Influencer marketing gets a bad wrap. While some people may think its benefits extend only to weight loss teas and whatever brand the Kardashian’s happen to be peddling, the truth is, influencer marketing has moved beyond fringe marketing fad and has infiltrated almost every industry. So prolific is modern-day influencer marketing, that your purchasing decisions are probably affected by it, even if you don’t realise. It’s called influence for a reason, after all.
But what about the music industry?
The music industry by its very nature is well-positioned to benefit from influencer marketing. The exciting nature of the industry and its event-based nature means there are already a large number of people generating a huge amount of content.
Read on as we take a deep dive into the world of influencer marketing, explaining first what is actually is and how it can be harnessed to assist with music industry marketing campaigns. We’ll then examine the often tricky process of actually finding and contacting influencers, and dish out some tips on cost and distinguishing good influencers from the not so good.
What is influencer marketing?
In order to understand the beast that is influencer marketing, you first need to get your head around influencers themselves.
So what is an influencer?
Well, in a nutshell, anybody can be an influencer. From media personalities to sportspeople, models and musicians, an influencer is anyone who has a captive audience that listens and acts when they speak. The good news for brands and businesses is, when these influencers open their mouths and recommend a product, service or brand, their audiences tend to move with their feet (and their wallets) and make a purchase.
Once businesses and influencers cottoned on to the potential of leveraging these engaged audiences to promote products, influencer marketing was born. What started as a niche practice that left many business owners and even marketers sceptical has grown into the cornerstone of many businesses’ marketing strategies.
These days, influencer marketing is an umbrella term for a wide range of different marketing techniques that harness the power and influencer of an individual to help promote a product or brand.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of influencer marketing.
Types of Influencer Marketing
Competitions and giveaways are a popular tool to increase brand awareness and increase a businesses’ social following or email database. Typically, a business or brand would provide items or services to an influencer or a number of influencers to promote and give away on their social platforms.
The key to making a competition campaign stand out is by getting creative with the entry requirements. Maybe all entrants need to engage with the original post by commenting and tagging friends or signing up to a brand’s mailing list on the website.
Say you are a record label launching the new album for an artist. By drilling down into the target audience for that artist, you could engage a group of influencers with audiences that matched your own.
Inject a bit of creativity into the competition by having each influencer reenact the album cover in line with their individual style, and ask their audiences to do the same and use a branded hashtag to enter the competition. Not only will you get the posts from your chosen influencers, but your competition will also result in a flood of user-generated content (UGC) that will drum up interest in the album and may even go viral!
2. Discount Codes
Discount codes are one of the cornerstones of influencer marketing and are commonly used by themselves or in conjunction with other activities in a broader influencer marketing campaign. Discount codes are most effective in campaigns that are aimed at directly driving product sales and are a great way for businesses to keep track of their return on investment (ROI).
In the music industry, one way of utilising discount codes could be by offering limited time pre-sale or first release tickets to an event when attendees use an influencers’ code. In order to get the most bang for your buck and really track the success of your campaign, generate unique discount codes for each influencer you are engaging to help you track what has worked and what hasn’t.
3. Ambassador Roles
Ambassador roles are typically a long-term arrangement and go beyond the one or two posts that have become typical of many influencer marketing campaigns. Depending on your campaign goals and the requirements of your business or brand, an ambassador could be a good option if you find an influencer who has proven to be a good fit with your target market.
If an influencer has proven to deliver results for your business, be that awareness, sales or whatever the goal of your campaign is, an ambassador role is a great solution to leverage their reputation and following even more.
This sort of arrangement is good for many reasons, not only the improved results that can come the more an influencer gets to know your brand. Think about it, while the first post promoting your business may well be good, the more your relationship with an influencer develops, the more they will get to know your products or brand and the better they will be able to promote it to their audience.
A longterm relationship with an influencer or multiple influencers is also good news for your customers. While working with new spokespeople can help you tap into new markets, the stability that comes from working with an influencer on a long term basis means a lower churn rate in your marketing strategy. This will allow your ambassador’s audience to get to know your brand better while ensuring you remain top of mind.
