How to Recruit Social Influencers Without Spending a Fortune

Influencer marketing is hot right now. It should be because it works. It’s not just hot because people are talking about it - it’s because it’s a way to reach audiences who are traditionally tricky, and in markets where competition is strong.

Millennials (those allegedly elusive and ad-blocking folks reaching young adulthood in the early part of this century) being a prime example. Nearly a quarter of them view well-known vloggers (video bloggers) and content publishers as unbiased role models, and 44 per cent of internet users (53 per cent) of 16-24 year olds) watch vlogs each month.

Social influencers are creators of content on their own terms, and because of this they add ‘intimacy’ to a brand. Video platforms like YouTube allow viewers to feel closer to the personalities with whom they engage from the safety of their own mobile device or bedroom – making these platforms the largest, most trusted, easy to access, searchable resources for information around any given topic.

Potential Influencer Investment

Some of the upper echelons of internet celebrities can command six digit figures for showcasing brand products to their millions of followers. The ‘going rate’ depends on the number of committed viewers, and the following can act as a basic guide of what a company might conservatively expect to pay for endorsement.

For a single post on the likes of Instagram or Snapchat, for example, the digital pr agency I work for arranges deals with social influencers around the following:

3-20K followers: $65-$250

20-100K followers: $250-$500

100-250K followers: $500-$650

200-500K followers: $650-$850

500K+ followers: $1,000+

Find the Next Wave

The key to not paying a fortune here is to do the research and to hunt out the next wave of social influencers that are growing online followers relevant to the brand in the right territories (US, UK, etc.), and to recruit them from emerging social sites still in their infancy.

Within Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope there is still a healthy supply of budding social influencers with large and growing followings. Contacting these people directly through their chosen platforms (especially if they’re at the stage where such offers from brands aren’t common and they haven’t yet secured the services of an agent) can be an easy way to get their rate card, discuss an offer and make first contact.

The Channels are Wising Up

Social networks are wising up to this. Snapchat now plans to pay content creators a guaranteed amount in advance for a licence for the content they produce, giving it exclusive rights to sell advertising against the content and retain any revenue generated.

Last year a Snapchat patent also hinted at a “revenue-sharing” model, where a brand could pay Snapchat content creators for their content. It specified: “A user image may be added to a gallery sponsored by Coca Cola and in return for contributing to Coca Cola’s gallery, a user may receive compensation on a flat-fee, per view or revenue share basis.”

While not part of the platform yet, this could well be the future. Let’s not forget that Instagram belongs to Facebook, which is proactive and passionate about a revenue-generating ad model to keep Mr. Zuckerberg in grey t-shirts and vegetarian ready meals.

It Pays To Be Quick

The message we can take from this is to strike while the iron is hot - looking at those that have the audience you are looking for and have a growing and dedicated crop of followers early on. Ask your target audience who is hot and who is not.

Klout for Business now provides functionality to segment, explore and deal with influencer lists. Influencer management tools like Trackr and performance monitoring tools like Buzzsumo are emerging that offer a strong first port of call, but there’s no substitute for water cooler discussions with the more web-savvy members of our team.

What You Can Do

Asking customers who they follow in focus groups and in polls can produce enlightening results, as well as offering insight into the topics of genuine interest to them. Reaching out to up-and-coming content creators can be surprisingly cost effective with genuine measurable ROI.

After all, those posts have longevity and will be part of their stream when their following grows further, and the very act of sponsoring them can be a boost to their presence. Listen to the millennials (or other target groups) in your company and invite them to brainstorming meetings - you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what they have to contribute.

AdStage Team