The relationship between brands and celebrities goes back decades. Watch TV for an hour today and it’s a virtual certainty that you’ll see Jennifer Garner hawking credit cards, Chris Paul peddling insurance, or some other famous person selling you something you don’t need.
In 2017 though, you don’t need to star in sport or cinema to get paid like a celebrity for endorsing a product. All you need is a large social presence.
People who wield their social clout to promote brand messages on their own accounts are known as social influencers, and they’re part of a burgeoning industry known as influencer marketing. According to Bloomberg, $255 million is spent on influencer marketing every month.
It may seem silly to pay a blogger with fewer followers than your own brand to promote a post, but it can help your message resonate more effectively, said Jon Gunnells, social and digital media manager for Airfoil Group.
“Consumers are more receptive to marketing messages from influencers since they are less biased,” said Gunnells. “Plus, the efficiency is something that can’t be matched in traditional.”
The numbers back him up. According to MuseFind, 92% of consumers trust social influencers more than ads or traditional celebrity endorsements. And according to Hootsuite, nearly 40% of Twitter users acknowledged making a purchase as a direct result of an influencer’s Tweet.
Gunnells, who manages several influencer campaigns daily, offered a few tips for finding and building relationships with social influencers.
Do Your Research: When targeting influencers for your campaign, don’t necessarily default to the person with the most followers. “Research influencers that are passionate about a topic or industry that relates to your brand,” said Gunnells. Take a look at engagement numbers, too. Re-posts can be a strong indicator of a social influencer’s actual influence.
Get Help: Struggling to find the right influencer? There’s an agency for that. An influencer marketing agency can help you find a good match, and might even be cheaper than facilitating a potential relationship in house. “If it is cheaper to outsource and utilize an agency with specific expertise, do that,” said Gunnells.
Negotiate: Be creative in the form of payment you negotiate with influencers. “It doesn’t have to be cash,” said Gunnells. “I’ve seen fast food companies give out coupons and gift packs for influencers to raffle off to their own followers. I’ve seen tech companies provide drones and 3D printers. I’ve even seen car companies loan out $80,000 SUVs for a week in exchange for lifestyle content.”
Follow Jon Gunnells on Twitter at @GunnSh0w.