Speaking at the recent Online Retailer conference in Sydney, Ms Williams (pictured) — a former model who now owns and operates influencer business theright.fit alongside her modelling agency Wink Models — said that businesses on average see a return of $6.50 for every $1 invested on influencer marketing.
She subsequently told My Business that far from being exclusively the domain of the corporate world, businesses of any size can use influencers to help market their products and services, if they feel it is the right approach for them.
“We have a huge range of clients, from the top end — Westpac banks and Qantases and [businesses] like that — right through to people who have just started, launching their very first business and might have a $100 budget to spend,” she said.
“It really is open to everyone — all different budgets, all different briefs.”
How do you price an influencer’s services?
When it comes to budgeting, a range of factors will ultimately determine how much a businesses can expect to pay to engage an influencer — including their number of followers on social media, the number of posts they are required to make and whether they and their images/content is to be used and shared across multiple platforms.
But how an influencer can be used to create hype and engagement with customers is only limited by the budget and the business’s imagination.
“Really great, cohesive campaigns usually integrate the [influencer] across numerous different touchpoints,” she said.
“Sometimes they’ll even do a product collaboration with that person, and release it across both of their social channels; they might have a live launch event where the consumer can meet their favourite influencer; there might be above-the-line press, there might even be a TV commercial.”
How can a business identify the right influencer for their brand and budget?
According to Ms Williams, despite the marketing budgets and brand sophistication of large corporates, it “can be easier for a smaller business” to find the right influencer for them, because they tend to be closer to their customer.
“What you see with big businesses is the person making the decision can be, a lot of the time, separated maybe from the outcome of the campaign, or not as close to the DNA of the brand,” she said.
“Especially when it’s the business owner that we’re talking to, they have a really, really clear idea of who their brand identity is [and] who their target customer is ... a lot of the time, they might even still be talking to their customers [directly], the might be having face-to-face interactions.”
Such a deep understanding of the customer and the business, Ms Williams said, can actually make it fairly straightforward to identify and develop a rapport with an influencer who understands and can seamlessly gel with a business and its target customers.
How to determine if an influencer campaign has been successful
Ms Williams recommends that businesses establish a contract from the outset and include KPIs to assess the performance of a marketing campaign and the influencer driving it.
These KPIs, she suggested, can include:
- Brand sentiment
- Quality of the content
- Creativity of the storytelling involved
- Whether the overall goals are achieved
And because social media involves digital platforms, it is easy to track performance, both during and after a marketing campaign.
This can be done, Ms Williams said, by way of self-reporting by the influencer themselves as well as the integration of campaign hashtags, coupon codes and the Google Campaign tool to track how the influencer’s posts convert to sales.
What to avoid when using a social influencer
Ms Williams urged businesses considering the use of a social influencer to market their wares not to be naive about what is involved.
She suggested a few key things to avoid:
- Thinking that any influencer will do: “It needs to be this mutually beneficial, sort of two-way exchange. You can’t just say, ‘I’m going to hire this beautiful influencer or this top-tier celebrity and get them to talk about my product and therefore customers are going to come’.”
- Being dictatorial: Businesses can actually learn a thing or two from the influencer about how to engage with their target audiences. Ms Williams said that established influencers are like “mini media houses”, and they are also best placed to know what works and what doesn’t among their base of followers.
- Being too forced in the messaging: “Really contrived campaigns just don’t perform anymore. I think consumers are just too savvy.” The hype of the early days of influencer marketing has given way to much more natural, authentic and relatable campaigns, particularly because social media “is so personal”.
- Going in blind: This is where conflict can arise. While this is social media, it is, after all, a business contract, and as such, Ms Williams recommends always having an agreement in writing. Such an agreement, negotiated and signed by both parties from the outset, can help to remove doubt about factors such as what is required of the influencer, who owns the content they produce, how long a campaign will run and so forth.