Influencer marketing has seen a meteoric rise through the ranks of marketing strategies used by marketers around the world. The majority of influencer marketing budgets are spent on Instagram. On Instagram, influencers are able to leverage their inherent creativity to produce high-quality visual content. Instagram works well for brands, whether large or small, in, for example, fashion, fitness, lifestyle, travel, and e-commerce. While many brands have started to work with influencers, many more are planning to start in the near future. When working with influencers there are questions that you need to ask in advance to avoid confusion while maximizing your returns.
If you are considering the option of working with an influencer marketing agency, then they will (should) ask these questions for you. In that case, these are questions that you should ask your agency to confirm with the influencers that they have identified. If you are managing your own campaign, these questions are vitally important to the success of your next campaign.
1 – How will the influencer drive traffic to your desired location?
It is often assumed that influencers will just ‘link to my website.’ Instagram users are not able to add links to the caption of an Instagram post. They can tag your brand’s Instagram page. This then requires an additional strategy to maximize the CTR (click-through rate) from your brand’s Instagram to your website or landing page. Instagram users are only able to place links in their bio.
You need to clarify with each influencer how they will be redirecting traffic to your desired location. This could be your Instagram profile, website or landing page. Depending on the size of the influencer, they might post a link to your website on their bio for a pre-determined amount of time for free. Other influencers will charge for the link to be in their bio.
TIP: Ask each influencer about utilizing the ‘swipe up’ feature on Instagram Stories. Influencers share a link that is easily (and temporarily) accessible for their followers.
2 – What rights will the influencer give you to repurpose the content?
One way to increase ROI of any influencer marketing campaign is to have a strategy in place to repurpose influencer content into other areas of your marketing strategy. The key to this is having access to the content that the influencers create. You can re-share content created by influencers that on your own company social media as long as you give credit to the influencer (tagging them or giving them photo credit is best). To use the image in print or other advertising you will need to work those rights out with each influencer individually. This should be a component of your written partnership agreement that is agreed upon and signed before the partnership formally begins.
3 – How long will the content created by the influencer be posted on their Instagram profile?
Blog posts, for example, are shared by the blogger and are usually accessible as long as the blog is in operation. Instagram is a little different. Instagram influencers sometimes have a set duration that the content that they create for you will be visible on their Instagram profile. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of each influencers’ post duration before formalizing your partnership. Try to find the best value combination of post duration and price (longer the better).
TIP: When planning the content sharing timeline, coordinate with the influencer so that their post will be shared during peak Instagram usage time. This maximizes the initial impressions of the content.
4 – Is there a pricing discount for long-term partnerships?
The vast majority of influencers prefer to develop long-term relationships with brands, creating and posting content over an extended period of time. Long-term influencer partnerships often significantly outperform the much shorter alternative. Start the conversation by getting each influencers’ costs for content creation and from there pivot to a discussion about long-term partnerships.
5 – Are you competing with other brands for space on the influencer’s Instagram profile?
As the popularity of influencer marketing continues to grow, more brands are going to be reaching out to influencers about partnerships. There are a few questions related to this that are important to ask each influencer, some of which you can answer yourself by doing some basic research:
i – How often is each influencer sharing content from other brand partnerships? This can be discovered by taking a look at each Instagram profile. Look for #ad or #sponsored in the caption for a clear indication of brand-sponsored content.
ii – What other brands are they working with? Much like other partnership opportunities, you want to avoid conflicts with competing brands. There is value, however, in partnering with influencers that have or are partnering with brands that target the same consumers as you do. You can negotiate an ‘exclusive’ with influencers. They will agree to not work with competing brands while they are in a partnership with you and for a duration after your partnership is done (within reason).
6 – What analytics will each influencer provide you?
Influencers have access to analytics provided to them by Instagram, which they should be able to provide you. Some other influencers will spend money to access third-party analytics which they will provide you with. As a brand, you need to spend some time identifying which metrics are important to you. After that you can explore how to track them yourself through various analytics platforms.
7 – What style of Instagram account do they have?
Depending on the type of Instagram account an influencer has built, the price and creative mindset will vary. There are two main types of Instagram accounts – theme pages and personal pages. Theme pages focus on general topics or interests. Personal pages focus on the individual’s embodiment of their interests. Personal pages will almost always cost a brand more to partner with. They also require a little more time to create the content.
Of course, there are other questions that you can ask in addition to these. The 7 questions listed here are suggestions for what you should be asking each influencer before you partner with them. If you’re already running influencer marketing campaigns, what questions do you ask influencers before partnering with them?