How to... Work with influencers

CEO of Sook John Hoyle standin with some of the Cirkel team outside their pop-up at Sook South Molton Street

This week's 'how to...' guide takes a look at influencer marketing: what it is and why you should consider using it - and how it could help take your pop-up experience to the next level...

Promoting your pop up or event is essential to making it a success. Using your socials to get the word out there and drum up some hype is a great way to start, but how can you give your online marketing (and your on-the-day) a boost? 

Certainly, paid advertising doesn’t seem to offer the same ROI as it used to, especially if you’re operating on a small scale. Cue Influencer Marketing: the medium that’s just as effective, if not more so, and can really make a difference when you’re promoting your pop up. 

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is well into the mainstream now, having surpassed mere buzzword territory years ago, with Werner Geyser at Influencer Marketing Hub defining it as ‘...a hybrid of old and new marketing tools, that takes the idea of celebrity endorsement and places it into a modern-day content-driven marketing campaign’. 

In short, influencer marketing is getting someone influential to promote your brand, leveraging their following (both on and offline) to increase your visibility and reach. 

Read this cool Forbes article on the The History of Influencer Marketing

What’s an influencer?

Influencer Marketing Hub describes influencers as those ‘with the power to affect the purchasing decisions of others because of his or her authority, knowledge, position, or relationship with his or her audience; and (those with) a following in a distinct niche, with whom he or she actively engages’

Again, in short, an influencer is someone who can impact what people buy by leveraging their following, and people follow them because they’ve bought into their ethos, or lifestyle, or some other facet of themselves that is aspirational to others. 

Think about the influencers you already know. They’re probably highly-paid celebrities, such as the ‘queen of the influencers’, Kim Kardashian, or reality show contestants, such as Love Island’s Molly May Hague. But, to the second distinction above, take a scroll around your Instagram feed…what do you see? Global celebs, yes, but also other accounts from individuals who may seem more local, more accessible, with a lifestyle that seems (almost) achievable.

And this is where we get into the realms of ‘micro’ and ‘nano’ influencers: people with lower followings (3k - 150k for micro, and anywhere between 100 and 10k for nanos), who still have sway. 

Read about Mega, Macro, Micro and Nano Influencers

Affable.AI’s list of Top Ranked Micro Influencers to Follow in 2022 

Emma Richardson, a senior executive at Influencer Matchmaker, an influencer agency (who’ve also got a super helpful blog, btw), says:

‘Originally, influencers weren’t being noticed until they had reached well over 50,000 followers. Why? Because the term ‘influencer’ and the benefits that they can bring was still new to everyone. Then, brands, businesses and probably even creators themselves were under the impression that the more followers you had the better. And, while there is no such thing as too many followers, what many people were yet to learn was that there was much more that could be done with those with a smaller following.

Emma outlines several reasons for the micro/nano phenomenon:

#1 Trust

It’s all about the authenticity. The smaller the following, the more people trust them. The ‘circle’ feels more intimate, and followers feel like the person they’re following is a friend. Therefore, they are more likely to act on recommendations. 

#2 High engagement

Your chosen influencer will have spent time and effort gathering high-quality followers around them, couple this with the trust aspect, and you’ve got a super-targeted group of people who want to be there. 

#3 Cost

The good thing about influencer marketing these days, now that the sector is expanding, is that there’s an option to suit everyone’s budget. Mega and macro influencers are eye-wateringly expensive, but you can still get an exceptional ROI as a smaller brand, by using smaller influencers, who come with all the lovely stuff above.

All aboard? We knew you would be. Next…

Getting it right

Using an influencer can have a huge, positive impact for your brand, but how do you make sure it’s done properly?* Disclaimer: these are not hard and fast rules, use your own judgement as to what will work for you.

We spoke to Lauren Rammell, a former member of X Factor band, Four of Diamonds, and seasoned influencer, to get her top tips on working with influencers, and making sure they’re working for you. 

Lauren Rammell’s Top Tips:

Find an influencer who shares your target audience

If you are wanting to target women with children find somebody who is an incredible mumfluencer etc

This calls for research. Look at who your most engaged followers follow and go from there, plus you’re almost certainly following the right kind of people too. Think about who’s popping up on your feed and doing a good job.  

It’s also worth checking to see whether potential accounts do a lot of promotion for brands, and there’s a definite middle ground here…look for one who is clearly open to promotions, but who is discerning in what they promote. You don’t want to get lost among 100 other random brands. 

Read Pick N Mix Marketing’s blog on How To Choose The Right Influencer For You

Don't just look at follower count

Engagement is so much more important, sometimes a high follower count doesn't mean that the followers are active or engaged. Check out the engagement on their posts too, to see who’s switched on, and what kind of content is working the best.

Remember this is their job

The word is ‘collaborate’ not ‘dictate’, right? Give them a really simple, easy to follow brief of what you would like them to do but let them have creative freedom to add their input too! 

Read The Top 10 Influencer Campaigns of 2021

That being said…

Make sure everyone knows what’s happening

If your budget allows you to go via an agency, such as Influencer Matchmaker (Joey Essex, anyone?), EngageHub, or Tribe Group, then you should find they’ve got this nailed. But what if you’re approaching smaller influencers directly? 

If they’re a professional influencer with lots of experience, then they should have some processes in place to make sure everyone is getting what they need out of the arrangement, how it’s going to work, what each party needs to do, and in what timeframe.

For example, if you pay X amount, you will get two main-grid posts and a Story, or if you send a full set of products you will get an unboxing and a review Story on Insta. 

Preparing like this, and making sure you get it down in writing can stop a lot of bitter feelings afterwards, if your brand isn’t quite promoted like you thought it would be. We spoke to Emily Thomas, a graphic design student who did some design work for an influencer with 153k followers. She said:

‘I agreed to supply 12 designs for free in return for exposure, but when she posted my designs on her main page she didn’t tag my professional account and I thought it was a given…I’ve made sure since that I’ve made it a mandatory’

Respect their cost 

Creating content is not an easy task and many influencers will hire photographers or videographers to help them, so respect their costs, realise that you get what you pay for, and if it doesn't suit your budget, that's ok! 

There’s likely to be an influencer for everyone’s budget, so keep going until you find yours, but don’t be tempted to compromise in terms of whether they are right for your brand, because that will only do harm in the long run.

Read Unbox Social’s Guide To Working With Influencers - We LOVE this!

Read Social Shepherd’s list of the top UK influencer agencies

And, of course, if you can negotiate a personal appearance at your pop up or event, then that would be ideal. Not only do you get the reach of their following, but it also gives you the opportunity to create some shareable, taggable content on the day. 

Sook provides flexible, affordable, book-by-the-day spaces for you to pop up in prime locations from London to Edinburgh. Launching soon in Montreal and Abu Dhabi… woo hoo! 

Book your pop up or event today

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