Not sure whether to work with influencers on a gifting, or paid basis? In this blog post we highlight the positive and negative aspects of to help inform your decisions.
Working with Influencers
Influencer marketing is becoming an essential part of marketing strategies, maximising the effect of a brand’s social media presence. Brands are working with influencers in many capacities on social media, but in this post we will look into the pros and cons of organic influencer gifting and paid collaborations.
Gifting influencers your product or service is essentially giving it to them for free, in the hope they will feature your product or service on their social media channels in return. You may find that micro-influencers are more likely to agree to gifting opportunities whilst they’re building their platforms. Whereas macro-influencers receive a very high volume of items from a broad spectrum of brands so there’s a great deal of competition which could reduce the chance of your brand being selected. They may also charge a fee in return for the publicity.
One benefit of gifting is that it is essentially free marketing, other than the product cost and shipping fees, sending influencer free gifts in exchange for coverage is a cost-effective way to spread brand awareness. One downside is that there is no guarantee influencers will post any coverage of your products. Any coverage they choose to post, is completely at their discretion and you have no creative control or direction over what they say about your brand. The flip side of this is that any reviews or comments that they do make, are more likely to be perceived as genuine and authentic.
The low-cost nature of gifting, enables you to work with a high volume of influencers - as opposed to relying on one influencer, with one audience, you can reach out to a selection each with their own community to tap into.
This also gives you a great opportunity to test audiences and see how they respond to mentions of your brand. If they show interest, then you know to retarget them in the future, rather than wasting time and money targeting audiences that don’t seem to engage.
Paid collaborations with influencers are more of a commitment for brands as it involves investing more than just product and posting costs, but money into the influencer. However there are a multitude of benefits to working with influencers in this way. By having a contractual agreement with the influencer you are working with, it allows you to have more creative direction and control over the content that is produced. The coverage is guaranteed, and you can choose specific information that you want to be included in the content.
Influencers might be more selective with who they work with for paid collaborations because they often don’t like to take any opportunity that comes to them as they want to remain genuine and authentic to their followers. This means they are less likely to accept a paid collaboration unless they genuinely like the product and the brand.
Paid collaborations are good if there is a specific influencer and audience you have in mind, who has bigger reach. Additionally, after the collaboration you can ask them to share content analytics and can allow you to track exactly how well the collaboration has performed.
Our recommendation would be a combined strategy of both gifting and paid influencer work. The start of your campaign or activation could involve gifting outreach with micro-influencers, putting out feelers to see who’s interested in your products or service, and begin to build relationships with them. Track coverage and performance to see where your content is well received, and make note of which influencers are genuine and positive to work with. After a gifting launch we would then recommend the introduction of some paid collaborations to your strategy to help target more specific audiences with clear and structured content that can be more effectively measured and curated. Working with influencers who have previously been gifted will be good for building relationships and retargeting audiences, or work with more macro-influencers which can increase content engagement and audience reach.
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