Boost your business with influencer marketing

Collaborating with influencers gives your business more brand awareness or turnover. Influencers do have to follow advertising rules. If you hire an influencer, you are responsible as an advertiser. Find out what the rules are and get started with influencer marketing in 6 steps.

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is paying influencers to promote your service or product to their followers. Influencers share their stories online. Followers usually trust them and then buy the product. Influencers can advertise your products in all sorts of ways, such as by posting a photo of a test drive on Instagram or sharing their experiences with make-up in a YouTube video. 

Advertising laws and regulations

Influencer marketing is a form of advertising. So, influencers must comply with the advertising rules of the Media Act since 1 July 2022. For example, does an influencer make a video for you in which they use your products or services? Then the influencer must clearly state both in the video and in the description underneath that it involves advertising, among other things to protect minors from harmful content. This applies to YouTubers, TikTokkers and Instagrammers with more than 500,000 followers who publish at least 24 videos per year, have a KVK registration and make money from it.

Influencer is more effective

According to John Meulemans of influencer marketing agency Endeavour (formerly 3sixtyfive), a message from an influencer is 11 times more effective than an online ad. "It also delivers more than television advertising. Viewers experience emotions more strongly and remember the message better in the long run."

You have a higher chance of selling your product with influencer marketing, because your product- unlike ads and advertising - is not taken offline after a campaign period. "For example, a collaboration with YouTuber Dylan Haegens yielded one million views. A year later, the number of views was three million because the videos remain online. So an influencer's post can keep leading to new sales. Also, you do not have to create text, images or ads yourself. The influencer does that, saving you time and money. You can also use this content on your own social media, website or webshop afterwards."

Meulemans continues, "It also used to work to send a free product in the hope that the influencer would make a post about it. With small influencers, that still works now. But if you send a free product, realise that you cannot ask for anything in return. The influencer is under no obligation to do anything with it."

Influencer marketing in 6 steps

Looking to get started with influencer marketing? Follow these six steps:

1. Determine what you want to achieve

Set a goal. Do you want to acquire new customers or launch a new product? Or do you have a promo that you would like to share? Influencer marketing works especially well to get more exposure to (new) customers. Consumers and businesses alike look to influencers for information and inspiration.

2. Identify your target audience

Now that you know what you want to achieve, identify a target audience. Do you want to reach stay-at-home husbands or wives, young gamers, or fashionable millennials? Next, put pen to paper and decide what story you want to tell. Emphasise the strengths of your product or service. If you sell board games, you could emphasise spending quality time with your family or how playing games is good for the brain.

Make sure that your story resonates with your target audience. “Shell made a mistake with its Great Travel Hack campaign”, Meulemans argues. “It was a campaign about reducing carbon emissions. But the audience did not think it was appropriate for an oil company. They wondered why the campaign was full of expensive cars rather than sustainable options like trains. If you opt for a sustainable campaign, make sure to be sustainable in everything you do.”

3. Choose the right influencer

Now that you know what story you want to tell and who you want to target, it is time to find an influencer. Be picky. The influencer will be just as careful as you are.

“Credibility is key”, Meulemans stresses. “Asking an influencer who regularly posts pictures of kebabs and burgers to promote a vegetarian pizza targeted at health-conscious customers is probably a bad idea. You will not reach the audience you have in mind.”

Answering these questions will help you find the right influencer:

  • Who is a good fit for your objective and target audience? Which influencer do your customers get excited about? If you do not have these answers yet, ask your customers or perform customer research.
  • Take a critical look at the quality of the influencer’s posts. Are they original posts or primarily commercial? “If 9 out of 10 posts are commercial, followers quickly lose interest”, Meulemans explains.
  • Look at the quality of their followers. How often do they respond to posts? And are their comments positive? This will tell you if the influencer has a good relationship with their followers. If they do, they are more likely to convince their followers to look up your product.
  • Has the influencer already collaborated with other brands? How did that go?
  • Is the influencer excited about working with you?
  • Are they trustworthy? Influencers who seemingly get tonnes of new followers overnight might be suspicious. Lots of followers from faraway countries are also a red flag. If there is no logical explanation for large numbers of foreign followers, they were probably bought.
  • How big is the influencer's network and is it a good fit for your business and industry? The size of an influencer's network can vary:
    • A micro-influencer has between 10,000 to 35,000 followers. They can be interesting for local and regional marketing.
    • In the Netherlands, major influencers have 1,000,000 followers.
    • Anyone with more than that is considered a mega influencer. They will usually demand a fee of anywhere from €25,000 to €100,000.
    • Last but not least, you can even create your own digital influencer, like Esther Olofsson (in Dutch), the first virtual influencer in the Netherlands.

4. Make arrangements

Make clear arrangements and lay them down in writing. Things to keep in mind include:

  • The type of collaboration. The most common type is to have the influencer put up posts about your product or service. Alternatively, you can organise an ideation session in which the influencer helps you come up with a campaign or event. You can also opt for an Instagram takeover and give the influencer control over your social media account for a certain period of time. The next step is ‘co-creation’: developing a product, product line, or service together with an influencer.
  • How many messages the influencer will post and when.
  • Possibly: what hashtags or hyperlinks you want the influencer to use. Do you want them to tag your company?
  • What do you want the content to look like? How much latitude does the influencer have?
  • The fee. Do you want to pay a flat fee per post or agree on a package price for five posts? You can also agree on a bonus if the results exceed expectations (more comments, click-throughs, or sales). This is a good way to encourage the influencer to do their very best.
  • Exclude the competition. Is exclusivity important to you? Make agreements on whether the influencer is also allowed to work for other companies.

5. Create a briefing

In your briefing, outline a framework and tell what features of your product or service you would like the influencer to highlight. Meulemans advises: “Give influencers creative freedom to tell the story their own way. They know the target audience best. If you want full control, you might as well make a commercial. Let go and accept that your influencer will not do exactly what you want them to.”

A good briefing might ask an influencer to “mention the product three or four times a month, for instance by making an announcement, talking about the product or company, or introducing an interesting offer.” The influencer will send you their plans, you provide feedback, and you agree on a final plan.

6. Monitor the campaign and evaluate the results

Once the influencer starts posting, check whether their followers are interacting with the posts. The interaction ratio is very important. According to Meulemans, an interaction rate of 3% is common in influencer marketing. This means that a minimum of 3 people out of 100 respond to a post. Anything over 3% is a good result.”

“If you find an influencer who is a good match for your company and the results meet expectations, consider turning your campaign into an ongoing programme. This is cheaper, because you buy big and you freeze the price. Even if the influencer gets more followers in the future. On top of that, followers are more likely to trust long-term partnerships. Besides, they make it easier to make agreements about exclusivity.”

Advertising laws and regulations

Influencer marketing is a form of advertising. As such, influencers have to follow the Media Act advertising rules. That means that they have to follow the same advertising rules (in Dutch) that apply to TV. If you upload a video, you have to be transparent about advertising and protect minors against harmful content. This applies to YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram users with more than 500,000 followers, who publish at least 24 videos per year, are registered with KVK, and make money from social media.