THE IMPORTANCE OF INFLUENCE
Influencer marketing has become professional – and 2016 is the time for marketers to recognise and
On 22nd March 2016, in partnership with Crimson Hexagon, we held Influencer 101 at our London
HQ, part of our 101 series. The 101 events are designed to inspire and inform an audience of brands and
agencies on how to take advantage of outlying marketing disciplines and opportunities. So far we’ve had
VR, Gen Z, Live Tweeting and Instant Messaging 101s.
This time, we gave the audience practical advice on working with influencers, heard brand case studies
from LEGO and Audi, Poppy Dinsey and Copa90 joined us to share their thoughts on life as an influencer
and we heard insights from leading network for social media creators, Niche.
If you missed the event, don’t worry. Here are some of the highlights.
What to look for in an influencer
We Are Social’s checklist covering what to look out for when building an
1. Love for the brand - look for someone who’s openly demonstrated
support for your brand already.
2. Content creator - someone who creates the right kind of content for
you; whether that’s words, images or something else entirely.
3. Social reach - doesn’t always have to be huge, but should be
4. Other brand affiliations - does their current level of brand
endorsement already seem to high? Look for any relationships
with competitors too.
5. Do they share brand values? Look for synergy with your
brand across their general views and opinions.
6. Appeal to target audience - there’s no point building a
relationship with someone with huge reach amongst the
wrong demographic. Assess their communities carefully.
What an influencer looks for in a brand
Influencer Poppy Dinsey shared her checklist for building an effective
relationship with a brand.
1. Longevity - consistency is important - work with less brands,
for a longer time period.
2. Exclusive content - no-one wants to see a product that’s been
covered to death on other blogs.
3. Something that engages and rewards readers.
4. Something that builds on existing loyalties - working with
brands the influencer already loves can ensure a natural
relationship; real fans make better ambassadors.
5. Clear communication from the get-go - be clear about your
expectations, in writing. Influencers are professionals
and expect nothing less.
Lesson 1: Create a high value exchange
Today, a high value exchange is what matters most to influencers,
whether this is access to experts, behind the scenes content or a
genuine opportunity to co-create. They’re more interested in this
than product reviews and testing.
There can be an opportunity for a brand and influencer to work in
collaboration to build each others’ profile and credibility. We heard
the example of Roman Kemp, presenter of adidas’ highly successful
Gamedayplus series. Roman wasn’t well known before taking the
helm at the show, but he loves football, is confident and had all the
right attributes to become a star.
Instead of turning to someone with a bigger profile, adidas
invested in and trusted him, and he’s been a crucial part of
Gamedayplus’ success. In return, his profile has increased
dramatically as a result of this big break.
Lesson 2: Be open to taking a new approach
Working with influencers isn’t the same as enlisting a celebrity
ambassador. It’s much more of a two-way relationship. The best
influencer collaborations are created when brands reach out
early when they’re developing a strategy, rather than sending a
There’s a reason influencers are influential - they know their
audience and have built up a sizeable, engaged community for a
Don’t expect your way is going to be the right way for them and
be prepared to throw away (or at the very least, accept edits) to
Lesson 3: Don’t shy away from paperwork
A number of the speakers touched on the professionalism of
influencer marketing and what these means for brands who
want to start working with them.
When brands set out to build a commercial relationship with
an influencer, start by being clear about what you’re hoping
to achieve. Set targets, in writing, and don’t be afraid to be
detail oriented when it comes to talking about what you
expect and what you’re offering in return.
Timelines are important. Most influencers will be working on
multiple brand projects at a time, and they won’t want all
their sponsored content to come out at once. Likewise,
brands spending money won’t want their content to be lost in
a stream of sponsored posts.
And remember; it’s not awkward for influencers to talk about
money. They’re used to it - you can and should bring it up. Be
clear about your budget and what you expect for it.
Brand case study: Audi
To launch the new Audi A4 on social, it enlisted some of the UK's
most talented Instagram influencers. Audi handed them the keys
to an A4 for the day, and asked them to experience these fantastic
new machines and then shoot them on their own terms.
This is where influencers shine. Their highly engaged audiences
won’t put up with anything average, so the talent themselves are
as discerning when accepting a brief as the client are in signing off
on the content. They have to be; otherwise they (both) label
themselves as spammy – which no one wants.
The output for the campaign was glorious. All of the
Instagrammers brought a unique story and aesthetic to the table,
from high-end architectural focus to urban grunge, London
fashion and everything in between, reaching an audience of over 9
Brand case study: The LEGO Group
When attending influencer conference Hive, LEGO made sure they
stood out amongst the influencer community in attendance with the
1. Make a connection: LEGO made sure they knew who was
attending the event and connected with them on social media
in advance, both publicly through their brand channels and
on a personal level within a private Facebook group. These
pre-existing relationships meant influencers at the event
sought them out.
2. Stand out - at the event LEGO grabbed attention by creating
the brand logo out of Duplo, generating a talking point.
3. Flip the script - at their brand session, LEGO didn’t follow the
standard approach of talking at influencers, instead they
used it as an opportunity to ask what matters to them.
Heated debates and conversation generated fascinating
insights and were far more enjoyable for the attendees.
4. Listen and learn - LEGO asked influencers for feedback,
making sure that they knew the brand wasn’t solely
focused on what it wanted to achieve, but also what the
influencers themselves were getting out of the event.
To find out more about We Are Social’s forthcoming events,
visit our Eventbrite page.