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5 reasons for organisations to consider working with social media influencers

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Advertising on social media isn’t what it used to be.

With increased competition and the never ending scandals plaguing virtually every channel, it’s no surprise that many social media managers are seeing a decrease in overall return on investment. Yet they still continue to invest more and more revenue into these channels.

So, where do we go from here? Do we continue to hand over our ad budgets to the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? Or do we need to reconsider our approach?

Luckily there’s an alternative route worth exploring: social media influencers.

instagram influencers

Let’s explore some of the reasons why you should consider working with influencers to increase awareness and, where relevant, generate leads and sales.

Reason 1 – Gain awareness from a ready-built following

Rather than spending countless hours and investing a small fortune to get more followers on any given channel, working with an influencer means your message can be heard by a following that is actually listening.

Many brands focus on being overly self-promotional on social media, which is exactly why people tune out.

No one likes an obvious sales pitch, especially if it’s coming from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

But hearing the message from someone people have been following for a while? That can be priceless – especially when it’s the right audience.

Besides, according to Linqia’s State of Influencer Marketing report, of the 86% of marketers who used influencer marketing in 2017, 92% of them found it to be effective.

Quite the promising success rate.

51% of marketers report that using influencer content outperforms brand-created content.

Reason 2 – Influencers have authority, trust and, well, influence

Building off of reason one, influencers have their audiences’ trust. That means that what they say has credibility and gravitas to the people who listen to them.

They’re called influencers for a reason!

If your organisation works within a certain niche and you find an ideal influencer in it, you’re going to get much more meaningful traction than investing in an Instagram ad.

In Linqia’s report, 81% of marketers use influencer content on other channels, with 51% reporting that it outperforms brand-created content.

chart on influencer marketing
via Linqia’s State of Influencer Marketing report

Why is this? One of the main reasons could be that by coming from a trusted source, this content is better received by an audience as it doesn’t feel like a direct sales pitch from an organisation. It feels more authentic and trustworthy.

Reason 3 – It’s an excellent opportunity to work with a creative person outside your organisation

Collaborating with an influencer can work wonders when it comes to finding new ideas and avenues for getting your message across.

Whether it’s an informative photo caption or clever video on their Instagram story, influencers know what their audiences like and how to reach them in an engaging way.

Wherever possible, take advantage of this opportunity and hear them out when it comes to any ideas they may have to make your message stand out.

And something to keep in mind: while you can place certain constraints around the message and your branding, you’re going to need to give up some (if not all) control when it comes to how an influencer relays your message.

Some organisations aren’t comfortable with that, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons before you dive in.

Rock the Vote is an excellent example of bringing creative people together to further a good cause. This non-profit’s mission is “to engage and build the political power of young people.” And what better way to do that than by enlisting the help of influencers?

rock the vote influencer

Rather than pouring its entire marketing budget into social media ads telling people to vote, Rock the Vote encouraged influencers to share with their followers why they’re voting in upcoming elections and why others should as well.

This led to authentic messages via storytelling, rather than just another ad with a dry call-to-action.

Reason 4 – It makes financial sense (vs. paid ad campaigns on social)

As touched on earlier, organisations can spend an obscene amount of money to get an audience to listen to them. And it still might not be effective.

That’s why working with an influencer can make a lot of sense for many organisations.

While you may be spending a bit more per message, the return on investment can be far greater in the long run.

Of course, it’s important to keep an eye on your well-thought-out KPIs throughout this process – and to avoid just looking at vanity metrics – to see if working with influencers is an effective strategy for your organisation.

But in the end, in most cases, it just makes sense to work with influencers when it comes to using your budget effectively.

Reason 5 – They drive traffic and bring leads

By having your message broadcast to a new and attentive audience, you can drive even more traffic to your website and increase your organisation’s overall awareness – whether you’re launching a new product or just need a fresh way of reaching new audiences.

And if you’re trying to generate new leads and potential sales, influencers can also help with this.

Special offers or discounts for first-time customers are great ways to get people started with your product or service – and if you use an influencer-specific code for customers to enter at checkout, it’s even easier to track the effectiveness of influencer campaigns.

Before you get started

So you’ve decided that your organisation should start working with social media influencers. Great! But here are some things to consider first:

Does an influencer campaign make sense for your organisation? Like any marketing or promotional tactic, working with influencers is not for everyone. Be sure to consider the benefits and drawbacks – and any strict policies or rules of your organisation – before you commit to this.

Have a budget, audience persona, message and SMART goals established. Similar to any other marketing campaign you would carry out, you’ll want to be sure you have all of your metrics and goals in place before approaching influencers. Reaching out to influencers before you even know what you can pay them, the pricing model you want to use or what you want to accomplish just wastes everyone’s time. Determine your scope in advance!

Manage expectations. It’s crucial to understand you will need to give up control when it comes to the final content. Establish the ‘must-haves’ when it comes to your message and what can or can’t be done. Otherwise you need to let the influencer have creative license around how to best convey your message.

Working with social media influencers takes time and resources, but the beauty of it is there are influencers across a wide spectrum of niches and budgets.

Do your research to find the influencers that would work best for you and start reaping the benefits of newfound audiences without the stress and cost of yet another failed Facebook ad.

And with that said, happy influencing!

We recently co-organised an edition of News & Booze on this very topic featuring Jacques Foul and Louise Day from FleishmanHillard’s Digital, Social and Creative team! Alongside Julia Ravenscroft from Eurodad and Jo Sullivan from Conscience Consulting, News & Booze is a regular event for NGO and non-profit communicators in Brussels that takes place each month at the offices of the European Environmental Bureau. News & Booze provides a safe space for NGO networking, learning and sharing ideas. You can check out Julia’s write-up of the event here.

About Ali Colwell

Ali Colwell is a social media trainer, copywriter and the Marketing & Communication Manager of Clear Europe. Her previous work includes helping finance and technology companies in Belgium and New York elevate their online branding. She is a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism and of Vlerick Business School.

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