Solid Water Marketing Agency Blog

You're Wasting Your Time with Influencer Campaigns: Tips to Avoid a Budget Trap

Influencer marketing is often understood as paid promotion of a brand or product by the social media digital creators. However, we believe that it is more helpful to think about influencer marketing as a marketing tool which seeks to leverage the influence of industry opinion leaders for the purposes of promoting a brand, a product or a service.
This definition allows expanding the list of influencers to include:

  • 🇦 Your peers and friends.
  • 🇧 Journalists or editors of high profile or trade media.
  • 🇨 Industry experts with a strong reputation.

So before you rush to contract a specialised influencer marketing agency here are a few thoughts to consider:
📢 Tap into your background

Think about your own experience of purchasing/downloading a similar product/app. So if you are a fintech startup, think who influenced your decision to download your Revolut or Chip app? In our case, it was a recommendation from the banker husband (he must know a thing or two about finance after all!) and the Times Money Mentor newsletter respectively. Note: Add to your list of influencers your friends who work in banking and a personal finance editor at the Times.
📢 Choose influencers with real impact

If you are a mid-market fashion brand with ethos, you must be thinking of paying dozens of 'fashion influencers' (aka fashion digital creators on Instagram) to post a Story where they wear your garments. But before you do that, think about those influencers who have not only thousands of followers but social capital. Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey, a fashion consultant, has 30k followers on Instagram but everything she wears or recommends, immediately sells out. Why? She was the personal stylist of the Princess of Wales. Jessica Diner is a Beauty Editor at British Vogue but she is also a real influencer. When it comes to fashion, although her feed is not as polished and well-curated as that of some fashion digital creators, every brand that features in her feed, whether it's a baby accessory or a DÔEN dress, sells out instantly.

Skims' took the best out of Kim's close acquaintance with mega-influencers. From Lana del Rey to Kim Cattrall — they had brand awareness covered from the get-go. Image source: Skims

📢 Focus on what works for you

Influencer marketing campaigns can be extremely expensive but they can also be FREE. Depends on how you approach things. Our hospitality client was keen on hiring an influencer marketing agency to use 'travel influencers' for the promotion of the property in high season. Instead, we recommended investing (timesfold) less money in organic social to create a beautiful brand window which organically attracted local and international travel bloggers and allowed us to build in-kind partnerships with them instead of paying thousands for a digital creator site visit and stay.
Daria Partas, Strategic Communications Advisor, Co-founder of Solid Water Marketing Agency:
For every client, an influencer list needs to be pulled together in a deductive reasoning exercise. That is not to say that there is no place for influencer marketing agencies which contract digital creators for what is essentially a modern form of media buying. In any eventuality, a robust flexible and tailored approach is needed to understand:
  • Whether influencer-led growth is needed at this point of your business development.
  • What KPIs you are working towards with the help of this tool.
  • Can you afford it or can you look at an alternative toolbox to achieve the same results.
📢 Keep your budget in mind

Influencer marketing can be the first and equally the last thing you do to launch. We were recently helping a niche perfume brand with the go-to-market strategy. The owner was very wary of paid social campaigns as they can be a budget black hole for small brands with out-of-pocket investment. Our proposed solution was to create a bespoke influencer list of beauty editors and micro influencers who we could send the sample products asking to review them before their readers and followers. It is a risky strategy but it could be very rewarding.
Maria Tsarkova, Growth Marketer and co-founder of Solid Water Marketing Agency:
I love authentic-looking content that creators can provide for a brand. However, spending thousands of $ on one story or TikTok does not seem sensible for a smaller business. Here is a growth hack for you.
Several UGC platforms are emerging now:

You can find smaller influencers and UGC creators for very reasonable money. Diversify and test your value proposition with several creators to see how it lands with their audience and which creative approach is more suited. You may also take these videos and run them as your paid ad creatives. In my experience, these generate one of the highest conversion rates.
Before you start an influencer campaign, take the checklist to ensure your business is ready for influencer traffic (be sure to take a screenshot):

🦁 Which Animal Are You in the World of Marketing? All-mighty lion or a stinky skunk? Find out with our test!

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