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Should you pay influencers to promote your business?

Question: I have a cargo and freight company started a few months ago. Basically, my business helps customers ship their packages to Jamaica quickly and affordably and deliver right to their doorstep with no hassle. Our service and customer support are world-class, so we are trying to get a foothold in the segment, and as you know, this is highly competitive now. Do you think it is worth it to pay a social media influencer to promote the business for Christmas?

One of the influencers I follow is promoting a special package that comprises content ideation, filming and editing, and sharing on their page. The feature will also be given for promotion on my page. The usual cost is discounted by 35 per cent. Practically speaking, it’s not a lot of money for us to spend on marketing, but I want to spend wisely. I’m looking forward to your response please.



The compelling premise of influencer marketing is the opportunity to leverage the authenticity, credibility, trust, and reach of the influential personalities for the benefit of your brand and products or services specifically for your targeted audience.

If we break that down into a checklist format, you would need to make sure that before you engage any influencer, you can validate that

1. Their audience and reach will consist of your target customers.

2. They are authentic.

3. They are credible in their niche.

4. Their reviews and partnerships are trusted by their audience.

5. Their values are aligned to your own company values.

Hiring an influencer may be a worthwhile investment if it can help you achieve the objectives you want to accomplish. Therefore, you must be very clear on what those objectives are and express them in a way that is specific and measurable so that you will be in a position to make an evidence-based evaluation.

You have mentioned promoting the business as the goal, but that is too vague to be useful, especially when resources are finite.

It may be more helpful to set a goal like, “The objective of this collaboration is to increase brand awareness and acquire 25 new customers during the campaign period through a combination of social media engagements website sign-up and referral code tracking”.

Twenty-five is a random number I came up with. However, your estimate should be informed and realistic.

You will notice that the goal is measurable, and the benefits you anticipate are tangible. It will be easy for you to measure new customer sign-up. However, brand awareness is more involved.

One way to measure brand awareness is to use social media metrics such as tracking your mentions shares, comments, new followers, and post reach. You could also use website analytics to assess the traffic to your website, search engine metrics to measure the volume of branded searches on engines like Google.

You can do further research to determine the methodologies that work best for you, but the point is you must measure, and you will need to establish a baseline now before you launch any new promotions.

If you do decide to partner with the influencer, it would be helpful to share your objectives upfront and get their perspective beforehand. Experienced and professional influencers should know their audience and how it receives and responds to collaborations, which is helpful context.

It’s important to manage your expectations when it comes to working with influencers. Some may mistakenly believe that every post will reach the intended audience and have considerable engagement.

The reality is that the audience usually doesn’t view paid promotion of a product or service in the same way that it does one which is not sponsored. In other words, there is a huge difference between a spokesperson for a product or service and a satisfied customer who can share their own experience and choices. It is for this reason that globally, the trend in this influencer marketing space is for brands to focus more on long-term partnership with the personality rather than one-off or short-term collaborations or promotions.

The advantage of this approach is that greater frequency over a longer period will usually result in extended and repetitive reach, which we know from a buyer’s psychology is important for brand recall.

Continuous partnership will also increase the likelihood of creating an association in the mind of the consumer between the product and the endorsement of that influencer because of the duration. In your planning and budgeting for marketing, these are some factors worth considering.

Finally, I must note that the first thing I looked for in trying to answer your question was any report or surveys or statistics or trend analysis on influencer marketing in Jamaica, and I came up empty.

In some countries, social media market reports are produced annually and provide the latest influencer facts, data, analysis, and projections, which are very helpful in understanding the evolution of the landscape and the return on investment that brands and organisations have realised as well as lessons learned.

Until we have this data available, I suggest you pay attention to reports from other markets, such as the United States of America (USA), the United Kingdom, and Canada, as the information may still provide useful insights and knowledge for decision-making.

One love.

Yaneek Page is the programme lead for Market Entry USA and a certified trainer in entrepreneurship

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