The power of the beauty blogger is becoming more and more undeniable, with recent studies showing that more purchasing decisions are based on recommendations from YouTubers than they are from industry experts.

But as this emerging industry grows, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to figure out the most effective strategy for developing meaningful partnerships.  

Below I’ve listed out the five questions I always ask myself before building an influencer marketing strategy for our clients.

  1. What do you want to get out of the partnership?

A lot of brands make the mistake of partnering with influencers purely to boost reach figures for a campaign in a bid to get their product in front of as many people as possible. It’s pretty easy to see when this is the case as the messaging often lacks love and authenticity. 

However, if a brand wants to drive genuine engagement and offer influencers a way to generate conversation with their audience, it will steer a much more interesting campaign that balances the objectives of both parties.  

Which brings me nicely onto my next question.

  1. What type of content are you looking to create?

The answer to this question will lead you to specific social channels. Working with YouTubers, for example, may help to build an authentic tone of voice by offering honest product review videos, whereas the meticulously curated world of Instagram could provide a brand with reusable product shots and short form videos from influencers.  

It’s also important to agree to a set of deliverables and associated usage rights ahead of time. If managed well, a partnership can last a long time and  develop as the influencer’s audience grows. But, these partnerships are a two sided coin. If they feel they’re being taken advantage of, an influencer can just as easily expose poor marketing practice as they can promote a brand.

  1. How much are you willing to invest?

There are beauty influencers out there for every marketer’s budget. Ranging from the likes of Kyle Jenner who is rumoured to have charged up to $300K for a single post, all the way down to up-and-coming beauty vloggers,  including the likes of Hannah Matcha, who are always on the lookout for smaller, relevant brands to partner with.

From my experience, there is a great deal of joy to be had with high volumes of small influencer relationships. A Technorati study back in 2013 found that, on average, consumers viewed influencers with smaller communities as more trust worthy, with a 2014 Edelman study citing 'People Like Me' as a reason to trust in an influencer product reviews.

  1. What are they getting out of it?

When working with influencers, it's important to remember that real people like doing business with other real people. When working with small budgets you'll be surprised how willing influencers are to engage with your campaign when there is a real-life value exchange. Whether it's an exclusive look at new product ranges or VIP tickets to a launch event, influencers are posting about beauty products as a part-time hobby and these things are a bonus that will give them more fodder for their accounts. 

  1. How are you measuring success? 

Measuring the success of an influencer campaign can be tricky. That said, bench marking social engagement rates from campaign to campaign can provide a strong indication.

A good place to start would be to look at the percentage of users reached that chose to engage with the campaign in comparison to a similar campaign being supported purely though paid social ads.

The next step to effectively measuring a campaign is to set up accurate tracking on all links used - to see exactly how many clicks, site visits and on-site actions resulted from the activity.

A lot of bloggers and vloggers can also be more than willing to offer specific performance metrics such as page views and dwell time on branded content - as long as there’s a clear value exchange and incentive for them to do so.

My advice would be to just pick up the phone and ask!