“Like” it or loathe it, there’s no doubt influencer marketing has become a powerful marketing tool in recent years. But will it work for your business?

Influencer marketing (also known as branded content) is a form of social media marketing which involves promoting a product or service through someone with a large social media following.

If you’ve wondered whether influencer marketing is right for your business, here is a guide to help you explore the possibilities of this increasingly popular promotional method.

Start with your business values

Take some time to work out what’s important to your business, particularly which values represent your business. For example, do you want to showcase the health benefits of your products, prove that you’re serious about your environmentally-friendly credentials or perhaps show the fun and creative side of your services? Considering your values could help you find an influencer who is an authentic match for your business.

Choose your channels

Influencers can specialise in different platforms such as YouTube, Blogs and even Twitter. However, by far the most popular platforms right now, according to social scheduling platform Hootsuite, are Instagram (including stories and reels), followed by TikTok and Facebook in equal second place. Before engaging an influencer, you must have identified your target market including understanding which channels and platforms they follow. You can have the best influencer in the world, but if your audience doesn’t use the same channel, your money and effort will be wasted.

Plan your approach

If you decide to try influencer marketing, it’s important to plan your approach carefully. While some smaller scale (or ‘micro’) influencers might be happy to take a direct message from you to discuss working together, this won’t always be the case. Some influencers will only connect with brands through an agency, so do your homework first in researching how to reach out to those you have identified.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions

If you’re choosing somebody to represent your business, it’s important to understand what you’ll get for your investment. Do a lot of research on different influencers - and make sure you know whether they have already promoted products or services offered by your competitors. Ensure you understand the fees involved and what you are likely to see in return – a written agreement is a good idea. Also make sure you consider whether any “likes” could translate into real sales for your business.

Trust your instincts

It’s a well-known saying: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Social media algorithms are always changing - so nobody should offer you any guarantees of results, likes or engagement. Exactly who will see any particular posts can change depending on the content, timing and rules of that platform.

While many businesses have enjoyed success from getting an influencer involved, others have become victims of fraud or things turned sour. Trust your instincts and avoid being duped by doing plenty of research into the influencer you plan to work with before you make any decisions.

Get everything in writing

Before any money or products change hands, it’s important to get everything in writing between you and your chosen influencer. To help you here, you might want to explore:

As with any business arrangement, make sure there’s written agreement on the terms of your contract.

Find out more

If you’d like to learn more about how to take advantage of online opportunities for your business, explore our range of digital skills and sales and marketing workshops.

14 December 2021