An Insider’s Guide to Working with Influencers on Social Media
Ever thought that influence might just be the key to your marketing success on social media?
You could be right.
In this blog post, we’re going to walk you through the ins and outs of influence on social media, and just why and how you can work with influencers to increase your reach and visibility online.
Then we have a brief interview with an influencer herself! I spoke with fashion and lifestyle personality Alexandra Pereira, who has 1.2 million followers on Instagram. She shares with us how she developed her huge following, and what determines if she’ll work with a brand. So here we go!
1. Who are influencers and what do they do?
An influencer is a person who happens to have a really successful social media account, often with thousands or even millions of followers, and most importantly with an impressive engagement rate.
Influencers are called upon by large brands and smaller businesses alike, to indirectly promote their products to their communities. The promotion process is indirect because influencers will casually talk about using certain products in their daily lives, rather than advertising the products in an obvious way and pushing for sales.
2. Why work with influencers on social media?
Influencers are basically the gods of social media, in the sense that they have the power to influence their communities with minimal effort, resulting in maximum benefit for the businesses they promote. They pretty much run the show when it comes to natively and authentically marketing products on social platforms.
Depending on the sort of products your business deals in, influence can be more or less useful to you and your marketing strategy. Instagram works particularly well for influence, because of the visual aspect to it, and with 500 million monthly active users, this channel is an excellent choice for your influencer marketing campaign. Here are a few examples of what social influence looks like for different sectors of the market:
Food and drink
Hair and beauty
Sport and fitness
3. How do I find the perfect influencers for my brand?
There are a few factors you need to take into account when selecting influencers to work with.
- They need to actually be influential. This sounds pretty basic, but in fact there are ways to tell how influential a person is on social media. Look at the number of followers on their account and don’t hesitate to ask the influencer for their engagement rate. Lots of followers doesn’t necessarily mean lots of engagement, so this percentage of engagement is fundamental when hiring an influencer.
- They need to have a strong social media profile. The look and feel of the Facebook page, Twitter feed or Instagram is crucial. If you feel like the profile of your influencer isn’t strong in terms of content, you may find their traffic isn’t great and you maybe won’t get the kind of engagement you’re looking for. Their page should mean a LOT to them, so if they’re doing their job right, they’ll know the importance of keeping it looking fab.
- They need to have a legitimate voice in your field of business. It’s important to not just choose a person because they’re already influential in different domains. For best targeting and therefore best results, choose someone who has a dedicated community in your field of expertise—their community will be even more receptive to what they have to say in relation to your brand.
- They need to “gel” with your potential customers. Choose an influencer who has characteristics similar to those of your target market, to avoid alienating the community you’re trying to convert.
You can also check out this post on how to track down the perfect influencers for your business on Instagram.
4. How do I track the success of an influence campaign on social media?
So utilizing influence in your marketing strategy is all well and good, but you need to be sure that it’s working. You need to ensure that:
- Your influencer is getting lots of engagement on their social media posts
- Your website traffic is on the rise
- Most importantly, you’re getting conversions
It can take a while at first, depending on your product/brand and the type of campaign you are running with your influencer. If you’re running influence campaigns on multiple platforms, you won’t be able to tell which of them (influencer or platform) is contributing the most to your increase in conversions. That’s why it’s good to work on one platform at a time (with one or many influencers) or better yet, work with just one influencer cross-platform to determine the efficiency of that particular influencer.
5. Influence … from an influencer’s perspective
I was lucky enough to interview Alexandra Pereira, aka @lovelypepa, an inspiring Instagram fashion and lifestyle influencer with over 1.2 million followers
Q: @lovelypepa – Tell me a bit about yourself and how you came to be so influential on Instagram.
A: My name is Alexandra Pereira, I grew up in Vigo, a small city in the northwestern part of Spain. After graduating high school, I was set up for a completely different path, as I studied law and economics. However, I knew deep down that wasn’t really what I was aiming for in life. I wanted something more creative. This is what led me to create my blog (www.lovely-pepa.com) back in 2009. More than anything, it is a space where I get to share my ideas, style, travels and all that revolves around my life… I also operate various social media as an extension to my blog. The most popular one is my Instagram account. It is a photo diary of my more recent life, both personal and professional. When it comes to why so many follow it, I think it boils down to the fact that I’m a person that many can identify with. I am not a supermodel. Rather, I am a simple person who’s got her feet on the ground. By doing what I do, I inspire my followers in their daily lives. The message is quite simple, you may not be rich or famous but you can still be yourself, look good, and finally, feel good about yourself.
Q: Is influence your primary occupation?
A: At the moment it is, it takes about 80% of my time. However, I have been working on new projects and taking on new challenges. We live in exciting times!
Q: Which particular domain(s) do you have influence in?
A: Mostly fashion and traveling.
Q: Why would you say your followers are so devoted?
A: Because I have opened my life to them and in return, they feel involved and included in it. When you let someone into your home and share various details of your daily life, you are bound to see some form of emotional attachment being created.
Q: Which brands do you work with, and how do you decide which brands to represent?
A: I work with a lot of brands. The main ones are some of most renowned in the world of fashion such as Chanel, YSL, Dolce & Gabbana, Tommy Hilfiger, Trussardi, Carolina Herrera and so many others… I have also done many collaborations with names outside the realm of fashion. Those would be companies such as Magnum or Qatar Airways, who are very forward-looking when it comes to their marketing strategies. Typically, it is companies like these who stay ahead because they embrace new ways of communicating with the public, one of the latest being through influencers. As such, I choose and enjoy to work with companies like these. It is always a pleasure working with people who share your vision and mostly, who appreciate the added value influencers bring to the table.
Q: In general, do you make the initial contact with a brand, or vice versa?
A: Most of the time I am the one who’s being solicited.
Q: Walk us through the process of becoming an influencer (from the proposal to the actual posting on social media).
A: We receive a proposal for a collaboration by company X. I review it and if I like the idea, I would go for it. Most of the time, however, I would make some adjustments to the initial pitch so that the final result would be one that fits my personality and which remains faithful to my image. Finally, once all is agreed upon, I would receive the product around which the project revolves and develop visual content around it (usually photos or videos).
Q: Do you meet with your employers, or is everything always handled virtually?
A: Sometimes, not always, I would meet the people I work with. It is always interesting to establish a personal relationship with the people behind the brands and projects. It adds a personal touch to work and makes every experience easier and more enjoyable.
Q: Focusing more on your personal social media strategy, do you use any tools to keep an eye on engagement and growth?
A: Yes, we have a team dedicated to monitoring and analyzing all sorts of relevant data we can extract from the website or social media. This allows me to see what works and what does not. Mostly, this kind of information guides me every step of the way.
Q: Last question! Would you say that influencing has merged with your real life?
A: Mmm, not really. I think I still keep parts of my life completely private. I usually share a small part of it on social media and therefore, wouldn’t exactly say that what I do has taken over my real life. I try my best to keep a good balance, the less work the better (lol).
- When choosing an influencer to work with, make sure they are a good match with your business and line of work.
- The engagement an influencer generates is much more important than their follower count.
- A good influencer with a good reputation is approached by brands as opposed to the other way around.
Has this article been of help to you? Are you planning on or do you already work with influencers on social media? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!