The one thing all influencers have in common, whether they have a contract or agreement with a brand or not, is trust. Some of the most trusted forms of advertising, according to a study from Nielsen, are recommendations from people known by others, and consumer opinions online. Brand influencers earn trust through authenticity and credibility.
It’s no secret a brand influencer gets paid (hint: #ad or something similar). But their audience still feels a connection. It’s authentic engagement that bridges the gap between audience, influencer and brand.
Why to Partner with Brand Influencers
Trust is a major reason to partner up with an influencer. But it’s not the only reason brand influencers are so attractive to brands.
Brand influencers are so trustworthy is because they really know who they are talking to. Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, is an excellent example of an influencer who really knows her audience. Zoella is 27 years old, but is typically followed by teenagers.
Telegraph called Zoella the “squeaky clean big sister no teen should be without.” She’s managed to create a persona over the years that speaks to that teenage audience, even though those years are well behind her.
Another reason influencers are so valuable to brands is that they open doors to new audiences. Speaking of fashion influencers in particular, “Vogue UK” notes that partnering up with influencers lets brands expand their reach. As space in traditional editorial sources (like “Vogue” itself) becomes smaller, connecting with influencers (who often have audiences in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions) lets brands reach a new, unexplored customer base.
Many brand influencers are also able to bring a new eye and fresh opinions to a company’s marketing campaign. Influencers often create their own content. A brand that feels that its content has gotten stale or that it needs fresh ideas might find that working with an influencer helps to open the floodgates of creativity.
Examples of Brand Influencers
Who are some examples of influencers who have gone on to work with brands, becoming brand influencers? In addition to Zoella, there are plenty of brand influencers out there who have formed successful partnerships with companies. In some cases, brands have worked with teams of influencers, further expanding their reach.
Top Examples of Brand Influencer Partnerships:
Blogger/Pinterest Queen Joy Cho has partnered with numerous brands over the course of her career as an influencer. One of those brands is Band-Aid. As AdWeek notes, Cho has worked with Band-Aid for more than three years, designing her own line of colorful bandages, and promoting those bandages on Instagram and Twitter.
You could argue that cosmetics brand CoverGirl has been on the brand influencer bandwagon for a long time. After all, people have been named CoverGirls since the 1960s. But previously, the brand mainly worked with models (and later celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and Queen Latifah). More recently, it expanded its definition of CoverGirl and begun working with established social media influencers, bridging the gap between in-store shopping and social media shopping.
Fast fashion brand Mango has also found a way to work with brand influencers. It launched the #MangoGirls campaign, which saw it partnering with influencers who aligned with the brand and its values. As “Vogue” noted, the influencers for the campaign were largely chosen by employees of Mango who follow those influencers on their own social media accounts.
How to Start Working With Brand Influencers
If you’re ready to start working with brand influencers, there are a few steps to take to get started:
Think of What You Want to Get from a Brand Influencer
Why do you want to partner with an influencer? It could be that you want to increase awareness of your brand, or reach a new audience. You might feel that your current campaigns are tired, and want to get fresh blood and new opinions in the mix. What’s important is that you have a clear idea of what you’re doing, and why.
Research and Learn About Influencers
Next, take the time to learn about various influencers. You can use an influencer marketplace to find brand influencers to work with. Pay attention to the topics the influencers post about, as well as their follower counts and engagement rates. You can also look at who they’ve worked with in the past, and what those campaigns have looked like.
Connect With Influencers
After you’ve found some potential brand influencers, take the time to reach out to them. You can try cold emailing or calling, but you might have more success going through a marketplace, as doing so gives the influencer some peace of mind that you’re a legit brand or company. When you connect with influencers, you’ll want to negotiate the terms of your partnership, including how long it will last and how much you’ll compensate the influencer.
Brainstorm Campaigns and Content
Work with the influencer to put together a campaign or create content. Your marketing team might want to have full say over the structure of the campaign and its size, while the influencer can have control over the actual creation of the content.
Launch the Campaign
Once you’ve got the influencers and content in place, it’s time to launch. That can mean posting on the influencers’ accounts, posting on your brand’s social media, or a combination of the two. Pay attention to how the content performs so that you can determine whether it’s worth sticking with it or changing course.
Trust is key when it comes to working with brand influencers. You want to find someone who’s trusted by their audience, and who will be able to use that trust to shine the best light possible on your brand.