Introduction to Influencer Marketing

by | February 10, 2022

In influencer marketing, a person who has a large following online is paid to post about a brand on social media to their followers. There are many different levels of influencers, and the amount of money it costs to hire an influencer is dependent on their follower count and reach.

The idea behind influencer marketing is similar to word-of-mouth. We know that people trust their friends and families more than any other source when it comes to making buying decisions. For many, celebrities and online personalities are like trusted friends. Social media allows people to connect with their followers in a more “real” way.

Benefits of Hiring a Social Media Influencer

The influencer marketing industry is set to reach over $13.8 billion this year, and there’s a reason why: influencer marketing works. According to research, 49% of consumers rely on influencer recommendations. This goes to show the tremendous impact influencers can have on companies and brands.

You may be thinking that influencer marketing is expensive, and it can be. We’ll cover costs later on. But hiring an influencer can set you back anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand. However, it’s a sound investment. Influencer marketing campaigns earn, on average, $5.78 for each dollar spent. Influencers are worth the money for the value they bring to your business by expanding your reach and attracting guests.

The Right Way to Publish Influencer Content

There are set rules on how influencers must disclose their relationship with a brand when they endorse a product. The audience must be able to clearly understand that there was some exchange (such as monetary compensation or a gift) for the influencer to be promoting the company or product.

As a hotelier, you may offer a local blogger a free night’s stay in exchange for them to post about your hotel on their website and Instagram. The blogger needs to clearly state the relationship – simply adding #sp (sponsored) or #ad in a string of hashtags isn’t enough, since many people would skip reading the hashtags. Instead, the Federal Trade Commission says the poster would need the post text to make it clear that there was an exchange for their post.

To fully comply with FTC guidelines, the relationship between the company and the poster should be acknowledged in the first 3 lines of the text. This is because when a user is scrolling their feed, anything after that will be cut off unless the person taps “more.”

How to Hire an Influencer

If you’d like to give influencer marketing a shot but don’t know where to start, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with the four key elements to creating a successful influencer marketing campaign.

Identify Influencers

Find people who are relevant to you, and don’t just look at their numbers. A high fashion blogger may not be as good of a fit as a family who shares their travels with their followers or a local photographer. As mentioned, the cost of a sponsorship is usually dependent on the person’s following, engagement, and chosen social platform. 

Influencers’ ranking can range from nano-influencers with anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 followers to mega-influencers with over a million followers. The fewer followers an influencer has, the less they cost to hire. On Instagram, nano-influencer rates are around $10-$100 per post. This translates to about $10 per 1,000 followers, but other factors can come into play.

When you’re ready to shop for an influencer, open Instagram and tap on the magnifying glass on the bottom of the screen. Type your city’s name and a keyword– such as “Orlando photographer” or “Houston travel blogger” – then tap “People” at the top. Instagram will show you results that match. Scroll through until you find someone that seems to have a strong following, quality photos in their posts, and people interacting with their posts in comments and likes.

Initiate Contact

Once you have a shortlist of people you would like to work with, start reaching out. Check their profile for a link in their bio that provides a website with a contact form. You can also visit their Instagram profile and tap Message to reach out through Instagram and ask for an email address to correspond with.

Let the person know that you like their content and would like to inquire about hiring them to publicize your property. If they are interested, clearly state what you’re offering and what you would like to receive. For instance, you could say that you will provide a complimentary night at your hotel in exchange for a 300-word blog post reviewing their stay and an Instagram post tagging your hotel. Both parties can negotiate from here.

Agree on the Terms

Once you and your chosen influencer are ready to work together, send them a contract. Not only will this protect both parties by legally binding you to deliver on what was agreed upon, but it will also help you to get the most out of your arrangement. You could specify that the Instagram post is published without mentions of other brands or set guidelines that their blog must link back to your reservation website. It’s best to check with your legal counsel before sending an agreement to any influencers.

When setting your terms, don’t forget to communicate with your influencer on what metrics you intend to measure. Set a date for the person to send you final numbers, such as 15 days after an Instagram post is published and 30 days after a blog goes live. Here is what you should ask for:

Key blog post metrics for influencer marketing

  • Page views: how many people read the post
  • Clicks: how many people clicked a link to your website

Key social media post metrics for influencer marketing

  • Reach: how many people saw the post
  • Likes: how many people tapped the heart on the post
  • Comments: how many comments were added to the post
  • Engagement rate: total number of comments and likes divided by follower count

For social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, also ask for the number of link clicks. Instagram does not offer the ability to add links to posts, unless you’ve negotiated a feature in their Instagram Story or they use a third-party link tracker. Finally, include the minimum amount of time that a post about your brand needs to remain publicly visible on their accounts and website. This prevents them from deleting or archiving your post after a few days.

Measure Results

As with any addition to your hotel marketing toolkit, you’ll want to measure results. You can provide a special discount code to your influencer that they can share with their followers. This way, you’ll be able to track reservations that come directly from the influencer post. Website traffic via clicks from their social media or blog is the strongest indicator of an effective post. Other metrics are important, but harder to track a direct ROI.

Much of a company’s social media strategy includes an element of improving brand recognition. You can’t track being top-of-mind for someone, but they may make a reservation with you weeks or months later after learning about your hotel from a social media post.

Create the Best Version of Your Hotel

With all the time, effort, and money you’ll be putting into influencer marketing, you want to make sure that potential guests are seeing the best version of your hotel online. It would be counterintuitive to pay an influencer to promote your property when you’re barely active on social media and your hotel is plagued with poor reviews. You would simply be directing eyes onto your hotel’s poor reputation and losing potential guests.

That’s why it’s important to have a plan and make sure that your hotel’s online presence reflects the best version of itself possible. Travel Media Group is an expert in helping hotels regain control over their digital presence. With our comprehensive social media, review response, and reputation management solutions, your hotel will be on the path to an online makeover fit to be seen by the reaches of influencer marketing.