How can influencer marketing help your craft business?
Influencer marketing is the latest buzz term in PR and marketing – but what is it exactly and how could it help your craft business? Claire Gamble, managing director of Unhooked Communications, explains why working with influencers can have a big impact for your small creative business.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is when a business works with people who have a large and/or engaged online following, to help promote its products or services. ‘Influencers’ might be celebrities, but increasingly they are normal, everyday people who have made a name for themselves by posting about their interests and areas of expertise online.
There are different ways you can tackle influencer marketing:
- Send a free gift – Send something like a product sample to the influencer in the hope they post about it online.
- Set up an affiliate link – Affiliate links pay the blogger a commission for every sale you make that has come from a link on their website.
- Do a giveaway – Reach an agreement with the blogger where they promote a competition or giveaway for some of your products.
- Ask for a review – This could be in the form of a blog or article, a vlog, a social media post or in their podcast.
- Consider creative content – Often bloggers and influencers are talented writers, photographers, artists, stylists or videographers. By employing them – as you would a marketing or creative freelancer – you could develop some beautiful, unique content together.
But what’s the point in influencer marketing?
Research shows we’re 10 times more likely to buy a product from a ‘non-celebrity’ influencer than from a celebrity.
If approached strategically, carefully and creatively, influencer marketing can give you great exposure to potential customers, as well as boost your sales and enquiries. Research shows we’re 10 times more likely to buy a product from a ‘non-celebrity’ influencer than from a celebrity. The vast majority (92%) of consumers trust recommendations from other people – even if they don’t know them personally – compared to branded content.
How influencer marketing works – a case study
Within 24 hours I gained over 200 new followers on Instagram, 25 enquiries and 10 immediate orders – and there have been more coming in ever since.”
In some circumstances, by spending just a little bit of time and creativity you can get a great return on investment, as one artist and illustrator found out. Daisy Foster designs and creates personalised watercolours, prints and stationery and recently had a go at DIY influencer marketing when a popular parenting blogger, Mother Pukka, was due to appear at a local event.
“Mother Pukka – or Anna, as she’s usually known – was going to be talking at a pop-up shop which was hosted by an organisation I’m part of,” explains Daisy. “I was preparing stock and print samples to send to the event when I suddenly had an idea to send a personalised superhero print to Anna. I asked the event organiser if she’d pass it on after the sale, and after she agreed I braved it and illustrated the Pukka family.
“After the event finished, I waited a while before plucking up the courage to message Anna, asking if she liked the print and if she’d kindly post about it, explaining how much I’d value her support. She replied almost immediately and was really sweet about it. A few days later, she posted a picture of the print in her Instagram stories and the impact was immediate. Within 24 hours I had gained over 200 new followers on Instagram, 25 enquiries and 10 immediate orders – and there have been more coming in ever since.”
Daisy adds: “If I was to do something like this again, I’d consider sending some of my personalised notecards or the initial prints I design for children as they are lower value purchases and may result in even more sales. I was so grateful for Anna’s support and the impact it had on my small business – not only in sales and followers, but in the confidence it gave me to carry on doing what I’m doing. I’ll continue to try more influencer marketing in the future, as this was definitely a milestone in promoting my small brand.”
Isn’t influencer marketing really expensive?
Not necessarily. You may have heard some reports of certain ‘Instacelebs’ charging thousands of pounds to share a single post for a brand, but there are many more affordable – and effective – options to try.
If you send a free gift to a blogger or influencer, as Daisy Foster did, you might strike lucky and get some free exposure if they like the product and choose to share it on their blog or social media accounts. However, the challenge with this approach is that there’s no guarantee they’ll share anything – and if they do, you have no control over the messaging or content.
Micro-influencers have smaller followings and website visitors than the big stars but their followers are often very loyal and interact well with their content
Another option is to find suitable ‘micro-influencers’ to build relationships with. Micro-influencers have smaller followings and website visitors than the big stars like Zoella. Although they don’t have the huge numbers to brag about, their followers are often very loyal and interact well with their content – and working with them may only cost you a couple of hundred pounds, rather than thousands.
Where do you start with influencer marketing?
If you’ve decided you’d like to try influencer marketing yourself, there are a few things you need to consider:
1. Who are you going to target?
Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better when it comes to followers. Look for influencers or bloggers who have a similar style, tone and audience to your own. You could also look for influencers who are from or live near you, as they may be more inclined to work with local businesses. It’s important to research the influencer – who they are, where they’re based, what they blog about and what their interests are. You can search for bloggers and influencers online using relevant keywords, or look at blogger awards – such as the Northern Blog Awards – to see who has been shortlisted or won in different categories.
2. What do you want to achieve?
Do you want to launch a new product, get a bit more exposure, drive traffic to your website, sell more products, or all of the above? Work out what you want to achieve by working with the influencer or blogger, as this will help focus your pitch when you contact them. Also have a look on their blog and social media channels to see how they’ve worked with brands before. If they’ve been paid to collaborate with a business, social media posts will indicate this with #ad or #sponsored hashtags, or they might include #gift if they were given something for free.
3. How will you contact them?
Email is often the best way to contact bloggers and influencers in the first instance, and you’ll usually find their contact details on their website. You could also try sending them a message on social media. As with any business correspondence, you should be polite, professional and friendly when you contact them. Try to keep the first email to them to the point and tailor it so they know why you’re contacting them and why you think they’d be a great fit for your brand.
4. Be creative and collaborative
Don’t just send influencers general information about your business and products and expect them to publish it on their blog. Bloggers will have valuable insights into what sort of content their audience responds to and will be able to work with you to come up with some really creative and effective ideas – so use their talents, skills and knowledge.
5. Measure the success of the campaign
As with any marketing activity, you should measure and evaluate how successful your influencer marketing campaign has been. You can look at stats and information such as how much engagement the blogger’s content got (ie how many likes, shares, comments), whether you had an increase in website visitors, and if you achieved more enquiries and sales. This will inform you about what sort of activity works and what doesn’t, and help you refine the way you approach influencer marketing in the future.
Unhooked Communications is hosting a panel discussion in Manchester about influencer marketing on Monday 5th March. A panel of four leading bloggers and influencers will talk about their experiences of influencer marketing and offer advice and tips on how brands can build relationships with influencers and get the most out of collaborations.
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