When most people think of influencer reviews their mind may wander to unboxing videos and other similar content. While it’s true that reviews are commonly used for new product launches and certain areas in the service and experience industry, reviews can be a great resource for those in the music biz as well.
Typically, an influencer-led review campaign would begin with a brand offering goods or services to an influencer in exchange for a review. The waters can become muddied when the brand gets specific with the content in the review or when a business instructs the influencer to only make positive comments.
While these sorts of practices are never encouraged, there are a few things you can do as a brand to encourage positive feedback without going as far as asking for it.
One of the best ways to facilitate a good review is by getting picky with your influencers. Say you are releasing a new album or promoting an upcoming tour. Rather than just looking for influencers with a similar following to your target market, actively search for people who have demonstrated an interest in the artist you are promoting.
The thing with reviews is their popularity is a blessing as well as a curse. As more and more brands and influencers are jumping on the review format as an effective tool to promote products and services, audiences are waking up to the practice and getting better at spotting fakes.
Engaging an influencer to give your brand a non-legitimate review is a big gamble and one that may blow up in your face. If you’re looking at going down this road, it pays to do your research and make sure you select influencers who are not only going to promote you to the right audience but really believe in and sell your brand.
One common mistake brands make when journeying into the world of influencer marketing is overcomplicating things. This doesn’t need to be tricky! A kick-ass influencer marketing campaign can be as simple as a well-selected influencer mentioning your venue on Instagram and thanking you for putting on a great show.
Having said that, there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure you are getting the most bang for your buck.
The first thing to keep in mind is that the world of social media moves fast. Considering an influencer may make several posts and even more stories on a single day, that shoutout from one influencer may not get your brand as much mileage as you would like.
Like any campaign, a strategy involving mentions should be well thought out and executed to have the biggest impact. Consider engaging a number of influencers with similar or overlapping audiences to ensure your message has the biggest reach and isn’t immediately forgotten by your target audience.
Another thing to keep in mind is the account and hashtag you want to promote. It may sound simple, but ensuring your influencers are provided with your correct social handles and hashtags can be the difference between your campaign making a splash or fizzling out before it’s even begun.
It’s a good idea to make mentions a part of a bigger campaign strategy and think up hashtags that align with that, so your influencer posts help tap into a bigger campaign.
6. Guest Blog/ Takeovers
Social media takeovers and guest blog posts have quickly become one of the strategies of choice for brands engaging in influencer marketing. This strategy is wide and can easily be tweaked to suit the needs of your business.
One easy way to explore this type of marketing and to assess whether an influencer is the right fit for your brand is to have them create some content for your platform. Depending on your audience and what you are trying to achieve, the influencer could write a blog, create a video or even take a photo to be shared on your social networks and site.
Taking this one step further, if you are convinced an influencer is the right fit for your brand, consider having them “take over” one or more of your social platforms for a short period of time.
Both of these strategies are proven techniques to tap into an influencer’s audience and help increase awareness of your product or brand. While guest blog posts have the advantage of having more longevity than a social media post, an influencer takeover promotes a sense of urgency and often results in a significant uptick of people visiting your platforms to view the influencer’s content.
One common worry with social media takeover’s is businesses that are hesitant to provide their account details to an influencer, particularly one they don’t know well. This is completely understandable and, depending on the type of takeover you have planned, and the level of creative control you want to give your influencer, you don’t even need to give them access to your accounts.
One way of dealing with this is having your chosen influencer capture the content in advance and send it through to a member of your team all at once or at regular intervals so they can post it on your social platforms from the influencer’s perspective.
This strategy is most effective when combined with other events in your business. Consider planning an influencer takeover to coincide with a new product launch, event or another moment you want to promote to really make the most of the extra exposure your influencer will bring.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
So now you know what influencer marketing is, how can it benefit your brand? By now you’re probably getting a sense of the wide and varied nature of influencer marketing, so it should come as no surprise that the benefits are just as diverse. Here are some of the common benefits of influencer marketing.
1. Brand Awareness
First and foremost, increased brand awareness is a result of many influencer marketing campaigns. Let’s look at a real-life example. Think about those weight loss teas you see celebrities and micro-influencers spruiking all over Instagram – would you have ever heard of them if they hadn’t landed right in your feed? Probably not.
