We have a paradox. On the one hand, brands, agencies, and marketers are amping up their Influencer Marketing budgets exponentially. For example, some plan on growing Influencer Marketing budgets as much as 76 percent. On the other hand, others are scaling back on their forecasting, rocked by pandemic-related, economic-fallout woes. Regardless of which group you’re in, many factors play into a budget that gets you the biggest bang for your buck. To stretch your Influencer Marketing budgets, you likely scrutinize every line item of your allotted dollars. Additionally, you probably look for free or low-cost items or influencers wherever you can. Those are great methods, but with your budgets set for the year, you need our additional six tips for maximizing your money.

Tip 1: Identify your dream influencer partners.

Creating clear criteria your ideal influencer partners must meet is the first step in solidifying your partnership. For example, age, niche, and demographic are a few of the basic criteria you should consider. Next, identify the following:

  • The platform(s) you want to use for Influencer Marketing
  • The tier of influencer with whom you want to work
  • How long you want your campaign(s) to last
  • How many posts you want each influencer to publish
  • The types of posts you want them to publish (e.g., photos, videos, in-feed, stories, IGTV, live broadcasting, etc.)
  • The influencers’ production costs

With clear influencer criteria, you’re ready to research rates.

Tip 2: Research fair market value for influencer partnerships. 

BigCommerce advises that even if you’re brand new in a one-person shop, do your research about pay rates. It may be difficult to know what to pay influencers, especially because they, as a group, haven’t set standard rates. Doing your research might entail:

Specifically, research how much differing levels of influencers—macro to nano—charge to complete specific tasks. Also, look into whether you can get a cost savings for adding more “asks” (as opposed to contracting for just one service). Then, inquire about quantity breaks for enlisting creators in multiple, especially long-term (e.g., multi-year) campaigns. Finally, explore various compensation types: cash, product, and pay-for-conversion or affiliate.

Tip 3: Don’t pay too little or too much for influencers.

It may seem counterintuitive for us to encourage you to pay fair compensation in an article on stretching your marketing budgets, but hear us out on this thought. Here at Forward Influence, we often talk about the importance of vetting the right influencers. If you’ve found your dream evangelists—influencers you feel could become long-term brand ambassadors— then pay them fairly. Specifically, do all you can to avoid the influencer pay gap

When you show that you value creator partnerships, they’re much more likely to go above and beyond with their content for you. For example, when influencers feel that they are important to you, they will often produce higher quality and share increased quantity posts. Whatever you have budgeted for influencers this year, make sure that your spending prioritizes them over following the latest fads.

Of course, it’s also possible to pay creators too much. This happens either unwittingly or because they ask for higher-than-normal pay. Additionally, agent or other talent-management fees may skyrocket their rates, pushing them outside of what would be considered fair-market value. This is why doing research to determine equitable pay for campaign requirements and influencer levels is critical.

Tip 4: Double check that your tactics match your desired results.

Once you’ve researched and are clear on influencer pay rates, ensure your tactics match your desired results. In other words, scrutinize whether each influencer campaign requirement aligns with your key objectives and desired goals. For example, let’s say that you have influencers slated to publish TikTok videos. But, when you drill down further on your desired results, you realize that your target market doesn’t frequent TikTok. This gives you the opportunity to shift the TikTok budget to a platform that truly resonates with your consumers. Or, you could scratch that particular tactic, focus on those that would drive ROI, and save the money.

Tip 5: Consider combining affiliate marketing with your Influencer Marketing strategy.

Affiliate marketing resembles Influencer Marketing in that it relies on independent contractors to get the word out about your business. Affiliates may not be influencers and vice versa, but you can get influencers who are both. Influencer affiliates have both garnered a social media following as well as joined an affiliate network. Those networks provide their influencer affiliates with special links to products from your catalog that they can pick to promote to their audiences. While joining some networks as a brand may cost you, the networks take care of: 

  • Setting the terms and conditions and guidelines for content
  • Recruiting affiliates and promoting affiliate opportunities
  • Tracking metrics to determine commission rates per affiliate 
  • Paying affiliates, adhering to all applicable tax laws

Taking that load off of your brand’s back can be worth it for the hours (read: money) it’d save you or your team in managing these pieces on your own.

Tip 6: Monitor. Rinse. Repeat.

You may be tempted to put up content just for content’s sake. However, that’s money wasted. Unless you’re tracking engagements (at the least) and conversions (at the most), you’ll have no idea what resonates with your target market. The single greatest way to maximize your marketing budgets is to ensure your campaigns drive ROI.

You don’t have to have years of posts or tons of engagement to know what drives results. Whether you’ve got only a month’s worth of content, or ten year’s, chart it out. You can do it manually, listing each social media and/or blog post, along with each post’s views, likes, comments, shares, etc. Maybe chart that for just one social media platform, if you prefer, calculating engagement rates. Or you can rely on each platform’s insights and analytics. 

Either way, you’ll see patterns emerge. For example, let’s say you saw higher-than-normal engagement on three separate social media posts that don’t appear to have anything in common. Look for common phrases, images, dates, mentions, etc. Repeating successful patterns (i.e., “posting to the patterns”) or asking your influencers to post to patterns they’ve charted from their feeds is one strategy that almost always pays off. And by “pays off,” we mean ensures that the money you’ve spent on Influencer Marketing grows your brand awareness in concrete ways.

Wrapping It Up

When it comes to marketing budgets, there’s really no paradox. Each brand has to forecast based on their goals and resources. And every brand, no matter the size or age, should spend their dollars strategically to drive the greatest ROI. Here are six ways to do that:

  1. Identify your dream influencer partners.
  2. Research fair marketing value for influencer partnerships.
  3. Don’t pay too little or too much for influencer compensation.
  4. Double check that your tactics match your desired results.
  5. Consider combining affiliate marketing with your Influencer Marketing strategy.
  6. Monitor. Rinse. Repeat.


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