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Working with Influencers as a business owner

Working with Influencers as a business owner

It has become increasing popular to use bloggers and influencer to promote products and services on social media. However, so many of us still find it a bit of a minefield and not sure what to expect, how to find an influencer or how to find one.

I interviewed three influencers that I have met through the fabulous Instagram community in Bristol the same set of questions of how working with an influencers works, what a business can expect when working with an influencer, how to tell if someone is a genuine influencer (and not a freebie hunter) how to approach an influencer and what are the criteria of being an influencer. 

Katie Jane Konstanz. Instagram: @katiejanekonstanz

Working with Influencers as a business owner

Katie describes herself as an accidental influencer. She just loves pink. Katie works in a corporate environment for her day job and loves using Instagram as a creative escape. Her favourite thing about Instagram is the blogging community. She says “I’ve met so many people that I now genuinely call my friends, but never would have met if it wasn’t for these little squares.”

How does working with an influencer work?
From a business point of view, I would anticipate seeing the relationship with an influencer as being the same as any other marketing/advertising relationship. Once a business decides that they would like to promote their business or a certain product/service and then seek out the most suitable way of doing this by selecting an appropriate influencer(s). 

Once the brief has been agreed in terms of deliverables the influencer will go ahead and post the agreed posts/stories etc. (some businesses request that they see and approve the post/caption before it is posted). I would suggest that the business requests that they would like stats on the posts as a follow up, although in my experience this is not usually requested.

What can a business expect to get out of working with an influencer?
Working with an influencer can be a one off or an ongoing relationship. As long as the business selects the correct influencer (in terms of synergy with their brand) the advert will be served to a far more targeted audience, as opposed to popping an ad in a magazine for example. With Instagram, followers will only follow a page if they have a genuine interest in what the influencer is posting.

Working with Influencers as a business owner

How can you tell if someone is a genuine influencer?
I think you can tell a lot from just looking through an influencer’s social platforms. Are there a high number of ads? Are some of the products on their page slightly random and don’t necessarily ‘fit’? Do their captions seem staged? All of these might be flags that this influencer is potentially not being genuine. Ultimately I think it can be difficult to tell how ‘genuine’ an influencer is, I think the best way to gauge this would be to contact them directly and see how they interact with you – do they have a genuine interest in working with your business and will they be able to deliver what your business requires?

Does a business approach an influencer or vice versa?
Either! This works both ways and I guess can link back to how ‘genuine’ you consider an influencer to be. If an influencer is reaching out to your business it’s pretty likely that they have a genuine interest in your brand and working together. It is very easy to tell whether a business has a genuine interest in working with me, or whether they have mass-mailed a load of influencers without consideration as to whether my page and their business is a sensible fit.

At what point can someone call themselves an influencer?
This is a tricky one, I still find the whole ‘I’m an influencer’ thing a bit cringe! I would suggest that someone is an influencer when people who they do not know and have never met, buy or do something based purely on the influencer’s recommendation. I think being an influencer comes as a result of being honest, genuine and trustworthy.

What are the qualifying criteria?
I think it’s probably a combination of a few factors. Although number of followers does have an impact, I do not think this should be the only consideration when selecting an influencer to work with. Obviously the more followers the more people will see the ad, however I think engagement and fit with the business is the most important. If you work with an influencer who is a perfect fit with the business and has an audience that is genuinely engaged with their content then you’re far more likely that the ad will be success and you will see a return on your investment.

Working with Influencers as a business owner

Can you share your personal experience about working with brands as an influencer?
I remember when I first started my Instagram I was super excited to receive an email from a brand, let alone a gifted product or payment! But now I’m far more considered about the businesses I chose to work with and only work with brands that I genuinely love and think my followers would appreciate too.

I have had both good and bad experiences of working with brands. A good experiences was when a business approached me with a considered, personalised email which showed that they had clearly understood what my Instagram was about and why my page and their business would be a good match. 


