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Best Practices for Using Influencers for Your Brand By Nicole Rodrigues, founder and CEO, NRPR Group

According to Mediakix data, the influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022, which is up from $8 billion in 2019. This growth is fueled by consumer trust in influencers. Mobile Marketer reported that nearly 45% of social media users follow an influencer, and 34 percent of them have discovered a brand solely based on influencer posts. For many people, an influencer becomes similar to a trusted friend whom we may ask for product or service recommendations. While influencers can play an important role in the marketing funnel, engaging with an influencer is not a magic bullet to success. Consequently, it is important to understand the process for working with influencers and to understand the need to set expectations about what the influencer can deliver for your brand.

Know Your Budget

The first step before reaching out to prospective influencers is to first determine your budget. Never assume that an influencer cares enough about your product to do anything for free. Being an influencer is a business through which they build their own brand and impact and they need to be paid. Celebrities may receive $2,000-to-$200,000 per post while bloggers and other experts in their fields may receive $150-to-$200 per post.

Understand what you want the outcome to be

Think about what it is you want to accomplish as a result of the influencer’s posts. Do you want the influencer to drive sales, drive people to a specific webpage or help with a cause? Having clear goals will keep you on track and progressing toward achievable goals.

Think about platform

There are different influencers and platforms, and in both cases, you need to use the most appropriate ones for your brand. For example, a person could be an influencer on YouTube, but not on Instagram. You also need to know which platforms your audience uses. It is also important to keep in mind on which platforms your brand is already active so that the influencer can tag your account and so that their followers can easily find you on that platform. As the popular marketing adage says, “go where your customers are going to be.”

Look for an influencer with experience in reaching your goal

If you have decided, for example, that you would like the influencer to help to drive sales then it is important to find an influencer with proven success in doing so. While they may not have worked with your exact product, they can share a case study that demonstrated results. You need to know for what brands they have worked and if the brand has a similar audience to yours. For example, people who spent money at Forever 21 will also buy other inexpensive products.

Influencers must look at selves as a business who will be a strategic partner to you

People who see themselves as professional influencers should also see their work as a business. Ask for case studies and data on sales generated by them. If they don’t know these stats; they don’t understand how to conduct their business. Commitment to your project also means that they will spend ample time on creating appropriate, relevant content for you. One caveat: Some professional influencers will want you to work through their managers, which means it may take longer to set up the relationship with them. In either case, it is vital to reach agreement on the goals you wish to achieve and to confirm their buy-in and commitment to the helping to accomplish it. Do your goals align with the influencer’s brand? For example—and this is a don’t—it does not make sense that Dairy Queen partnered with actress Tia Mowry, of Sister, Sister fame. also posts about being lactose-intolerant and reasons to avoid dairy products. If lactose-intolerant, she would not likely be snacking on DQ products.

Arm them with the right tools

The influencer needs to have leeway to be creative and be authentic to themselves and their audience. You do need to give them your messaging and a set of guidelines within which to be creative so what they post will be consistent with your brand but remain in their voice. Influencers have a strong connection to their audience and need to maintain their credibility with their fans, as the creator of the message.

Reserve approval rights before something is posted

Let influencers be creative and independent but confirm that your brand integrity is intact with whatever they post. They can for instance post about how they use your product and what they like about using it.

Make it a win/win for the influencer and you

Share with them statistics you’ve collected on progress made. If everything worked out and you are happy with them and want to work with them again, let them know. Ask for their feedback about the experience and what worked well for them and where improvements are needed. Was it a good experience for the influencer?

There are many reasons to work with influencers, depending on your business and goals, and equally important is how to work with them. For your influencer relationship to work, assure you are both on the same page. If you thoroughly vet your influencer and define expectations, social media influencer marketing can be a valuable part of your integrated marketing plan.