A new year brings a new set of challenges for marketers to overcome. With economic uncertainty making the headlines, tighter marketing budgets are sure to follow. This means that you need to make every dollar count! You can start by choosing strategies such as influencer marketing that offer the highest ROI. Whether you’re new to influencer marketing this year, or have been running campaigns for a while, you need to adapt your strategy to get the most of your campaigns in 2023. In this article we’ll share our top influencer marketing tips designed to help you run successful campaigns in the context of high inflation and tightening budgets. You’ll learn the best types of creators and content to prioritize to boost conversions and return on investment.
Tip #1 Work with micro and nano influencers
Micro and nano influencers offer huge value to brands, especially during an economic downturn. These influencers have cultivated a tight-knit audience of 1,000 – 20,000 followers who regularly engage with their content. Having a smaller audience, united around a shared interest (e.g. vegan beauty, budget-friendly cooking or sustainable fashion) makes it easier for micro influencers to nurture their connection with their audience and drive engagement.
For many people, following a micro or nano influencer feels like interacting with a friend, which explains why micro influencers have the highest engagement rates. Choosing to work with influencers who have higher engagement rates is a great choice for your brand. High audience engagement leads to more conversions and therefore a higher ROI overall.
What’s more, micro and nano influencers are the most relatable creators. In times of economic uncertainty, social media users don’t want to see high-paid celebrity influencers promoting luxury cars or jewelry that are miles out of their price range. The best way to connect with your audience is to collaborate with creators who are just like them – i.e. micro and nano influencers. In fact, 92% of people trust recommendations from their peers above other forms of advertising. In other words, shoppers are more likely to find nano and micro influencers more relatable and trustworthy than other types of influencers. After all, nano and micro influencers aren’t usually full-time influencers with a highly glamorous lifestyle. Most of them have other jobs just like their followers. This means they can authentically connect with their followers and offer trusted recommendations about your brand.
Ready to collaborate with micro influencers? Check out this blog on how to find and activate micro influencers for your brand.
Tip #2 Work with UGC creators
Brands are recognizing that small creators provide a lot of value beyond their following size. For some brands it makes sense to choose creators based on the quality of their content rather than their audience reach. This has led to a new influencer niche, the user-generated content creator (or UGC creator). While they may not boast the high follower numbers of mega influencers, these creators are experts at interpreting a brief and making your products come alive in their content. Prioritizing UGC is a top strategy that can help you to sell more while saving money on creative.
Collaborating with UGC creators gives you access to high-quality content that you can repurpose for your owned channels including paid ads, your website and social channels. This can often be cheaper than working with photographers, models and designers. UGC content is based on the creator’s real-life experience using your product so you can be confident that their posts will be authentic and accurately represent your brand.
Learn more about the difference between influencers and content creators – and how to make the most of both in Upfluence’s joint discussion with TINT: Generated Content: Influencers vs. Content Creators.
Tip #3 Lean into authenticity as a driver of conversions
Building on what we’ve said about micro influencers, people want to interact with influencers who feel like friends and not celebrities. This means that content needs to be casual and unpolished to feel the most authentic. Brands should lean into this as a way to connect with and convert their customers.
In short, corporate, staged content is out. Authentic, casual content is in.
But what does this mean in practice?
One way that brands can leverage authentic content is by giving influencers greater freedom within their campaign brief. Trying to control every aspect of your influencer’s content can have an adverse effect on your campaign. Content that feels too much like an ad will hurt engagement. Of course, you should provide guidelines and any dos and don’ts, but don’t overstep the mark. You chose your influencers because of their creative flair and personal style, so let them create freely! They are in the best position to know how to communicate authentically with their audience.
Another way to build on authenticity is to nurture long-term partnerships with your creators. Gone are the days of one-shot influencer campaigns. The most effective campaigns last for several months or years. This helps to build trust and credibility for your brand as the influencer is seen as a genuine fan of your products. Long-term partnerships means your influencers become experts about your products and turn into effective salespeople for your brand! Plus, you get to save time and resources on influencer recruitment by working with the same top-performing influencers for a longer period of time.
Tip #4 Capitalize on flexible rates
While economic uncertainty has led to tighter marketing budgets, the silver lining is that influencers may have more availability to work and can be more flexible with their rates. Working as a full-time influencer can be precarious. With many brands facing budget squeezes, influencers may see some collaborations come to an end and will therefore have availability to take on additional collaborations. Instead of charging high fees to work with one or two brands, they could be looking to diversify their income and take on several brand collaborations. This portfolio model allows influencers to be more flexible with the rate they’ll charge brands.
As with any campaign, brands will need to offer the right incentive to drive results and nurture strong partnerships while staying within their budget. It’s important to find the balance between offering fair compensation and maximizing ROI. But with influencers looking for more work, this could be a great occasion to start working with new influencers. For more insight on this topic, check out this article on how much to pay influencers?
Tip #5 Budget for exclusivity and usage rights
What is exclusivity?
- An exclusivity clause means the influencer can not work with any similar brands over a certain period of time.
- Exclusivity periods vary depending on the collaboration time frame but it can be weeks, months or even years.
- Influencers charge extra for exclusivity because it limits other potential partnerships they can take on.
What are usage rights?
- Usage rights mean the brand has the right to reuse the influencer’s content. Usually the influencer will decide a specific timeline when the content can be reused.
- Content can be reused on the brands social channels, website, as paid ads, etc.
- Influencers charge extra for usage rights since the brand profits off reusing their content.
When negotiating with influencers, be sure to take into account exclusivity and usage rights. These two elements of your contract can lead to additional costs, so they shouldn’t be ignored. If you want to get the most from your influencer’s content by reusing it in paid campaigns, then it’s important to discuss usage rights. Beating the competition is increasingly important for brands, which means that many will pay an influencer to work exclusively for them, and refuse to work with any of their competitors for a set time period. Including these elements can help you drive the best results from your campaign, but it will often cost a premium.
Tip #6 Prioritize conversions with influencer content
Influencer marketing can take many forms. Yet, this year marketers will be focusing on sales-generating influencer programs such as affiliate marketing. When budgets are tight it’s all about the bottom line. This means that the lion’s share of influencer spending will be on campaigns that focus on conversions, and brand awareness activations such as events will see less investment.
If your goal is to drive brand growth, then you should be looking to maximize conversions with influencer content. Depending on which social media network you’re using, you have different options to convert. The best way to convert is to provide a URL to your eCommerce store so that users can easily make a purchase from your store without a lot of friction. Here are some options for including links in influencer posts:
- Include a link to your website or store in the video description
- Include links as a link sticker in a Story. It’s no longer limited to creators with more than 10k followers, anyone can include a link in their Story.
- You can also include a link to your website/store in a Linktree (a link included within an Instagram bio).
- There’s no direct way to post a link with TikTok videos. The best way is to include a link in a Linktree in a TikTok profile.
With these 6 influencer marketing tips you’re now fully equipped to get the most from your influencer campaigns in 2023! Remember to spend your budget wisely by investing in the creator partnerships that will drive long-term growth for your brand.