How to work with a social media influencer

Working with a social media influencer – someone with a big Instagram or Facebook following, for example – can be amazing, and lead to heaps of product sales – or it can lead to nothing. It’s a brave new world and if you are considering working with an influencer to increase your sales, then you want to go into it with your eyes open and keeping in mind some of the following advice.

Why work with a social media influencer?

Whether you are just starting out or have a long-established business, working with a social media influencer can be a great marketing move. Do make sure you do it in a strategic way and allocate the cost as part of your overall marketing plan, rather than doing it ad hoc when you’re approached by influencers.


If you pick a relevant, effective influencer – which might be someone with a good Instagram audience, or a blogger with good blog traffic and perhaps an engaged Facebook audience – then you get access to their audience to promote your product. The special part of using an influencer is if you work together effectively, then it can be really influential. Think of an influencer you particularly like – if you see them using a particular handbag or talking about a great fashion label they love, you almost automatically like that product or brand too, just by association.


How to choose a social media influencer

There are a few important steps along the way to making sure you pick a social media influencer who will really work out well for your product.


  1. Refine your thoughts about your target audience and find an influencer with an audience who matches this most closely. Think about demographics, location, style, income and anything else that’s relevant to who will buy your product or service.
  2. Decide which platform you think will be most effective for your purpose. For example, do you think your target audience are likely to buy after seeing an Instagram post – or is your goal to boost your brand awareness? People may click through to your website or shop at a much lower rate from Instagram than from Facebook or a blog post, for example.
  3. If you’ve identified some influencers you think might be a good fit, then check their social media profiles thoroughly, beyond just basic numbers. For example, they might have 100,000 Instagram followers, but if each of their posts only get a dozen likes, you can see their audience is not very engaged (or might even have been bought).
  4. Consider working with multiple smaller influencers rather than just one large one. Smaller influencers might work harder at helping you out and engaging with their audience and it also spreads the risk. 

This article from Entrepreneur on how to choose an Instagram influencer has some more good tips on what to look for.


How much to pay an influencer

This is a really tricky area and there’s no standard rate. Some smaller influencers who particularly like your product may be happy to do it in exchange for free product, while others will have a rate card based on their follower numbers.

This article from Buffer gives a good overview of some ways to calculate what to pay an influencer, but it’s still very tricky. Approach an influencer with an offer and expect them to negotiate.


How to help make sure it works

There are no guarantees in social media marketing but if you go into an influencer agreement with really clear guidelines or a contract, then you have a much better chance of success.

Give guidelines to the influencer on how many and what kind of posts you expect them to do, any links or hashtags you want them to use, and so on- be as specific as possible while still allowing them flexibility to add their own voice or spin to it.  Consider including a special offer for them to use with their audience to help track your efforts.


Real life experience

If you are interested in learning more information and hearing case studies from local businesses who have had some success working with influencers, head over to our in the Growth Quarters