30 Frequently Asked Questions About Influencer Marketing

The Basics

1. What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing uses individuals with a sizable audience to promote your brand’s message through authentic and compelling content. The individuals have influence over potential buyers and work with brands to create content that markets a product, or service, without being disruptive.

2. Are celebrity endorsements the same as influencer marketing?

Not quite. Influencers usually have a smaller audience than celebrities, targeting a niche with content that appeals to people with common interests. That said, celebrities are influential, and are often used in conjunction with influencers in campaigns.

3. Who is using influencer marketing as part of their strategy?

Influencer marketing covers a wide range of industries and categories that are growing every day. Acorn has custom designed, and managed campaigns across a diverse range of categories and industries including CPG Food, Beauty, Pet Care, Feminine Care, Apps, Retail, Events, Health & Wellness, Charities, and much more.

4. How much does an influencer campaign cost?

Each campaign is custom made to suit every client’s needs so it’s difficult to provide a standard pricing sheet. Cost varies across agencies, and will fluctuate based on a number of factors including number of influencers, labor costs, influencer compensation, and extra digital spend to promote the campaign.

At Acorn we’re beginning to offer a premium service that allows businesses deeper demographic insight into the customers interacting with influencer content.

Ask for standard pricing that matches your budget, and then add premiums as needed.

5. Is influencer marketing an affordable option for small brands?

Influencer marketing is a cost-effective solution that brings greater returns than other digital marketing strategies. It’s been proven to outperform banner ads, for example, and is becoming the preferred method for marketing new product launches.

Agencies like Acorn Influence offer custom campaigns, which gives smaller brands room to make an investment without the high-level risk normally associated with marketing campaigns. That said, there is a minimum threshold that needs to be met to cover the overhead cost of running a campaign.

The Approach

6. How do I get started on our first influencer campaign?

When a business decides to engage in influencer marketing they are confronted with two choices: do it in-house or hire a third-party agency to handle the details for them. There are pros and cons for both options, but most brands are choosing to go with an agency because it’s more cost-effective, and is time-efficient.

7. How much involvement do brands get in an agency-run influencer campaign?

While some brands like to be hands on, others prefer to have the agency take care of everything, and neither is a wrong choice. However, all businesses should be as transparent as possible, so that the campaign runs exactly as they expect.

Be detailed in your high level goals, who your customer is, and how you have run campaigns in the past. All of this information will be helpful for the agency who puts together a plan.

8. What are the steps to launching a successful influencer campaign?

Our process guarantees genuine results that our clients can proudly present to their bosses. We customize each campaign so that our clients can be part of the process every step of the way. In short, Acorn selects the right influencers, who are the right fit for your brand, to create the right content, at the right time, in the right place. For a more detailed answer, read our most recent blog post.

9. Can an influencer campaign be integrated as part of a larger campaign?

Yes! Many of our clients like to run their influencer campaign concurrently with other activations. We also have a partnership with a digital media company that combines influencer marketing efforts with in-store, and digital programs. Contact us to learn more.

The Influencers

10. Is there a minimum number of followers a person needs to be considered an influencer?

There’s many factors that are considered before we recruit a person to our influencer network, and one of those is audience size. While there isn’t a set minimum, you do need to have a large enough audience to make a visible impact with your content. Impact is measured primarily in impressions, and engagements. The larger, and more engaged your follower base is, the more likely we will hire you as an influencer.

11. What is a micro-influencer?

Maximum impact for an Instagram influencer is an audience size within the 10,000 to 100,000 range. (Digiday) This is who we define as micro-influencers. The term micro-influencers came about to distinguish those who drive high content engagement but do not count millions of people within their audience.

12. How do I recruit influencers for my campaign?

There are a variety of ways influencers can be recruited, from personally inviting them via email, or going through an agency’s influencer network. We have spent years refining the Acorn influencer recruitment process, and we believe it’s one of the reasons why our campaigns drive high-impact results.

We invite a select group of influencers from our network to participate in a campaign based on a variety of factors – the biggest of which is deciding whether they are the meet the requirements set by Acorn, and the brand.

