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May 25 · 11 min read

The Complete Guide to Working With Influencers

Commission Factory looks at the benefits and tips for account managers when executing a successful social media Influencers campaign for advertisers via the affiliate channel. 

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What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is not a new concept as it is based on the foundation of recommendations, referral or word-of-mouth advertising. Television advertising has used it to good effect by employing celebrity influencers to endorse products. Now, however, it is based on individuals creating content on their social channels for their followers, that sparks conversation and a desire to purchase. These channels can include Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and many more.

This desire is built on how the audience perceives the referrer or influencer. Successful influencers build a following based on great content that delivers knowledge and experience within their chosen field. Their audience not only enjoys their content but usually receives something of value along the way. This can be in the form of tips, tricks, new knowledge or just pure entertainment.

The audience respects and trusts the influencer, based on their experiences with them to date. For example, the influencer could be known for great content around beauty tips and they do an unboxing on a new make-up palette for their audience. Based on the influencer's experience, their followers buy the make-up palette. Or an influencer records a video of a recipe, which is easy to follow and tastes great. Others try the recipe and it works so well that when the influencer publishes the next video their viewers can not wait to try it.

When an influencer then shares new content discussing third-party brands or products, the market is already primed towards the influencer’s choices and much more likely to follow the recommendation.

Influencers need to create unique, appealing and engaging content that demonstrates the brand’s value whilst remaining authentic and personable at the same time. Successful influencers typically provide brands with creative images, captions, videos and blogs.

As eCommerce has grown and evolved, influencer marketing strategies have also changed in both popularity and significance to brands marketing strategy and objectives. Therefore they need to ensure that these campaigns are executed and carried out in the most effective way possible.

With ways to use popular social channels always changing, it’s important to keep across all upcoming trends and commonly used media to actively promote their products where their target audience is. 

In a study conducted in 2020, Instagram ranked #1 for the most important and influential social media channel with the ease of photo-sharing proving to be more effective and impactful than more established channels such as Facebook: 


Graph showing the most important social media channels for influencer marketing.

Bigcommerce: Influencer Marketing Statistics (1)

“With over 1 billion users and a fast-growing network of influencers churning out millions of sponsored posts each year, Instagram has become the most important influencer marketing channel.” (1) 

Brands need to keep in mind that certain formats resonate better with specific audiences within each social channel. For example, Instagram static posts and stories are the most effective for influencer marketing: 

Graph showing effective content formats for influencer marketingBigcommerce: Influencer Marketing Statistics (1)

The graph further reinforces the importance of brands being present on these social channels to increase brand awareness. Brands should also keep up to date with algorithm updates on social platforms, ensuring they use them effectively and their full potential.    

Brands typically hire a Social Media Manager whose job is to ensure the success of these platforms and build, manage, and cultivate direct relationships with influencers over a long period. However, it's also important to note that you can successfully develop relationships with micro-influencers via the affiliate channel. The number of Influencers signing up to affiliate databases steadily increases.  

Micro-influencers

For brands looking to engage a lasting brand ambassador on a budget, micro-influencers can provide a highly engaged, loyal and niche audience for a fraction of the cost of high-profile influencers. The definition of a micro-influencer will differ depending on who an advertiser is talking to, but as a general rule, between 2k - 80k followers and have highly targeted, niche audiences. Advertisers will be able to find lots of examples of this style of marketing, as brands adopt it more heavily as an affordable strategy.

Micro-influencers offer high engagement from focused and responsive followers. In fact, micro-influencers with 1,000-10,000 followers can attract more than four times the engagement on sponsored posts because of their loyal following.

While micro-influencers are more accessible and widespread than high-profile bloggers, advertisers also have to work with them more to often see the same level of reach and impressions as a mid-to high-tier influencer. This makes them the perfect choice to engage as lasting, long-term brand ambassadors rather than the source of one-off influencer campaigns.

What are the main advantages and benefits of Influencer Marketing

There are several advantages and benefits when advertisers carry out an influencer campaign via the affiliate channel. In addition, there are tips on how to work with influencers and micro-influencers for affiliate managers and account managers managing influencer activity in the affiliate space: 

Creative Control and Target Audience  

A wide and varied audience

Influencer campaigns allow brands to promote their products to new audiences in a bespoke manner. Social Influencers can bring their unique offering to the brand, which resonates better with their audience. It can also quickly build trust through the influencer's relationship with their audience.

Multiple formats

Influencers are known to create aesthetically appealing content across several marketing channels. These range from thorough and informative YouTube unboxing videos to trending and engaging Tik Tok clips and eye-catching static Instagram posts, which is a great way to expand on the business's content strategy.

Leverage creative direction

The creative control that influencers provide can stem out into something more widespread across the brand. For example, a brands marketing team can then use the creative direction in their newsletter, website and social accounts.

