Ahhh, the rise of social media, those MySpace days are nothing more than a distant memory. Today, our lives heavily involve social media, daily blasts of constant updates from friends, family and people we have to have but can’t delete. How different the modern-day school reunions would be. Though there is a lot more to benefit from that the constant updates from friends, family and your fave meme sites, and that’s revenue.

We’ve seen how communication and branding, in particular, has evolved to fit within our current digital landscape. There’s transparency, stories, efforts to do better in the eyes of the consumer. We’ve seen the popularity of influencer marketing go through the roof, and big brands are latching on to it. I mean why wouldn’t they, we have everyday people, who connect with other everyday people on a personal level, promoting brands that they love, by choice, to their organically made audiences. Just think, how many times you have asked your Facebook friends for recommendations on places to go or products to buy? And you bet that you’ll be more likely to take their personal recommendations because you trust them, the same applies to influencers.

Did you know, Medium reported that  “70% of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of their peers in buying decisions?” And on the same note, the same survey revealed that “30% consumers are more likely to buy a product recommended by a non-celebrity blogger. Consumers can relate more to these influencers and value their opinions more than that of celebrity influencers”. That’s pretty impressive huh?

So the questions are:

  • What is influencer marketing all about?
  • How do you engage with an influencer for marketing purposes? and;
  • How do you know who to contact?

I’ve reeled in Charli Hoffmann; Art Director, Media Champion and Instagram influencer with over 43k followers to answer some questions.

Meet CharliMeet Charli

So, Charli can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became an Influencer?

My name is Charli, I am 30 years old and over the last 6 years, I have made Australia my home. In an outdoorsy country like Australia, I found it very easy to keep active with different sports and I started using social media as a channel to share my passion.

As I work in the creative industry I have always tried to make my posts different to what is already out there and I think brands started to notice and therefore offered to work with me. Also in a very male-dominated sport like triathlon brands found it refreshing to start including girls in their briefs.

What type of brands are you working with and how do they go about getting in touch with you?

Through my interest in triathlon racing, I started working together with some of the big sporting brands like Garmin, Mizuno, Cervelo, etc. to create engaging content that showed off their newest products to a relevant audience. Most of the brands contact me directly via a direct message on Instagram or email from their Marketing/Social team.

I also work with platforms like Tribe and Social Soup who occasionally provide me with briefs that they think are relevant to my audience.

From a media perspective, how do you think influencer marketing assists in the purchasing process?

We utilise influencers as an extension of our campaigns to give the products a more relatable/realistic feel for the audience.
For example, get an influencer to show their audience where to drink the beer, or get the influencer to show how their kids play with a certain toy.
Always making sure it is real, engaging and relatable to the audience. A lot of the brands we work with host various events throughout the year and they utilise influencers besides PR to broaden the reach of the event so more people hear about it.

Obviously, when working with an influencer, brands need to have the right fit for their company, from your perspective, how do brands know who they should align with?

Before looking at influencer followings and engagement we always make sure to spend a bit of time researching the influencers previous posts,
for example:

  • Have they worked with similar brands that could make it clash with ours?
  • Has the influencer posted a lot of sponsored content?
  • How unique is the influencers content creation?
  • Make sure you double check their real age, where they live, etc.
  • Double check their followers are real and from the country, you want to promote in (eg. look at their engagement/like/follower ratio)

Have you ever come across any negatives being an influencer?

I have noticed that a lot of people are starting to think that everything I do is paid for now, as the audience is struggling to see what is fake/paid for and what is not.

If questioned about it though, I am normally quite honest and will state which posts are paid for. #ad 🙂
I don’t feel comfortable to share a lot of my personal life on social media as there are still dangers by sharing too much about where you work, live, etc.

As my Instagram is public to anyone in the world I get contacted by a lot of people that I either need to block or report.
A lot of people underestimate how much effort goes into maintaining an influencer account.

What tips can you give brands wanting to engage in an influencer?

I would advise to work directly with the influencers and make sure you brief them properly, for eg. for a beer brand take them to a brewery to see how its made, besides extra content it also helps the influencer learn and know more about the brand.

Make the briefs and the working together process as much fun as possible so the influencer has nothing negative to say about you.
If successful try to do multiple campaigns with the same influencers as it shows their audience that it wasn’t just a one-off post.
If you can’t pay for a brief offer influencers product or unique event invites as an incentive.

I personally want to thank Charli for that stack of awesome info. It not only provides you with a bit of insight, but I’m hoping a stack of new ideas too. Influencer marketing is definitely more skewed to a product based business, but as she said, run an event! If you are a service-based business, why not try building an event that showcases your service and build some exposure? After all, it’s all about who you know 😉

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