While it’s true that your target customer isn’t necessarily in a purchase mindset when they are scrolling through their social media accounts, regularly seeing your product and mentions of your brand will help ensure you remain top of mind. When used as part of your marketing strategy, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to boost brand awareness among your target market.
This is one side effect of influencer marketing you may not have considered. While there’s no denying the fact that search engine optimisation (SEO) is a multi-faceted beast that takes some serious work to get right, your influencer marketing strategy can add a welcome boost to your search rankings.
In a nutshell, when you commission influencers to blog about your product or brand and link to your website in the copy, a link is created to your website, these are called backlinks. The quality of these backlinks depends on lots of different things, for example, the profile of the influencer and the amount of traffic their site receives, the legitimacy of their website and more techy factors like whether their site is secured with an SSL certificate.
While there are some exceptions, the more backlinks to your website from things like influencer blogs, the better.
3. Engagement (Online and Offline)
Engagement is a goal of most marketing campaigns, and influencer marketing is no different. The type of engagement your brand receives and the period of time all depends on the type of campaign you opt for.
Many businesses are satisfied with creating a buzz through online only engagement, with an increase in their social media followings and an uptick in conversation around the brand enough to convince them of a campaigns’ success.
For brands looking to drive sales or encourage other behaviours from their audience, influencer marketing can also be an effective tool to drive offline engagement. Using tactics like promo codes, advertising sales and even activations, influencer marketing has been proven to boost offline engagement as well as online.
The benefits above are all well and good, but if an influencer marketing campaign isn’t leading to increased sales, what’s the point? The good news is, when done correctly, influencer marketing can be a useful tool to boost sales in your business.
As we’ve mentioned previously, the ability of your business to turn all these social media mentions and extra brand awareness into cold hard cash comes down to your choice of influencer and the effectiveness of the message. If you choose to work with the very first influencer who crosses your path and put next to no thought into how you would like your message conveyed, don’t be surprised if your campaign is a flop.
If you want to make the most of your campaign and get a resulting boost to your bottom line, it pays to do your research. Really drill down into your prospective influencers until you find someone who meshes well with your target audience but also someone who is a good fit for your brand.
To give yourself the best chance of tracking the effectiveness of your influencer campaigns, make sure to use unique tracked links anywhere an influencer is driving traffic to your website, your business or otherwise driving customers to take an action. Not only will this help you track your ROI, but it will also help you ditch any influencers that aren’t bringing in the sales.
Where to find influencers
So now you know what influencers are and the benefits they can bring to your business, how do you go about finding them? We’re so glad you asked! The recent boom in the influencer industry has really raised the stock of professional influencers the world over. Not only does this bring a sense of legitimacy to the industry, but it has also made it easier for brands to find and connect with potential influencers.
Here are some of the most common ways of finding influencers that suit your brand.
1. Use an Influencer Marketing Platform
These days you can’t throw a selfie stick without coming across another platform startup claiming to simplify the process of finding influencers for brands. From Hootsuite to Buzzsumo to Followerwonk to Scrunch, these platforms all offer similar products helping brands connect with influencers.
The majority of these platforms include some sort of search functionality that will enable you to search based on factors like age, gender, location, size of following and if you’re looking for more professional influencers, industry.
An added bonus of some of these platforms is that they also facilitate the meeting and contract negotiation aspect of the job. While this can be seen as more impersonal and even cold, some businesses prefer to have this taken care of.
2. Go Old School
Before influencer marketing really took off, the most common way for brands to connect with potential influencers was the slide into their DM’s, or contact them via email if they have an account linked to their social media.
While this may sound a little personal, it’s still one of the best ways to ensure your message gets to the right person. Reaching out on social media also gives you a great opportunity to engage with an influencer’s profile and get to know them a little bit better. Trust us – both of these will massively help your chances of getting a response. (More on that later)
Essentially, any influencer worth their salt is likely to view their Instagram and other social profiles as business tools, so they are unlikely to mind this approach.
3. Let them Come to You
Now chances are, depending on the strength of your brand and your customer type, you may be overlooking the best type of influencer there is. This is the influencer who comes to you.
