The Age of the Influencer: When is it Worth it to Invest?

We’re not sure when social media shifted from a platform to create song-lyric titled Facebook albums to a potential goldmine of entrepreneurial opportunity, but here we are.

Content creation and “influencing” have become intertwined, forming one of the most popular and potent forms of advertising. TikTok even established its own shop in response to its creators and their numerous “day in the life” videos, many of which highlight their dedication to greens and protein powders, OOTDs, recipes, and more.

It’s a pretty hands-off and affordable form of marketing- simply mail your service or product to a willing influencer, perhaps provide a short script, and call it a day. Sometimes, depending on the terms, payment could be as simple as having them try your product or service for free.

But is that all there is to it? How do you know if it’s a good fit for you, and, most importantly, whom do you pick? Here are a few things to consider before deciding to dip a toe into the potential pool of influencing:

  • Audience reach: Assess whether the influencer you’re considering has access to the audience you need. If you’re trying to tap into a new demographic, this can be a great way to get an initial burst of connectivity if they’re already well-established.
  • Engagement rates: An astounding number of followers doesn’t necessarily mean a perfect partnership. An influencer with a smaller but highly engaged audience may offer better ROI compared to one with a larger but less engaged following.
  • Personal alignment: Make sure this person is someone you’d want representing your brand. Research their associations, values, overall tone, and online presence to ensure that your brand is safe in their marketing hands.
  • Track record: Have they worked with other brands before? If so, it might be worth reaching out to previous partners to get feedback on their rates and what it’s like to work with them.
  • Set definitive goals: If this is your first time taking a chance on pairing with an influencer, make sure to establish specific benchmarks to measure outcomes. Set parameters based on goals such as increasing social media followers, driving website conversions, or generating leads. Ensure that these goals are measurable so you can track the effectiveness of the partnership and see if utilizing influencers is beneficial to your marketing strategy.
  • Consult with a legal team: Get a lawyer to help draw up contracts for both your legal safety and that of the influencer you’re working with. Drafting paperwork that outlines deliverables, payment terms, and exclusivity clauses will help keep everyone’s expectations on the same page.

Taking a chance on a stranger can be intimidating, and there is some risk involved. The flip side is it can also be a great way to connect with a wider audience and cultivate a mutually beneficial partnership with someone who has already done the heavy lifting to build a viewership base.