Jess Day. Instagram: @abrunetteedit Website: www.abrunetteedit.com

Working with Influencers as a business owner
A Brunette Edit is a beauty and lifestyle blog set up by Jess, a 36 year old mum in Bristol. Forever browsing the ‘new in’ section of Space NK, drinking multiple cups of tea and living in Breton tops – this is city living with a smile and a tiny touch of chaos! 

How does working with an influencer work?
An influencer will agree a set of terms to promote a service or product through content creation by the influencer in return for either gifting or payment from the business. This can be a one off piece of content or on an ‘ambassador’ basis over a longer term. 

What can a business expect to get out of working with an influencer?
A business can expect content in line with the pre agreed terms over a set amount of time (also pre agreed).  An influencer will promote a service or product in the light the business has requested and ultimately a business should see a positive result in increased awareness, sales or revenue. 

Working with Influencers as a business owner

How can you tell if someone is a genuine influencer? Should people contact the influencer directly, through an agency or app?
A genuine influencer should have a significant amount of followers on a social media platform and also good engagement on posts. You can request a media kit and proof of stats and engagement levels to help determine authenticity. Most influencers are happy to be contacted directly unless their profile states otherwise.  An Instagram bio usually sets out how to get in touch and the contact details needed.  Reading through comments on posts can usually give a good idea of genuine engagement. 

At what point can someone call themselves an influencer?
There is no defined answer to this! A lot of the influencer apps request 1000+ followers but some determine a lot more than this. I think the true test is having an engaged following who comment and are actively engaged in the content you post. This is the best way to share product reviews and get content seen by a genuine audience. 

Working with Influencers as a business owner

Can you share some information about working with brands as an influencer?
Working with brands can be a really positive experience if the terms and conditions are set out clearly at the beginning of the engagement. The problem can come when brands request a multiple amounts of content with no financial payment. Brands need to understand that a huge amount of time and effort can go into creating content and therefore influencers should be compensated accordingly. Saying that most brands are really transparent and clear about what is on offer and therefore it is easy to choose what opportunities to take up or leave. 

Abi Hunter. 
Instagram: @ladyhunterblog Website: www.ladyhunter.co.uk

Working with Influencers as a business owner
Abi runs a fashion and lifestyle blog and is also a social media manager, running the social media platforms for small businesses in the South West. Abi has been blogging for almost five years, having had the pleasure of collaborating with some incredible brands. I live, sleep and breathe blogging!’ 

How does working with an influencer work?
From a business point of view, you would want to research influencers properly first. Do they stand for the ethos of your brand, is what they share a reflection of your brand and will they be passionate about collaborating with you. If their content does not mirror what your brand is about, then the likelihood is that it will be an unsuccessful collaboration. The social media following and readership of the blogger is then what comes next. A business must decide on whether they want to work purely on an exchange basis, or whether they are going to offer payment for the collaboration.

Working with Influencers as a business owner

What can a business expect to get out of working with an influencer?
The main thing a business will get out of a blogger collaboration is brand exposure, leading to a much larger brand awareness. In turn, this should lead to further sales and growth of the business. As with everything in business, social media is an investment that takes time to mature, therefore using bloggers has to be seen as a long term investment. 

How can you tell if someone is a genuine influencer? Should people contact the influencer directly, through an agency or app? There are a lot of thriving blogging agencies however, I am personally always more likely to work with a brand if they contact me directly. This is because , I as an an influencer am reassured that they have selected me as I fit the criteria of what they are looking for and they are keen for me to advertise them. Therefore, the collaboration is more likely to actually happen and I won’t be wasting any time. I personally think the best way to get in contact with a blogger is by emailing them, making sure that it’s not an email being sent out to everyone. It needs to feel personal, both ways. 

Does a business approach an influencer or vice versa?
This is a topic that separates a lot of influencers. I am not a full time blogger, therefore do not need the steady income. As a result, I always wait for brands to come to me as I think this means that a collaboration is more likely to take place. If a blogger is contacting you, I would say that it isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you do need to make sure they are doing it for the right reasons. Do they seem genuinely interested in your brand and are they a blogger that would represent you well? As a business, I think it is always more beneficial if you approach the bloggers you would like to work with. 