You can read more about our unique influencer recruitment process in our recent blog post.

13. Why do influencers join influencer networks?

Being an influencer is tough business. They work hard to create their content, and manage their brand. They built their following over time by earning the respect of their audience in their area of expertise. While they want to monetize their brand, it’s important for influencers to be paid what they deserve, and have the time to do what they do best.

By joining an influencer network, influencers can rely on an agency to manage the logistics of the campaign, and feel confident in quality of the work they are being pitched. Just as brands want to vet an agency, so too do influencers want to vet a brand. An influencer network offers stability, and security.

14. How do the influencers know what content to create?

We take the time to understand our client’s needs, and goals, right down to what “type” of content they’d like to have published by the influencers. The client services team ensures they have the details they need to provide to influencers before kickoff, so that all parties involved are aligned on campaign targets.

However, creative license always remains with the influencer, and it’s rare for influencers to be given explicit instructions on what the content should look like, or be. The influencers built their brand, and know what kind of content will resonate best with their audience. They’re the experts, so we let them do their job, and only provide direction when needed.

15. How can the content be authentic if influencers are being paid to create it?

Influencers don’t just promote a product. They come up with useful ideas on how to use the product. Followers engage with this useful content, share it with their friends, pin it on Pinterest and come back to it later when they want to try the idea for themselves. Most influencers won’t publish content that doesn’t resonate with their audience, or fit their own brand, and no agency worth working with would hire influencers who aren’t a good fit for a brand’s campaign.

16. Do influencers publish the content on every social media network?

Not every campaign has content published on every social media network. The big ones (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and Instagram) make up the majority of all influencer content published on social media. However, some campaigns simply resonate better on certain channels. Most influencers who are required to publish a blog post, will share this across their social channels, but it’s also possible to run campaigns limited only to social media.

17. How much are influencers paid?

This might be the most frequently asked influencer marketing question, but unfortunately there is no straightforward answer. Influencer marketing agencies pay different rates, which are based on many factors, and vary between individuals and campaigns. Sometimes influencers have their own base price, which they wish to be paid, and others are happy to negotiate based on the ask for each campaign.

18. Can I compensate influencers with gifts cards or products?

Very few influencer marketing agencies will compensate with products. Bloggers, and social media marketers run personal businesses, and their work needs to be appropriately compensated. Compensation for influencers should always be included within a campaign contract. Free products are usually sent to the bloggers so they can take photos, capture video, and review the products appropriately.

The Audience

19. What does an influencer’s audience think about their sponsored content?

People accept sponsored content because there is a level of trust between the influencer and the consumer. Unlike ads, which are paid for by big (and often impersonal) companies, sponsored influencer content is published by someone who is relatable – a real person.

An influencer grows an audience because they’ve given something valuable back to the people viewing their content. Whether it be inspiration for their own lives, a recipe, or mere entertainment, the audience is getting something each time they interact with an influencer.

20. Which demographics are influencer marketing campaigns reaching?

Influencer campaigns can reach any demographic that influencers in our network are currently reaching. (All of them.) The most prevalent are Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z, because they are the most common users of social media networks.

The Law

21. What should I know about the FTC regulated disclosure laws?

When the FTC first introduced regulations for influencers, each publication written about a product or company had to feature the hashtags #spon or #ad. The FTC now states influencers can create their own disclosure statement, as long as it clarifies the relationship between the influencer and the brand.

Marketers should educate themselves on the latest FTC laws before engaging in a campaign. We interviewed a lawyer who specializes in FTC regulations for influencers, and brands. You can read her Q&A here.

Find out how your agency will abide by the FTC regulations before you sign the contract, and make sure you’re continually educating yourself of the latest requirements. Here is an update directly from the FTC in April 2017:

FTC Staff Reminds Influencers and Brands to Clearly Disclose Relationship

22. Can an influencer or brand get sued if they don’t comply with FTC regulations?

Yes, brands have already been sued, and you can easily find some of the more famous cases with a quick Google search. The FTC has also recently started sending warning letters to some influencers who have not followed FTC disclosure laws. It’s possible influencers will also face legal action if they don’t abide by the rules. Again, keep up to date and don’t assume anything.

