accounts appear to be legitimate and which are potential bots, Weil said. One way to do this is to look at their commitments. Are their answers specific? To use Weil’s example: “This is an incredible jumper, I love the blue bits!” much more eloquent than something vague like “WOW! great product! “The latter may indicate that the response was automated and that the subscriber is not a real person.

Reach out your hand

If you are considering specific influencers for your marketing campaign, Crane recommends contacting them through a direct message on their social media profile. Or, if they included their email address in their bio, you can submit requests in the same way as well (which is probably why the email address is there in the first place).

Make sure it’s a match

In today’s space, according to Carter, it’s not enough to work with any influencer – it’s important that the brand collaborates with people with similar audiences who believe in the same things. “If the casting and the partnership is too long, the audience will see right through and lose confidence in the brand,” he explains.

To determine if an influencer is right for you and your brand, Vale recommends considering the following:

  • Is this someone you would like to sell in your store or at an event?
  • Are they already working with other brands, and if so, how do these posts work?
  • Based on their other posts, would you be happy if your product was featured in these photos?
  • Does this person’s values ​​seem to match those of your brand?

Of course, you can give the influencer a few recommendations, but you don’t want to change their style or tone too much – otherwise the partnership won’t work for either of you, says Weil. “Doing this research now will save you the hassle in the future,” he adds.

So are social media influencers worthwhile?

Carter, Crane, and Weil see value in social media influencer marketing. “Influencers know their audience and can bring products to life in new and creative ways,” says Carter. “And they do it quickly, especially with the changes that brands have had to make due to the Covid restrictions.” Another benefit, he notes, is that paying influencers to promote you or your brand ensures that you get exactly what you want out of the partnership, including that “your product or story is told right and doesn’t provoke no surprises. “

Meanwhile, Crane points to the fact that working with social media influencers can be a great way to create content for a brand at an affordable price, in a way that feels authentic and organic, showing consumers real-life examples of people using their products.

Finally, Weil says that long-term brand building associated with smart influencer strategies is where their real value might lie. “Do it right, and you will gradually integrate organically into the culture and become a leader in it,” he explains. “This is what big brands like Red Bull have spent years on, but there is no reason why you cannot become the center of a local artistic community, carve out a spot in a particular online fan group, or [find] any other niche while working trusted voices in these places (and then becoming). “

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