Studio Sense: Beginner’s guide to influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has become the hot topic on every marketer’s lips and with one person having the influence to easily encourage tens of thousands of people to check out a product it’s not hard to understand why.

Instagram, with its community of over 400m active users, has created a whole new community of influencers who not only have influence but who also create innovative, inspiring and engaging content. So it’s no surprise that Instagram has become the visual marketing platform of choice for everyone from start-ups to huge global brands alike.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is actually not such a new phenomenon as its success rests on the fundamental basis of word-of-mouth recommendations. Social media has simply revitalized the power of this marketing technique.

Done well, influencer marketing is a really cost effective form of marketing that allows a brand to source highly creative content, develop brand advocacy and tap into the engaged audiences of an influencer.

Who are these influencers?

One of the most exciting aspects of influencer marketing on Instagram is the incredible mixture of people represented, covering all manner of different topics and from all around the world.

You’ve got personal trainers using Instagram as an outlet for their workouts, fashion bloggers, interior designers, travel photographers, amazingly talented graphical artists or even chefs publishing their recipes…the diversity is endless.

While some of these influencers have follower counts exceeding those of traditional celebrities, they are viewed quite differently. An influencer’s life will often feel more relatable to their followers and so, if they decide to collaborate with a brand, the majority of the time their opinion is not only genuine but will also be taken more seriously by their followers.

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Influencer marketing in 3 Steps

Influencer marketing is constantly evolving and can be a bit of a minefield, however, these 3 steps that should help you get the best results.

1. Find Relevant Influencers

Depending on your target market, there are influencers within basically every market you could hope for. Whether it is fashion, lifestyle, travel, fitness… there’s plenty out there for you to work with.

The key is finding the relevant influencers for your campaign; getting this wrong will result in a poor ROI and at worst could mean you’re throwing money away.

Finding influencers can be hugely time consuming and so the best way to find influencers is to use a third party tool such as Whalar (spoiler alert, I’m the co-founder). Whalar is a marketplace for influencer marketing that connects great brands with exceptional Instagram influencers so that they can curate incredible content and build brand advocacy from those who know online content best. We launched in early 2016 and have worked on campaigns for the likes of Nespresso, Topman, Etihad, Deliveroo, Dyson, Farfetch and Vita Coco.

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2. Provide a Flexible Brief

This should come as no surprise, but clear communication of the brief and objectives is so important. Try to avoid being overly technical or going into too much detail, remember that a lot of the influencers will be self-employed freelancers.  Let them know the details of the campaign; let them know how you’d like them to contribute. If you have a moodboard then it’s a great idea to share that.

However, the absolute critical thing is to let the influencers be themselves. A campaign will also be more successful when the brand allows the influencer the creative freedom to produce content that they know their audience will respond well to and engage with. Trust them to create an authentic and engaging campaign for you, after all you chose to work with them because of their content.

3. Agree a Sensible
Collaboration Structure

Once you’ve found the influencers you want to work with you’ll need to reach out to them and agree on a collaboration structure. There are typically five key aspects you’ll want to negotiate around:

i. Timeframe – Be clear with a deadline for when you need the content by and highlight that it’s really important that this is achieved.

ii. Output – Be clear with what you want them to produce. So as an example we might say that we want you to produce 2 pieces of content, one that we’d like you to publish on your account and mentioning that this is one of our new watches and with a mention of @shore_projects and then another piece of content that we’ll then use ourselves.

iii. Content Usage —– Be clear about what content usage rights you want. The Influencer will always retain the ownership as the creator, but we typically ask for a two-year full content usage right. You could just ask for an online content usage right, you could ask for more/less time etc..

iv. Payment – Almost all of the best Influencers will require a fee for their services. You’ll often find them willing to negotiate and willing to take a free product/service/experience as part of that fee, however, you should expect to make some payment to them.

v. Sponsored Hashtag – Regulations on sponsored content are varied around the world and changing all the time. We would always advise the use of a #spon or #ad. We’ve found it makes absolutely no difference to the performance or response to the post and means we are always in line with any regulations.

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