Have you ever wanted to know more about the latest marketing incentives – influencers? We wanted a complete overview, so we met up with Owain Williams. Owain is part of the team at Lionhouse, a creative branding agency based in Bath, UK who also heads up the active LinkedIn community ‘Micro-Influencer Marketing’ where industry leaders and those interested in influencer marketing keep up to date with all the latest in this space.
If you’re looking for a good place to understand this area of marketing incentives, read on!

What is ‘an influencer’ and what is influencer marketing?
In practical terms an influencer is someone that has a wide circle of influence over others. In influencer marketing this is usually, although not always, linked to those that have a large digital presence whether that be through social media, blogs or websites. Digital influencers are useful for marketers at it allows them to monitor and add metrics to the success of their influencer marketing campaigns.

Influencer marketing is the act of using influencer(s) to support your brand message. There is still much debate over the best practises and most effective way to use influencer marketing, from huge sums of money changing hands for sponsored posts with celebrities to the co-creation of content with ‘micro-influencers’.

What great uses have you seen of influencer marketing done well?
You see influencer marketing more than you think. The greatest use of influencer marketing is when you don’t really know it has happened at all. The whole point of influencer marketing is the ability to leverage the trust that an audience has for an influencer, bad influencer marketing is when you abuse this trust and don’t consider how you are adding value to the audience…if you want to see a good example of this, check out Scott Disick’s epic screw up on Instagram…

The best type of influencer marketing is when a brand works in harmony with an influencer, building a relationship and co-creating content that is going to be interesting and valuable to the audience, this should be so seamless that you shouldn’t really know whether it is influencer marketing or whether the influencer just really loves the brand/product/service. These types of campaigns are now becoming more common place in influencer marketing, take a look at ambassador campaigns with businesses like @gymshark or micro-influencers like @chessiekingg and what they are doing with businesses like @JDwomen and @Nikewomen.

How do you find them?
Ok, so there are two answers to this question.

The first is simple – look. The best influencer for your brand are going to be those that are already brand advocates – look into who follows you on social media, who interacts with your brand and who shares your brand values. When you approach an influencer, highlight what you can do for them, not purely in terms of money but why working with your brand is in turn going to help their brand.

The second answer, if you are taking influencer marketing seriously, is to get help. There are some awesome companies out there that can help you identify and implement campaigns with influencers – take a look at Traackr,TapInfluence, Come Round, Upfluence and Social Chain to get started.

Can an influencer really be a marketing incentive?
In short – yes. When done correctly, influencer marketing works, and we have seen countless examples of this in the last couple of years. Not only is it just ‘obvious’ that influencer marketing generates buzz and interaction around the brand, but the numbers back it. A recent study from Bloglovin’ found that “Influencers Motivate Action in Over 60% of Digitally Savvy Women” and that “Influencer Drive Purchases: 55% of Digitally Savvy Women Buy Products After Seeing Them In An Influencer’s Sponsored Post”.

What strategy should businesses look at – pure incentives, pure influencer marketing – or a mix?
Both incentives and influencer marketing are powerful tools for businesses – using these in tandem is a fantastic way to drive engagement. This also goes a great way to helping build a strong relationship with an influencer if you can offer them a strong incentive that is exclusive to their followers.

What incentives do influencers want in return?
Influencers are people too and although it is undeniable that you should consider financial investment when it comes to influencer marketing, this shouldn’t be used to incentivise influencers to ‘post’ your product, but should be used to pay influencers for the co-creation of content.

The other major incentive for influencers is building and growing their community, if you can help them with relevant and engaging content this will go a long way to helping build a strong relationship.

If you’re interested in more insight from influencer marketing experts then join the LinkedIn group here