Influencer marketing is a hot segment of digital marketing. This strategy serves many purposes from creating brand awareness at scale to generating sales to earning visually driven media that can be used on your brands website, social, marketing materials, etc. Over 81% of consumers have reported making a purchasing decision based on a recommendation from top social media influencers proving that this way of authentic media earning through social media influence is serious business.
I’m always trying to keep a pulse on the world of influencer marketing and part of this means staying in constant communication with the influencers themselves on how they prefer to work with brands and what the most successful brand-influencer partnerships look like.
I recently surveyed over 400 top social media influencers and got their insights on the state of the influencer marketing industry. For this report, I focused on the “mid-level” influencer who has 10,000-100,000 followers on their blog and/or any given social media channel. I am a fan of working with these influencers because they’re highly engaged with their audience and the price point to work with them is a lot more affordable than “A-list” influencers. Basically, they can move the needle for brands without soaking up too much budget.
From how influencers prefer to work with brands to how their brand partners are measuring success to how much influencer marketing costs and more, the report I created is a comprehensive overview on the state of influencer marketing from an influencer’s point of view. I’ve been in the influencer marketing space for 8 years and I was even surprised at some of the results of this survey so it’s worth your time to download the report for free here. Additionally, I’ll do a deep dive into some of my key findings in this post so keep reading!
Everything You Need to Know About Sponsored Content
From how much sponsored content costs to the effectiveness, a big chunk of what this survey centers on is sponsored content and sponsored reviews so there are a few notable things to take note of on this topic. Some include:
How much sponsored content costs: On average, a sponsored blog post with full social media shares including Instagram costs $200-$400. Many brands try to get away with just sending influencers product for a post, but most influencers don’t operate under this type of influencer compensation so budget accordingly and set realistic expectations.
Labeling sponsored content: Some brands worry that earned posts labeled as “sponsored” don’t have a certain level of effectiveness and therefore they don’t do their due diligence when it comes to making sure an influencer properly discloses the brand-influencer relationship. However, the FTC mandates that an influencer be up front with their readers if they received product and/or monetary compensation for their posts. If they don’t, the brand can get into a lot of legal troubles. But, rest assured, the overwhelming majority of the influencer surveyed report that a post labeled as “sponsored” doesn’t affect how their audience internalizes that brand recommendation.
How much sponsored content influencers produce: In order to set realistic expectations on what brands can expect from influencers, I asked the influencers what percentage of their content is used on sponsored posts. I wanted to gather this metric so that brand can gauge the level of opportunity in the marketplace. The majority of influencers set aside 25% or less of their content for sponsored posts. This isn’t a lot and the theory is that influencers want to balance out their organic content with their sponsored content to keep the trust of their followers. What this means for your brand is that brand influencers don’t do a ton of sponsored content so make sure that you offer competitive rates and product compensation to get influencers to want to work with your brand over your competitor’s brand.
How Brands Are Measuring the Success of Influencer Marketing
With all the influencer marketing tools available at our fingertips, measuring marketing tactics such as influencer marketing is becoming more tangible. There are a few ways that the influencers reported that the brands they work with are measuring the success of their partnership.
Most of the influencers reported that brands are measuring success with multiple metrics per campaign. The main metrics include and in this order:
- Number of pieces of earned media
- New social followers
- Email signups
Unfortunately, there is no set process or formula in which to measure influencer marketing. Brands need to outline their goals before reaching out to influencers and need to be clear about the metrics so they can partner with influencers accordingly. For example, if you want to work with influencers to increase sales, seed your influencers with a unique discount code that they can give their audience to use when they purchase online so you can attribute direct sales to each influencer and your campaign as a whole. If your goal is number of pieces of earned media, make sure you ask the influencers to post on their blog as well as all of their social channels. Setting goals will dictate how you guide your influencers in their posts.
What Are the Most Successful Channels for Influencer Marketing?
When working with influencers, it depends on the type of brand and the campaign goals when determining which channels of influence you’ll focus on. I recommend focusing on bloggers with a full social presence so that you can earn a blog post plus posts on every social channel so that you can reach a variety of audiences in different ways and measure what works.
However, I wanted to see which channels the influencers report to being more successful for brands to work with them on.
Most influencers picked a variety of channels but labeled them as most successful in this order:
A key takeaway here is that brands should implement a multi-channel approach where they work with the influencers for a blog post with full social media shares in any given campaign. The blog posts ensure long term results and can show up in search results for years to come. Social media posts can offer a quick brand awareness spark. So, having both in place, can lead to the strongest results for your brand.
What Do Influencers Look for In Brands?
Many influencers receive over 100 emails a day from brands who want to partner with them. This means that your brand needs to stand out in all the clutter that is in an influencer’s inbox. So, in my survey, I asked the influencers what they look for from brands they decide to partner with.
Overwhelmingly, the influencers reported that they look for brands who contextually align with the content they produce. This contextual fit is reported to be more important than what the brands offer as compensation for a post.
What this means for brands is that influencers care more about creating content that resonates with their audience more than they care about how they are compensated for content. This speaks to the really authentic nature of influencer marketing of how dedicated influencers are to producing relevant content that their audience craves.
Wrapping it Up
These are just a few of the key findings in our recent influencer marketing report that we just released, and you can download it for free here.
It’s important to set realistic expectations for your influencer program and make sure the “give” that you offer the influencers is enticing to make them want to work with you on one of their sponsored posts. After all, many influencers only allot 10% of their content for sponsored posts.
Want to know how much influencer marketing costs? The majority of the influencers surveyed stated that they charge $250-$400 for posts so you can use that number to gauge how many influencers you want to work with.
Don’t forget to vet your earned media and make sure your influencers are disclosing that they received compensation for their posts from your brand to adhere with FTC Guidelines.
When it comes to measuring your posts, consider a variety of metrics to gauge success such as impressions, sales and traffic to your website. These metrics will clue you in as to how each influencer performs for your brand and help you identify top performers so that you know which influencers to work with again.
Your influencer program should embrace a multi-channel approach and work with influencers who have both a strong blog and social presence for maximum effectiveness of your influencer marketing strategy.
Lastly, brands should only reach out to influencers whose content is a perfect fit with their brand. Influencers care more about relevance than they do anything else. This speaks to why influencer marketing is so successful because of the authentic nature of the influencer-brand partnerships.
Have any questions about this report or general questions about influencer marketing? I’d love to have a discussing with you in the comments below so don’t hesitate to ask anything!
For more tips and information on how to find the right influencer for your brand, check out this great infographic from Media Update.