As a starting point, take a dive through your DM’s, examine your social media accounts and your email inbox. What you’re looking for are existing customers who have shown an obvious passion for your brand and a high level of satisfaction with your product. Maybe they left you a Google review or tagged you in a post raving about how much they love you. Either way, these are potentially some of your best influencers and you should be reaching out to them now!
First off, people who are already familiar with your brand are immediately more believable than someone who has never heard of it. By engaging an influencer who knows the in’s and out’s of your brand already, you are saving yourself a boatload of work and increasing the chances of getting a believable, effective campaign.
Secondly, choosing to use an influencer who is an existing customer rather than a professional is likely to save you some cash. Depending on the type and quantity of work you are looking for, as well as the size of your chosen influencer’s following, you may be able to get some exposure in exchange for free concert tickets, merch or any other swag you have related to your brand.
How should influencers be contacted?
Once you’ve decided on an influencer or set of influencers to use for your campaign, you need to actually get them on board. While it’s important not to overcomplicate this process, it’s important to be clear with your needs upfront when contacting your influencers of choice. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when reaching out to an influencer.
1. Get to Know Them
It may seem simple, but one of the things that can help your message to a potential influencer stand out from other businesses is the time you take to get to know them and their brand. Rather than shooting through a generic DM, take a couple of minutes to follow them, check out their stories and browse their recent posts.
Armed with this information, you will have a much better chance of connecting with your influencer of choice in your first interaction rather than risking your message getting lost in the digital oblivion.
2. Be Upfront
There’s no shortage of individuals and businesses reaching out to influencers asking to “collaborate” on upcoming projects. If you want to cut through the noise, make your first message as clear as possible. What is your business? What exactly do you need from the influencer? What are you willing to pay? By including this information, a potential influencer is far more likely to take your offer seriously than if you start with a generic “hi”.
3. Pay Attention
Many influencers, especially those with a higher profile, will indicate on their social media profiles how they wish to be contacted. Rather than just shooting them through a DM, take a minute to stop, read their profile and see if they specify where to direct collaboration requests.
How much do influencers charge?
There is no simple answer to this, as pricing for influencers depends on a range of different factors including the influencer themselves, the work you have commissioned and the amount of time needed to produce it. Having said that, some rough online guides suggest that for Instagram feed posts, an average influencer may charge from $1,000 per 100,000 followers.
Again, this price will vary wildly depending on the influencer, your relationship with them and the work involved. If you have a limited budget, it pays to shop around and find an influencer who suits your needs and your budget.
What makes a ‘good influencer’ vs a ‘bad influencer’
Talk of good vs bad influencers is all relative. Things that may lead one brand to assume an influencer as bad may be exactly what another is looking for. Here are some major things to keep in mind when selecting an influencer to work with so ensure you find one that suits your needs.
1. Good Fit
The biggest difference between a good influencer and a bad influencer is how well they suit your brand. If you are promoting a new death metal album and select a beauty influencer with a mostly pre-teen following, chances are your campaign isn’t going to get the traction you’re looking for.
In order to get the best results for your campaigns, it pays to take your time and be selective when choosing influencers to work with. In addition to researching the major things like the location, background and following of an influencer, it’s a good idea to look closely at their past posts as well as previous brands they have worked with. Not only will this give you a better understanding of what the influencer is capable of, and whether it’s a good fit for your brand, it will help you weed out those that may have worked with your competitors or other brands that don’t mesh with your own.
2. Clear Expectations
Perhaps the most important factor in determining a good influencer comes back to you and your business. When engaging with an influencer, it is your responsibility to set clear expectations and ensure your chosen influencers understand them. By doing this, your influencer marketing campaign is almost guaranteed to be a success.
We’ll mention it one more time for the people in the back – influencer marketing is nothing to fear. When launching your first campaign, bear in mind that it doesn’t need to be huge. The best way to discover whether it will be a good fit for your product or business is to give it a try.
Now that you know the potential an influencer marketing campaign can bring for your business, what are you waiting for? Armed with the info you need to find, vet and approach an influencer (or influencers), take a leap into this trending marketing technique and explore the possibilities.