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While new digital and consumer trends emerge, influencer marketing continues to saturate our screens and supersede many forms of traditional marketing. A growing epidemic of hashtags, Boomerangs and live feeds…

Finding themselves in the firing line of scrutiny and speculation, influencers have had to recently lift their game (and we’re not complaining). Content has had to become more innovative, and sponsorship prices begun to fall. It’s no secret that investing in collaborations has the potential to be a complete waste of resources, so we’ve put together a list of 5 steps to arm you with the expertise to master the system, rather than turn against it.

1. Perform an influencer account audit

  • Read through audience comments on the last 6-10 posts – is the influencer engaging with their audience? Do the comments look genuine, or is the account just attracting an influx of pesky bots?
  • Take note of engagement rates. Was there a sudden spike of engagement? This is often an indication of an account that has paid for inauthentic engagement.
  • Start stalking. Go through a number of the following accounts to get a feel for the location and demographic of the influencer’s audience (you don’t want to be promoting women’s swimwear a demo of 50-year-old men located in Ireland!).

2. Name your price

Based on the account audit you’ve conducted, how much value is this collaboration going to bring to your brand? Most savvy influencers will have a media kit you can review, which will help shape your expectations around ROI. Influencer marketing is a fluid and agile industry, so influencers are often prepared to provide tailored pricings and deliverables dependant on your brand’s needs.

3. Follow FTC Guidelines for sponsored influencer collaborations

Want to know the best way to taint your brand quickly? Play dirty on social. Stick to the rules by ensuring that your influencers disclose the paid nature of a collaboration by using the hashtag #ad or applying the new Instagram branded content option to their post.

4. Avoid a “one-channel collaboration”

Whilst sponsored Instagram posts have long played master in the realm – Facebook, YouTube, blogs, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn and even podcasts are not to be sniffed at. Recent studies by the Online Marketing Institute have found that it now takes 13+ touch points to make a conversion – so you’ll want to make a splash!  Make the most of your influencer collaboration and ensure that your content makes its way across your influencer’s relevant platforms. Remember, the more channels you invest in, the easier it becomes to negotiate sponsorship prices.

5. Track the collaboration’s success

Brand awareness

Influencer collaborations are often part of a strategy to raise brand awareness, which be difficult to track. Ensure that branded hashtags are always used in the influencer’s copy to maximise brand awareness. ­Visa nailed their campaign #TeamVisa, by jumping on the Olympic bandwagon and establishing partnerships with key Olympians for the winter games earlier this year.

Web Traffic

Ensure that influencer posts are all UTM tagged so you can monitor and track foot traffic.

Boost Sales

If the objective of your collaboration is to boost sales, then opt for the inclusion of influencer promo codes to bolster sales and give you the ability to track the success.