23. Why does the FTC regulate influencer marketing?

As consumers we never want to feel cheated, or lied to in any way, which is why it’s vitally important for people to know when something is a genuine endorsement, or an advertisement. In the case of influencers the lines can be blurred a little bit when a blogger genuinely loves a brand but is also being paid to create content for them. The FTC errs on the side of caution when it comes to paid endorsements. Even if the blogger genuinely likes and purchases that brand’s products they must legally disclose their role in a campaign.

24. Who owns the content – the influencer or the brand?

Influencers retain the rights to their content, however brands can stipulate in their contracts with influencers to have exclusive rights to use the content for a certain period of time (or indefinitely.) If the contract says nothing about ownership or intellectual property rights, then the influencer has the copyright on that content and all rights associated with the copyright.

The Results

25. How are the results of an influencer marketing campaign measured?

Acorn measures the success of a campaign based on the goals our clients outline before kickoff, and using metrics including impressions, engagements, total media value, total pieces of content, and (when we are working with digital agencies) sales lift.

26. Are impressions better than engagements?

Holistically speaking neither one is better than the other because you need to have an impression before you get an engagement. That being said, you don’t want to get thousands of impressions without a single engagement.

To measure the effectiveness of a campaign, you should have a specific goal in mind, and make this goal known to the agency or team helping you create an social media campaign.

27. Which social media networks drive the most ROI?

Acorn analyzed the value of social networks based on performance in campaigns, and other factors, through 2016. These rankings are subject to change based on a variety of factors including:

  • Updates from the networks
  • Unique campaign goals
  • How influencers use them in campaigns
Currently blog posts are the most valuable, followed by Instagram, and YouTube. (You can see the full ranking here.)

A blog post is worth more than an Instagram photo, because it contains the most information, incorporates several mediums (photos, links, text), and requires the highest level of interest to consume.

An influencer spends the most time producing a blog post, and a reader likewise, must spend more time engaging with it. The longer an audience engages with a piece of content, the higher the potential for conversion.

28. How does influencer marketing improve our SEO?

Influencers do something that so many brands get wrong – they build a genuine relationship with their audience. Rather than concentrating on growing their sales, influencers think as individuals and create inspiring content that speaks to other people in their everyday lives. Their influencer-follower relationship is built on genuine engagement, and trust.

Google understands that people are looking for content that provides them with the right solution. Google rewards their relevant content with high site authority, which gives them a better chance at ranking first in a keyword search.

Read our blog post on the topic to find out some of the other ways brands are getting an SEO boost from influencer marketing.

29. Are there other metrics to measure the performance of our influencer marketing campaign?

Influencer marketing success is not limited to financial returns. There are in fact several ways that brands can benefit from running a campaign with influencers: Increased brand awareness, Expanded Reach, SEO boost, Evergreen content, Budget surplus, and new ambassadors (just to name a few!). See our infographic on this topic to learn more.

The Future

30. What are some of the ways influencer marketing might improve over time?

Technological Advances
Technology evolves with our needs, and influencer marketing has become to prevalent in the past few years that technology is rushing to keep up. New tools for measuring consumer purchasing behavior in relation to influencer content will provide brands with added knowledge to pursue campaign ideas with greater confidence.

Cross-Channel Measurement
Influencers rarely publish content on one channel. It’s important that as influencer marketing continues to grow, alongside social networks, that brands are able to measure the return on their investment wherever the content goes.

Calculating influence on all social media channels to capture true influence will be a driving force in the next couple of years for agencies, and brand alike. Acorn already has a propriety algorithm that scores influencers based on a variety of factors, including their performance across several social channels.

Next Steps

Acorn Influence has had the pleasure of working with some of the biggest, and best, brands in the world. Our case studies page features examples of how influencer marketing is providing true ROI for agencies, and brands alike.