Influencer Marketing is an investment – Part 1 of 7

Influencer marketing is the happening thing–the buzzword sparking the interest of brands small and large, and for good reason.

Amongst other marketing challenges, brands constantly have to play algorithm Whac-A-Mole to keep their place in a customer’s digital feed.

Have a handle on your SEO? —  Prepare for Google to switch things up.

Have your Facebook strategy down? — Think again with an alarming drop in business page exposure.

Have your captions and hashtags utilized for Instagram? — There goes the neighborhood with chronological feeds being thrown out, replaced with a baffling reorganization of posts.

Bottom line, it’s becoming more and more difficult for companies to get eyeballs on their content. So, what’s the solution? Adding the use of social media influencers in their marketing plans. AKA, influencer marketing.

With a background in working with influencers, I’ve had the opportunity to see the really good and the really ugly. When influencer partnerships work, it’s extremely rewarding to see their followers take hold of your brand and to create a brand advocate in your partner. On the flip side, there’s nothing more terrifying than an unhappy influencer holding a megaphone with their finger on the trigger ready to vent to hundreds of thousands of followers.

Through those lessons there are things marketers should consider before getting started on influencer marketing.

Part One: Influencer Marketing is an investment

Gone are the days when you can get your brand attention simply by sending free products to someone with a large social media following. Influencer marketing isn’t that simple, but it is worth the effort.

Social media isn’t just a hobby anymore, it is a livelihood for many people. Get your chuckles out now, because it’s no joke. One influencer put it into perspective for me when she said, “I charge (a big confidential) amount of dollars per blog post because this is my job. It puts food on my table and in my kids’ mouths.” That statement forever changed the way I see influencer marketing.

A marketing investment consisting of two parts

You may have the newest and greatest product, but if you want to have your brand mentioned on Instagram by an influencer with millions of followers, be prepared to pay for it.

It’s all about the almighty dollar…and free stuff

Influencer fees can range anywhere from giving a free product to tens of thousands of dollars depending on the person’s influence, their industry focus, your relationship, and what you’re asking of them. According to Marketing Dive, the average rate of a sponsored Instagram post by influencers with more than a million followers is $1,405.

Time — the sleeping giant

While money is the obvious investment, time should be seen as equally important. Identifying appropriate influencers, establishing and building rapport, figuring out payment mechanics, promoting their content, continuing the relationship — that all takes time, something that should not be underestimated.

Allocating adequate money and time are crucial first steps to take in setting up an influencer initiative for success. But, if you combine the right influencer and with the right endorsement, it will send traffic and help your business.