Influencer Marketing Muscle Chef (1)

MicrosoftTeams-image (2)

My Muscle Chef new customer code + meal review campaign with Eating up with the Hannashians April 2021   

Budgeting 

Cost-effective

Influencer sponsored content can be cost-effective in the affiliate channel, even though rate cards and fixed fees can change on a case-by-case basis. The affiliate channel essentially allows for influencers to work off the effective cost per acquisition (CPA) model on an ongoing long-term basis. 

Putting available budgets to use

Brands tend to have a budget set aside for influencer partners to optimise via the affiliate channel. Prices and fees are negotiable between all stakeholders involved, and expenses can quickly be credited. 

Account Management Capabilities 

The Process of Sourcing Influencers

When planning influencer content, account managers can find influencers for the target audience of a specific brand using the Commission Factory affiliate directory. These influencers include blog influencers, fashion influencer for fashion brands and beauty influencer.

Communication and Delivery

With Commission Factory, account managers can find influencers and directly contact them via email and phone or through the message centre. The platform and the team make the execution of the entire campaign seamless and straightforward for the brand involved. 

Affiliate Platform Capabilities 

Reporting

Advertisers can monitor, report and analyse engagement metrics with the influencer's audience in real-time via the Commission Factory platform. The ability to track the effectiveness of a campaign allows advertisers to adjust the social strategy quickly.

Clickless Code Usage

With the Commission Factory platform, brands can assign Influencers a unique code that they can use on other marketing channels and track its usage, performance and overall success in real-time. 

Placement Marketplace

Advertisers can browse up-and-coming advertising placements that align with their brand values and ideal influencer opportunities for multiple audiences. They can then easily apply to multiple opportunities.

QR Codes

QR codes are also available for advertisers to use with YouTube or Twitch needed and will help support influencer partners. 

Influencer Networks on Commission Factory

Advertisers can connect with influencer networks who work as affiliates on the Commission Factory platform. They have an extensive database of influencers and can manage the influencer relationship with the brand.  

Tips on How to Work with Influencers in the Affiliate Channel 

Along with the benefits listed above, here are some additional tips for affiliate account managers to keep in mind when running Influencer activity in the affiliate space. 

Setting Strategy and Goals

Highlighting a list of key objectives and goals for the campaign before starting is key to its overall success, whether that would be revenue-focused, new customer acquisition or units sold for a product category. If the advertiser is clear about what they are looking to achieve, it will help direct the influencer content and get the desired outcome.

To help form an influencer marketing strategy, an advertiser should have the following in place: -

  1. A clearly identified target audience
  2. Clearly defined budget parameters 
  3. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set

Be selective

Always choose the right Influencer carefully and always consider relevance, reach and resonance. Look at how many followers they have, the engagement on their social channels and whether the content aligns with the business.

Return on Ad Spend

Influencer marketing tends to sit at the top compared to other marketing channels. It’s important to reinforce that these campaigns can be more effective in gaining brand awareness and recognition than mass amounts of revenue compared to other key affiliate categories. 

Communication Management

Be mindful that sometimes it can be challenging to arrange exposure, and there may be delays in response from influencers who have other work commitments.  

Time Management

Additionally, exposure is bespoke and requires back-and-forth communication. Account Managers need to keep in mind that this process can be longer than anticipated. To avoid disappointment or miscommunication, manage expectations with everyone involved accordingly.

Setting Expectations for the Influencer Marketing Campaign

Building Rapport

Always remember that building rapport with the Influencer is equally important as listening to their needs and opinions. After all, they do know their audience the best. 

Building rapport is essential for micro-influencers who have a growing following that presents future brand exposure.

Setting and Managing Expectations

Before starting, make sure to clearly outline to the Influencer the product(s) they will be receiving and the deliverables they need to meet. These can include what to post, brand guidelines, additional material and when the post is going live.

Formal Agreements

Put a contract or terms and conditions in place, so both you and the influencer understands what to expect from the campaign. They can adhere to it in writing via email.  

Overall, when it comes to running influencer campaigns via Commission Factory and in the Affiliate space, the opportunities are endless. There are many unique ways to address and carry out campaigns via the portal.

As brands continue to shift their focus and resources to partnering with influencers, the affiliate space adapts to this trend. It can provide suggestions, strategies and solutions to all sorts of brands from various verticals.

Additionally, when carrying out these campaigns via Commission Factory, brands can work off the CPA model and gain assistance from experienced account managers whose expertise in building affiliate relationships can be leveraged by all stakeholders.

Sources

1. Influencer Marketing Statistics 

If you are an advertiser working with Commission Factory and you want to know more about how you can work with influencers, speak to your contact.

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