Influencer marketing is a growing beast with the potential of giving your brand unprecedented levels of marketing success should the beast be tamed. One of the aspects that have most marketers stumped is how to compensate influencers for their efforts if at all. Today we will be looking at creative compensation methods for brands looking to hire social media influencers.
Let’s clear this first, influencers no matter how big or small do put in the effort to engage with their fans and building an audience for themselves. When brands hire social media influencers, they are availing a service. In return, compensation for social media influencers has to match the effort and time they have invested with a brand. The question one should be asking instead is
How to adequately compensate the social media influencers?
Interestingly, the answer in the case of influencer marketing is not so straightforward. As new as this domain is, there is no set method to compensate social media influencers. It would be wrong, given its dynamic nature to limit it to any one method. While it is true many of the influencers prefer financial compensation (according to GroupHigh, 69.7% of influencers in the US prefer this), it is not the only method to forge an agreement with social media influencers. There are many different compensation methods to make influencer marketing effective for your business. Before we discuss that, let’s understand what factors we need to consider when looking to hire social media influencers and what influencers think about compensation.
Majority of the influencers want to work for money but that is not the only consideration when deciding to partner with a brand in the long run. Influencers want to work with brands that offer them a certain amount of creative freedom (77% of influencers) and respects them as publishers & creators. Choosing a compensation model for influencer marketing requires creating a win-win situation for both parties. The model may vary and it is understood that the same model doesn’t work everywhere. This stems from the fact that each campaign is unique in terms of what is needed by the brand.
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I know this post is about non-monetary compensation methods but it is important to note that financial compensation has more than one strategy you can use when looking to hire social media influencers. Let’s quickly go through them:
- Pay per post: Brands pay influencers a flat fee for a single post or a series of posts. This is an extremely popular method.
- Pay per campaign: Another popular method, most agencies pay a flat fee to influencers for a campaign. The scope of work and deliverables of the said campaign are decided.
- Pay per click: In this model, influencers are paid every time a user/follower clicks on a link specified by the brand.
This is where things get interesting. Many influencers are happy working for barter and as a system, it has its advantages. Influencers are willing to work with brands if it means boosting their status as influencers/opinion leaders, improve the quality of their content and build their image.
This method brings the benefits of influencer marketing to business who might be operating on a shoestring budget to hire social media influencers. There are many ways to hire social media influencers without using the money, some of them are more creative than others. Let’s look at a few of them:
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Invitation to events
When a business hosts an event, they can invite social media influencers to attend. This demonstrates that the company values and respects the influencer as a part of their team. Even if the event is hosted by some other company, you can arrange free tickets for your influencers to be given as compensation.
Asking influencers to attend these events and provide coverage is an excellent move towards nurturing a relationship with them and getting some much-needed brand awareness and often results in a definite increase in social media interactions and followers.
Example: De GRISOGONO, a Swiss luxury jeweler, invited influencers to the Cannes Film Festival to establish and nurture relationships. They offered the influencers valuable opportunities during the event, such as VIP access, lunch invitations, as well as interviews and other content production options. This campaign helped the jeweler generate more than 500,000 social media interactions and gain 35,000 new followers.
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Free products, attractive deals and exclusive access
It is a good idea to make the influencers feel special by offering them free products or samples. If a business is launching a new product, they can offer it to the influencer first to experience it exclusively. Giving the influencers attractive offers not available to the public on your products and services can make them want to work with a brand more and more. This goes a long way in establishing a long-term relationship making influencer marketing more cost effective.
The key thing in this strategy is to figure out the key offering and its exclusive nature. It could be an all-expenses trip or a free stay in a hotel (in the hospitality industry, Airbnb does this well) or a tour of the brand’s factory.
Example: To promote the new Chanel No.5 L’Eau, Chanel invited several top influencers in the fashion and lifestyle categories to visit their flower fields and perfume production facilities located in Grasse, France. The campaign resulted in more than 900,000 social media likes during the first month alone.
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Contests and giveaways
Contests are great engagement tools as seen numerous times in the past. When planned in combination with influencer marketing, they can be the best strategy to promote the brand and the influencer both. A brand-driven contest means the contest ideas should revolve around the brand which will make it fun to explore. You can hire social media influencers in the industry- to take part in the contest and share their experience. Also, the influencers may invite their audience to do the same.
By using these methods, influencers will become a true advocate for the brand and their association will grow to be more authentic. When looking to hire social media influencers, all of these strategies have been proven to raise social media interactions and following for both brands and influencers alike.
There are a lot of things to consider in order to execute an effective influencer marketing campaign. Partnering with an influencer marketing agency can help brands hire social media influencers and deliver the ROI and success that influencer marketing has the potential to offer.