Recently, I spoke at a national food, beverage and restaurant conference on influencer marketing. The session was called ‘Shake Up Your Digital Marketing Strategy: Tips to Engage with Nano & Micro-Influencers.’ As the Vice President of Digital Integration at ColinKurtis Advertising—a food and beverage marketing agency—it was a delight to speak to marketing managers, business owners and food ingredient professionals to give tips on how to work with influencers or creators without breaking the bank.
Why Should My CPG Brand Partner with Influencers?
Influencers can provide a lot if you partner with the right people. We’ve all made suggestions to our peers, friends and family on new snacks, treats and restaurants—so we’re all influencers at the end of the day—we just have different levels of audience size.
5 Reasons to Work with Influencers
There are different types of influencers. Some will simply post something you share, but many are creators. Creators develop content from photos to videos and even recipes—creating an opportunity to not just reach new people, but also to engage with them through video views or recipe downloads.
- Create content for you – many influencers are awesome photographers or videographers, so it’s a way to get some creative assets you can use for your social media
- Grow your brand awareness – if an influencer has 20K followers, some of those followers might not have heard of your business yet
- Build trust and credibility – they have their own audience and followers engage with them for a reason, which could be anything from a follower simply loving the content to wanting to buy what the influencer recommends
- Help reach your target audience – one of my favorite influencers is a pescatarian (she’s very niche), but she has a strong, engaged audience that lives the same lifestyle. While she doesn’t have millions of followers, she has an loyal audience that trusts her
- And what we all want….influencers can help drive sales!
Now, you might have had a bad experience, or heard from someone in the industry who had a bad experience, with influencers. And, let’s be real. Bad experiences can happen. Not every influencer is going to be a strong fit for your brand.
What To Keep in Mind When You Start to Work with Influencers
- It can be costly. (I know…we’d all love to have a celebrity post about our food or beverage brand, but that can cost millions)
- They aren’t always going to work—think about every ad that you’ve placed. Whether it was a digital ad or one you did in a Valpak, billboard, or the Yellow Pages, there had to be one that worked better than the others, and we have the same risk when working with influencers.
- Lastly, it can be challenging to find the right influencer—one with the audience you need.
The Ideal Influencer Traits to Build a Relationship and Partnership
Now that we’ve covered what to keep in mind when you work with influencers, here are some of the ideal traits you should look for.
- Always, always, always look for natural partnerships—people with a strong following and engagement that have already purchased/used your food product. You might be thinking, well, if they come and post about it, why would I want to give them product or pay them to post? The answer is simple. They are already invested in you, but they don’t have the answer to everything. They might like behind the scenes tips or even other product lines that they haven’t tried. They already invested in an initial purchase, so keep the relationship going and grow it over time with invites to events, send some product launches or thank-yous along the way.
- And, of course, if you can’t find that person, look for influencers with strong engagement.
What Are The Different Types of Influencers?
Looking for the right influencer means understanding what you are getting into. There are 4 main influencer types:
- Mega or Celeb
Nano influencers are anyone with 1K to 10K followers. They could do an in-kind partnership where you provide them with complimentary food and beverage, but many times they’ll want compensation for their time, which can range from $10-$250 per post on average.
Influencers set their rates based on how they value their time and the services they offer. If you have someone just coming in that takes one photo vs. someone who creates a video, and posts on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, consider what types of engagement you want from your ideal influencer and how much YOU value content on certain platforms. This could help you determine who you choose to partner with in the future.
Micro-influencers range from 10K to 100K followers and can cost up to $10,000 per post. Macro-influencers range from 100K to 1 million and typically go up to $20,000 per post. Mega or celebs—with over 1 million followers—can charge into the millions for a single post.
Of course, we don’t all have those million-dollar budgets. So today, we’re focusing on a few ways you can engage with nano and micro-influencers.
Ensure Your Relationship is Transparent
Legally speaking, according to the FTC, whether you are providing a free product or cash, any relationship with an influencer should be disclosed. I wrote an article in Website Magazine about influencer disclosure guidelines.
However, the best way to be safe is to always be transparent and make sure the influencer is too. They should use #Sponsored or #Ad hashtags in their post to make it clear. These hashtags are so important; they can’t be mixed in with 29 other hashtags.
How to Find Influencers
First, there are tools online to find influencers. Many of them require a fee to use, but one of the best ways is to use a social media platform. Let’s look at Instagram as an example. Here, you can type #lasvegasfoodie and not only does that hashtag come up, but several others with over 200K posts may be just what you need to search for influencers in your area.
Another way is to look at where people check in and look for your own business, your city or major landmarks around your place.
The easiest way? Look at people who have already tagged your business!
Earlier, we talked about how influencers can help you generate content for your social media platforms. Well, one step further is that if you are working with an influencer, you want to make it clear that you are using these assets on your social media too. If you just come across someone who posted about your brand and you want to use it on your profile, be sure to ask them first. Typically, people just say yes, but it’s polite and protects you legally. Always remember to thank them for coming in and posting about it publicly.
An easy way to get to know some influencers in your area after you research them is to invite them to an event. You can invite them to an already existing event that you might be having—such as an anniversary party or a tasting. You’ll want to comp their ticket if it is a paid ticketed event.
You can also message them to set up a time to have a tasting for them. And a cool way to do this is to invite them to host an event. Consider sending them something like this: “You and up to 10 of your friends can join us for happy hour! We’ll provide your group with a night of delicious apps and cocktails—on us.” Not only does that get the influencer in but it gives them a chance to bring more people to try your spot too.
Another way to work with influencers is to collaborate with them. You can do a giveaway for a free product or two, and ask that they post about. If you have a super fan, you can have a Limited Time Offer (LTO)—maybe they have a seasonal product they love that you can put on special to help drive traffic in so people can try it.
Influencers want the royal treatment—I mean, let’s be honest, we all do! Remember to impress them, or do something a little extra that makes it memorable. For example, if you’re doing a tasting, don’t just give them a product like anyone else—provide an experience.
Overall, you want it to be an experience for them, so they will want to share it!
Remember: influencer marketing is a full commitment and a lot of work. Let ColinKurtis Advertising help develop and manage an influencer marketing program for your brand. Check out our recent work with Campfire Marshmallows where we grew social media engagement, video views and revenue. Reach out to me or Mitch Robinson at Mitch@colinkurtis.com or call 815-965-6657 EXT. 1 to learn more about our approach.
Blog post from:
Vice President, Digital Integration