How to Build a Brand and Maximize Value with an Influencer Marketing Database
Editor's Note: This post has been updated with new links and content.
Original Publication Date: September 4, 2018
As someone who has worked with dozens of brands and thousands of influencers in the influencer marketing space for a couple of years, it's clear that we're in a transformational period in the way advertisers share their messages and grow brands.
Getting in now is one of the best "land grab" opportunities out there for your brand. We highly encourage you to consider implementing some (or all) of these tactics to grow your Influencer Marketing Database so you're not left in the dust.
The value of influencer marketing is already huge, and it's still growing. With that in mind, we want to share 10 tactics that have helped us run successful campaigns and maximize the value to our clients. Some of these I've learned the hard way, so you don't have to.
1. Make Deals With Influencers to Use Their Content in Ads and on Your Own Social Media (Attaining Assets)
Working with an influencer can range in price from $10 all the way to $500K for a single post. It's extremely important that you consider what the shelf life of the placement will be and that you know how to get as much value out of that as possible.
One trick we use is having an email or contract (IN WRITING) that says we plan to use the content in ads, on the brand's social media, and anywhere else the brand chooses to use it.
Skip the legal talk or the influencer might reconsider letting you use it for free. Smaller influencers will be down to do it because it helps them boost their brand. If you ask a large influencer or celebrity to do this, 99% of the time you are going to have to pay "licensing rights," which is basically an arbitrary number that the manager has made up in their mind.
2. Don't Be Greedy. A 30k Influencer is Still Good for Branding and Content
Most of the information about influencer marketing out there is about how to make it profitable. And while profitability is important, it's not the only thing you should focus on.
Let's say you book a small influencer for $10-$30, or better yet, exchange products for a post. As long as you've followed step 1, you now have content for all of your other digital channels + a nice little push of exposure to a group of 30k people for the COST of your product.
And if this isn't cheaper than spending two hours of your own time doing a photoshoot or bringing in a group of models once a quarter, you're doing something wrong.
3. Make it as Easy as Possible for the Influencer (Briefs)
Everything from the initial message you send to the "thank you" sent after the post is up should be made with the influencer's time in mind. Not because they are some celebrity that you need to worship, but because that's how you scale your efforts fast and get organic ambassadors without paying. Use briefs and send content requirements in short, easy to read formats. A brief should include:
- A description of the product/offer
- The terminology and keywords you want them to use
- Unique selling points of your product
- Content examples from other successful posts (Creative & Caption)
- A general term paragraph outlining expectations and rights to the content
- Your social media handles (I can't even count how many times I've seen the wrong handle in a post)
This will save you a TON of time and communication in the long run.
4. Make it as Easy as Possible to Use Your Own Influencer Marketing Database (Automation)
Reaching out to influencers and securing partnerships is a LOT of work, especially if you want to scale.
When my agency was managing campaigns for clients, a campaign with a fairly small budget would take at least 10 hours and more often than not over 20 when you count reporting and organization. This was with a solid amount of processes and long-standing relationships.
Use tools to streamline sourcing and analyzing influencer profiles. Like hundreds of other digital advertisers, we use CloutHQ, a platform that reduces the time it takes to find, qualify, and contact an influencer from 15+ minutes to less than 30 seconds.
Instead of paying thousands of dollars for platforms that save you a couple of hours a month, find tools that allow you to 10x your results in a calculated way.
(Disclosure: I'm the CEO of CloutHQ and have a vested interest in telling you it's the best — because it is the best!)
If you don't have the budget for a platform, start building your own Influencer Marketing Database in google sheets with links, names, notes, prices, contact info, and pricing info. The directory on CloutHQ is free to browse.
5. Tag Every Influencer You Use in Your Posts so They Engage With it (Social Proof)
Some brands don't do this for some reason or another. But let's be clear about something, there is absolutely no reason you shouldn't be doing this.
It will let the influencer know you appreciate their content (win), it will encourage them to engage with the post and boost your reach (win), it will let your fans know that real people use your products and not just models you hire on Craigslist (double win).
6. Ask Influencers if They Have Any Friends Who Would like to be Involved (Referrals)
If you're building an influencer marketing database, your two top priorities are most likely:
- Finding a lot of good influencers
- Keeping costs low
To achieve both, asking for referrals from other influencers and use automation tools.
Start by asking the influencers you're booking if they know anyone who would be a good fit for a campaign. That takes 10 seconds and will save you 30 minutes of wasted time. Also, you will probably get a better price since you're being introduced by a friend.
7. Keep Good Relationships with Influencers (Good Karma)
Keeping good relationships with everyone you interact with is a no-brainer. But more importantly, you should make sure you're going above and beyond with the people you do business with.
Having good relationships with influencers will open a lot of doors for you and your brand. It could mean you're the first one they ask to sponsor an event, or they might love your products enough to post about it all the time without expecting anything in return.
Be kind to your influencers (and everyone else for that matter). Make sure they know that you align with their vision and you aren't just renting their audience to make some cash.
8. Book Long-Term Deals with Influencers to Increase Ad Frequency (Repetition)
Ad frequency isn't talked about enough in the direct marketing space or the influencer space. Below is a fun way of looking at it. Although this summary was a better fit for the old days of TV, it offers insight into what advertisers and psychologists have observed.
Long-term deals will help you for a number of reasons.
First, you can get better rates that way. Second, and most importantly, your potential customers get to see the ad and are reminded of it several times.
Your brand isn't going to grow just because people buy your stuff. When people see that other people love your brand, they will start to love it too.
9. Always, Always Negotiate the Price
Prices are a touchy subject and we'll probably get an earful for saying this but because we are dedicating everything to bringing transparency and accountability to the influencer marketing space, it's needed.
The price you get from an influencer depends on a lot of things. Most commonly it depends on post requirements, durations, etc.
Have you ever felt like you were being sized up by an influencer before they give you a price? That's because you are. If you reach out talking about how you've sold 300,000 units this year, the influencer/agency is probably going to think, "here's this big dumb brand that has a ton of cash and reached out to me for a post. I should probably start my price really high."
Like it or not, it happens a bunch, and it's happened to us. (The message below is from an influencer who we know for a fact typically charges less than $1k.)
10. Build Leverage to Negotiate (Bartering)
While most people just see influencers as potential ad space, they are in fact humans with wants and desires.
One thing you can do is make trades. Let's say that someone is out of your budget but you really want to work with them. You can offer a certain number of ad impressions on their post, a custom product line with their name on it, revenue sharing (not to be confused with a % of attributed sales), etc.
Above all, be creative and build a portfolio of offers you can pull out when you need to negotiate.
We hope these tips help you scale and optimize your influencer marketing database.
Reach out directly on Instagram if you have specific questions!