Influencer marketing has hit the social media space by storm over the past 10 or so years. Back in 2009, the space was dominated by YouTube celebrities like Zoella and Tanya Burr, both of whom are still viewed as prominent figures in the beauty marketing industry.
Although there are benefits to working with influential figures, things haven’t always worked out the way brands would have hoped. Take the infamous Boots x Zoella advent calendar of 2017 for example – we get shudders just thinking of it.
However, when it works, it really works. Remember in 2021 when Benefit teamed up with Crocs and Manny Mua on the Benefits of Crocs challenge? That collaborative campaign resulted in 3.3m views on Benefit’s TikTok account alone.
With so much potential (and risk), it can be hard to know exactly how to manage a working relationship with an influencer, how much they charge, and how to even launch a campaign.
If you’re wondering how to do just that, we at Foundation can help.
What is an Influencer?
Influencers are people who have the power to inspire larger groups of people to act or behave in a certain way. In marketing, influencers are often celebrities with thousands, sometimes millions of followers and are used by brands to encourage those followers to buy a product or service.
However, they don’t have to be super famous. After all, if you operate in an extremely small niche, it’s a much wiser investment to pair with influencers who are most relevant to your target communities.
Influencers work with brands on a sponsorship basis, with the nature of that agreement needing to be declared to audiences. This ensures that all parties involved are aware that some form of transaction has taken place between the influencer and the brand in question.
Types of Influencer
There are five main types of influencer. They are categorised via their following/influence level:
Mega influencers typically have followings anywhere above the 1 million mark. Such influencers are regarded as C-to-A list celebrities, and include the likes of actors, sporting icons, mainstream musicians, and leading academics.
Micro influencers have follower counts of between 500k-1m, and are usually filled with YouTubers, and other internet icons.
Mid-tier influencers occupy the middle ground of influencer hierarchy, and it’s here where prices jump considerably. Mid-tier influencers have follower counts of between 50k to 500k.
Micro influencers can be anyone from local celebrities to up-and-coming talent. Follower counts in this range can extend anywhere from 10k to 50k.
Nano influencers have the smallest follower counts, and are therefore the cheapest to work with. Although your exposure is likely to be smaller, these smaller follower numbers are usually filled by strongly engaged superfans, and if you’ve done your homework can still be extremely effective.
Nano influencers can range anywhere from 1k to 10k followers.
Benefits of Influencer Markeitng
Influencer marketing comes with a few key benefits, including:
Just like paid media marketing, influencer marketing efforts can result in near-instant impact on your campaign/brand visibility.
Publishing organic, sponsored posts is as simple as pressing the publish button once everyone’s ready, with there being no review periods from the platforms on which they get posted. This means that you can target an already-engaged, relevant audience very quickly.
This is particularly great for newcomers to markets, allowing them to generate traction right from the start.
Building Social Proof
Social proof is a very important factor for consumers before purchasing a product. In fact, according to Global Web Index, 48% of beauty buyers follow influencers on social media, with just under half (49%) of beauty buyers using social media to find products to purchase.
Therefore, promoting your product or service through influencers can be a very effective method of targeting these beauty buyers by increasing your brand’s social proof. To further assist with this, referencing your online reviews from a third-party perspective can help instil trust into your offerings, especially when collaborating with an influencer with engaged followings.
Depending on how your posts are created, working with an influencer can even result in time savings across your promotional activities.
If you give an influencer creative freedom when promoting a product (and they have a firm grasp of your brand and your voice), you’re giving yourself time back to work on other marketing priorities, like arranging a paid advertising campaign to coincide with your project, or a promotional blog post to be featured on a relevant, high-ranking domain.
All the while, your social activity is covered by someone who’s dedicated to their craft, and almost guaranteed to get you some exposure.
How to work with Influencers
It goes without saying, but the very first thing you should do as a brand hoping to work with an influencer is to do your research. While it can be tempting to partner with the most famous person you can find that is somewhat tangentially linked to yourself, you may find that a more appropriate influencer can be sourced if you don’t limit your research period.
At Foundation, we use tools such as SparkToro to analyse specific beauty communities, such as:
- Those who follow a relevant social account (for instance, a competitor or industry body)
- Those who talk about specific topics which are relevant to our clients
- Those who hang out in specific Reddit communities
Seeing who those people follow gives us inspiration to work with influencers who we know are super relevant.
Be sure to explore a wide array of options across all types of influencer. This might allow you to save some money on your campaigns, and even achieve more success.
Building a relationship with influencers often gets overlooked. We understand why; as a brand you’re often juggling many different marketing tasks at any given moment, meaning relationship building often gets deprioritised amidst your other responsibilities. However, just like with journalists in digital PR, it’s important to keep a strong rapport with your influencer contacts.
Influencers are also humans – not just tools that can be picked up and dropped as needed. Treating influencers in a purely transactional manner is a sure-fire way to earn yourself a spot on their blacklist, with others soon to follow.
As a beauty marketing agency, we have strong relationships with influencer agencies, and influencers themselves. It’s what allows us to continually develop engaging social media campaigns on a regular basis.
Know Your Pricing
So, you’re convinced that influencers are effective, and now you’re wondering “How much do influencers charge?” It’s a good question, but unfortunately, the answer isn’t very straightforward.
Usually, an influencer’s bill will hinge on a few factors: their follower count (potential exposure), post engagement (actual exposure), time spent on creatives, agency fees, rush fees, plus any extras that may get added on to the final cost sheet.
Therefore, providing a blanket list of pricings is tricky.
For this, we’ll reference Influencer Marketing hub’s latest report on influencer costs to give some rough estimates. For argument’s sake, we’ll look solely at Facebook:
- Mega influencers: £20,000+ per post
- Macro influencers: £10,000-£20,000 per post
- Mid-tier influencers: £1,000-£10,000 per post
- Micro influencers: £200-£1,000 per post
- Nano influencers: £20-£200 per post
As you can see, the costs scale quite quickly. However, don’t expect this to 100% line up with what you’ll end up paying – as our Senior Social Media Specialist, Lauren Dutson says:
“Influencer pricing does massively depend on what the influencer themselves or their agency has set aside. We’ve had quotes from micro influencers at around £175, to lower level mid-tier influencers around the £1.5k mark. As you can see, it doesn’t always precisely add up to what industry standards might be.
How much you pay also depends on how good you are at striking a deal!”Lauren Dutson, Senior Social Media Specialist at Foundation
Leverage Their Knowledge
While you may go into an influencer agreement with specific goals, sometimes, it’s worth listening to the person you’re collaborating with. Ideally, you would work with people that operate in a similar or the same industry in which you are, meaning that there’s going to be some mis-matched insights and beliefs on how to handle a post or campaign.
Remember, influencers get contacted by brands every single day, with each one offering varying amounts of money in return for their services. This means that influencers will have loads of experience in doing what they do, and will be able to tell you how things are best done. Even if the outcome isn’t exactly what you had in mind, it’s worth listening to any feedback your influencer gives you, including their rationale for phrasing their posts in a certain way.
Need Help with Influencers? Speak with the Experts
Managing your brand’s influencer relationships is a full-time job. Not only do you need to collaborate at the right time, you need to ensure everyone is on the same page.
At Foundation, we’ve got great relationships with a variety of different kinds of influencers across the entire beauty industry. If you need help recruiting an influencer for your upcoming campaign, reach out to us to see how we can help.