January 7, 2016

Using Online Influencers to Market Your Brand

Think your business can’t benefit from YouTubers and Instagrammers? Think again! Finding relevant Influencers to advocate your brand is a new way to connect with your audience and transform your business.

Sponsoring people in the public eye is not a new thing. For decades, businesses have sponsored movie stars, or even movies themselves, as well as minor celebrities for TV infomercials and more. Nowadays, with the spawn of social media and digital presence, everyday Joes have the ability to gain fans. Some small instagrammers have only 10,000 fans, but they are collaborating with small to large businesses looking for a way to meet their audience on their level. This is in direct contrast to the now archaic brand to consumer marketing of past decades.

How collaborations/sponsorships work

Companies join forces with influencers by offering free products or payment. The arrangement is usually one of three things:

  1. A one post or feature purchase
    The business will pay for only one post or video. The amount paid can start at any amount depending on how many followers the influencer has. The amount could be anywhere from $100-$2000+ per post.
  2. An ongoing sponsorship
    Brands such as action cameras, clothing lines, health food lines and more, can set up ongoing partnerships with influencers on either video or image platforms. For this arrangement, a contract will need to be drawn up with the exact expectations of the agreement including the duration, how many posts and payment required. It is common for YouTubers to feature their sponsors in the credits of their videos.
  3. A guest poster or account takeover
    Businesses can arrange for a well-known influencer to take over posting on their business page. This normally only lasts a week and is only popular on Instagram, however, there is also the potential for this on all other platforms.

Where the magic happens

Now that we know what opportunities exist between influencers and brands, we can look a little more closely at the various platforms available:

  • Instagram (app)
    Share stylish personal photos with the world via hashtags
  • YouTube (desktop and app)

Share professional videos or vlogs (video blogs) with followers via shareability

  • Vine (app)

Share extremely short (often comedic) videos with followers

  • Snapchat (app)
    Share videos or images for up to ten seconds with followers

Real life examples

To help you get a feel for the possibilities of this practice, here are a few examples:

  1. italki (language learning program) partnering with YouTube teachers such as this one.
  2. Clarins and Ministry of the Label (to name a few) partnering with @ozbeautyexpert on Instagram
  3. YouFoodz (meal preparation company) partnering with @Joshypt @dannibelle @eatliftglow and more on Instagram
  4. HBO, Ritz, Virgin Mobile and many more partnering with Logan Paul (a 19 year old Vine-star)
  5. Verizon partnering with SethBling (YouTube gamer) with the release of their Minecraft ‘smartphone’.

How to set up a collaboration

It’s important you find someone that embodies the essence of your brand and that also has a decent following and similar interests. To do this, you simply need to use whatever platform you’re on like it’s intended; if you’re on YouTube look for videos on a similar topic, if you’re on Instagram search for relevant hashtags. Search through the creators that come up, taking care to make notes about the quality of their content and pay attention to how many subscribers or followers the influencer has. Generally, anywhere upwards from 10,000 could benefit your company as long as your product or service is something their fans could genuinely be interested in. Just remember, with the amount of influencers out there – there is someone to suit every niche and every business!

The next step you need to take is to make contact. Send the influencer a message via email or through in-app messaging to see if they would have any interest in posting for you. Specify whether you plan to offer payment or free products (or both) and try to set up a more formal time to speak via Skype or over the phone. Make sure you have a budget in mind and ask them how much they would normally charge for what you’d like to achieve. Once you’ve made an agreement, if it’s an ongoing collaboration it’s good to set up a contract so all expectations are clearly laid out, for example do you want one post per month + a link in their bio, or do you want your logo on each one of their videos? These are all things you need to decide before you shake hands.

The final and optional step is to send over a press kit with your products or more information about your services. This is not only considered a courtesy but also ensures your brand is communicated in a way that is consistent with your brand image.

If this sounds like a lot of effort, there are also middle-man companies available that work to connect influencers and businesses without too much effort from either side:

If you’re ready to take the plunge, your business might never be the same… in a good way!

The greatest benefit of influencer marketing is that you will be able to build a direct through-line to a new pool of customers. You’ll also make a stronger connection to your audience and build trustworthy relationships by affiliating your brand with someone who is already trusted by their fans. It can also be a relatively affordable way to find new customers.

So what are you waiting for? Do the ground work, find some amazing creators and influencers to partner with and start collaborating.