Paying someone to give your brand a big thumbs up isn’t exactly new (anyone remember the ‘cash for comment’ scandal of the late 90s?).

But it is now tried and tested in the online world, and, in 2023, it has firmly cemented itself in the marketing strategies of Australian and international brands of all sizes.

Say hello to influencer marketing – the must-have tactic in your brand’s toolkit.

What is it?

In its simplest form, influencer marketing refers to a social media user endorsing a product or service, in return for either monetary payment or free products/services. Depending on who you talk to, it might also be called influencer engagement, influencer relations, influencer outreach or influencer advertising, but they’re all essentially the same thing!

How does it work?

Influencer marketing can take many forms, such as:

  • Paying an influencer to use your product/service and then provide an endorsement via their social media
  • Inviting an influencer to an event or sending them complimentary tickets in exchange for them posting about it on their social media, and sometimes they might also be paid to ensure they attend and post
  • Sending products to an influencer in the hope they will post about them or your brand – however there’s no guarantee

Why does it work?

Influencers are called just that because they have influence. They have loyal, and often large, followings of social media users who follow them because they envy their lifestyle and seek to be more like them, or they genuinely trust them for their opinions and views.

Your brand can tap into that influence and following by engaging the influencer to produce authentic and compelling content that promotes your key selling points and influences their followers to choose your brand over another. The content needs to be authentic to the influencers’ own style and personality though, or else it won’t be well received by their followers.

Who can be an influencer?

It’s not just celebrities and well-known personalities who can be influencers. Many of the most popular social media influencers are everyday people with day jobs whose content resonated with others and their followings naturally grew.

How do you pick an influencer?

To give you the best chance of reaching potential customers, it’s important that the influencer’s followers align with your target audience.

You also want their following to be engaged with their content by liking, commenting and sharing posts. That way you’ll know your message is cutting through and that the followers aren’t just scrolling past the post.

You can search for influencers on Instagram or TikTok by looking at keywords or hashtags. Potential influencers may already be following your brand’s account, which would suggest they’re a really good fit, or similar brands / competitors.

Platforms like TRIBE and Pickstar can also be good starting points – you might not use them to engage the influencer directly, but you can search for influencers via categories, such as ‘mental health’, ‘technology’ or ‘travel’.

What does it cost? 

While mega stars like Cristiano Ronaldo and the Kardashians are said to charge upwards of $1 million for one social media post, not all influencer marketing will cost you your brand’s entire marketing budget for a year (or decade)! Costs could range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per post, depending on the influencer.

Can you measure it? 

Like any worthwhile marketing investment, you can measure the return on investment (ROI) of influencer marketing through:

  • Sales / conversions – did sales or registrations increase as a result of the influencer’s content? We recommend providing each influencer with a trackable URL for their bio or Instagram stories, so you can see which influencer delivers the most sales / conversions.
  • Instagram’s analytics – influencers can access data on each of their posts or stories, which includes metrics such as reach (number of users who viewed their content), how long they watched the content (for videos), and the engagement rate (number of likes/comments as a percentage of their total following).

Some types of influencer marketing offers little scope for measurement though. For example, if you send free products to an influencer, they might tag your brand in a post or stories, but they aren’t obliged to provide analytics from their content.

Still need help…?

We work with clients on influencer marketing campaigns of all sizes, helping to raise awareness of their brands and drive sales and conversions on their websites.

No matter your budget, we can develop an influencer marketing campaign that helps achieve your brand’s goals.

Contact our PR team today to discuss how we can help.