It feels like just yesterday the cult classic Mean Girls aired our screens, where we laughed irrepressibly at how Regina George’s army pants and flip flop’s set record sales as leader of the influential “Plastics”. How one girl can change a dress code is now the norm.
We have all witnessed how powerful ‘influencers’ can be by now. This new age media category has mastered social media and boast a dedicated audience of loyal followers. Establishing relationships with influencers, small or large can help your brand create new market connections that may otherwise be tricky.

Walk like me, Talk like me

An Instagram feed so effortlessly in sync, so captivating to the eye like a piece of fine art in constant streamline. Dare to dream of sipping a black coffee and croissant in Paris as post fashion week revival? “It” girls and blogging icons are modern day influencers boasting large followings on various social platforms.
Influencers have become the new walking billboards, changing the way brands target the consumer market. As media frontrunners, they are their own authentic and established brand with a large span of control in publicising to their audience via blogs or social networks. What they do, we want to too. Ultimately tapping into their network can be the secret weapon brands may need in grasping hold of a new niche.

The start of something new

First things first, establishing contact with your influencer may be able to be done directly by sourcing their email. Depending on how eminent an influencer is, contact may have to be made via an agency. In either case, finding their details is usually an easy enough task.  In worst case scenario, you can always message them through the social platform you’ve discovered them on.
Before you go setting about any new relationships, it’s essential that your choice of influencers be well considered in line with your marketing strategy. For example: should you work with a personality that speaks to your current audience to strengthen your brand profile or do you want to enter new a target audience? Working with “mid-level” influencers such as bloggers, although may have a smaller audience, they can generate even more attention than larger social media superstars generally due to an authenticity in their brand that’s more likely to be viewed by their dedicated following.
As soon as you’re both ready to begin your partnership, it’s important that negotiation is clear and concise, including what you both hope to achieve between this partnership and the terms of involvement. Details important to considered could include:

  • How the influencer is planning to share your content (will they announce it’s a sponsored post? Will they link back to your website, etc)
  • When and what they’d hashtag
  • Will your content be shared alongside other products?

Although setting guidelines is important to ensure you’re covered in case of any nasty surprises (Scott Disick, anyone?), try not to be too governing over how your influencer posts. Paying too much concern may ultimately work against the brand. Remember, if anyone knows how to present to their social base well enough, it’s them.

Timing is Everything

When, where and how?! …Deciding the period in which collaboration may benefit you best can be daunting, especially for newer brands hoping to generate profile-raising activity. Think clearly about your brand’s strengths and consider when those may be best utilised for targeting audiences.
Eg: a clothing label may pick a major event such as Fashion Week to being working with a fashion influencer. This is more cost-effective as any exposure and media activity by the influencer may increase the overall revenue generated in sales at this time. If timing is poorly planned, working with expensive media personalities may cost you more in the long run.
Make your money and time worthwhile by keeping posts aligned with periods of high internet traffic and push any print media to best maximize exposure.  Remember: In a successful collaboration, communication is always key. Make sure no one is left in the dark to avoid any hidden surprises and honour a wholesome relationship between both parties.
Most importantly, striking a balance in staying true to your influencer’s organic style whilst maintaining your brand’s advertising goals is a winning combination!

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Image: Yan Yan Chan