At what point can someone call themselves an influencer?
I would say when they are at the point of running a consistent and engaging social media platform, whether it be Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. They are able to share products/ services, whereby their audience are paying close attention and are likely to try what they are sharing themselves. This could be a different number of followers for different people. I strongly believe that it is based on high engagement rates rather than high followings. 

Working with Influencers as a business owner

What are the qualifying criteria?
I believe that it is much more about high engagement than high followings. You can tell almost instantly when an account has high engagement, from the quality of the comments and likes per photo. In terms of Instagram, I would say a brand should be working with people with a starting following of 1,000. The following then determines whether or not a brand should be paying for the collaboration. Personally,  I think anyone who has a following over 5,000 should always be paid for their work. 

Can you share some information about working with brands as an influencer?
Over the last four years, I have had the pleasure of working with many brands for the blog and my social media. I love brand collaborations as they are something different and keep me inspired with my work.

My three tips I have are as follows:
1. Don’t offer a discount on products or services in exchange for a post. Essentially, this would mean I am paying my own money to advertise.

2.Pay on time. As an employee a brand would never pay late, so this shouldn’t be any different with bloggers.

3.Share bloggger/influencer images or content on your own social media, especially when it is all on an exchange basis. Everything needs to be fair with these collaborations.

Rachel Monk from Monk PR works on a regular basis with celebrities, Industry leaders and bloggers. 
In the current landscape, with social media dominating almost every aspect of modern-day living, working with influencers is a great way to raise the profile of your brand, product or personality.

But what IS an influencer and why are they one of the fastest growing trends in social media PR and marketing?
Strictly speaking from a PR point of view, an influencer is a person with the ability to influence potential buyers by promoting or recommending a product on social media. We can put influencers into three categories:

•           Celebrities

•           Industry Authoritative Leaders

•           Bloggers and content creators

They credit their fast growing popularity to the fact that they are a trusted voice online with clever content occasionally directed to the end result of selling a product, brand or story to their highly targeted and engaged audience.

This blog has focused on the third category – bloggers and content creators – who, over the last two years and rightly so, have become the most vital influencers in any profile raising PR and Marketing campaign.

Research has shown that time and time again followers are buying products advertised by local, micro influencer who they feel truly believes in the product they are promoting verses a big name maxi influencer who shows no real authenticity for the campaign.

Protip – you’ll get more for your money and create the biggest bang by working with a selection of micro local influencers (5,000-25,000 followers) than splurging all your budget on an national influencer who boasts 100,000 followers but has never shown any love for your niche.

So, now you know you’re ready to launch your campaign, how do you find the perfect influencers?
Recent statistics show that fraudulent influencers are on the rise – cleverly positioning themselves as desirable by seemingly partnering up with huge brands.
Luckily, there are still plenty of authentic influencers around ready to propel your product to another level.

Make sure you approach influencers who resonate with you and your brand. They are going to be your salesperson. You’re investing in them to tell your story. Your product must be something desirable to them, for them to make it desirable for their followers – otherwise you’re going to lose authenticity and not get those all-important click throughs.

Look out for interaction on their page. Does your preferred influencer have thousands of followers but only a few likes and comments? This should ring warning bells. Ultimately interaction is more important that empty numbers. If you are skeptical about an influencer’s following you can use a tool like Social Blade to assess their authenticity.

Research heavily, don’t be afraid to talk directly to the influencer to find out what has worked for them in the past. Afterall, they know best. You may also find that on this occasion the chosen influencer won’t work for you but it may be that something else develops through the relationship.

Look at your own following, are there any influencers already following you? Finding someone who is already engaging in your brand can be a good way to dip your toe into the vast ocean that is social media marketing. You can test out the results without having too much to lose.

I hope this blog has helped you decide whether working with an Influencer would be a good fit for your business, how to work with a influencer and how the process works.

I would love to know if this has helped you by leaving a comment below


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