When working with my clients, one of the areas of marketing that many are still very unsure about is that of influencer marketing. Whether it’s small businesses or big brands, there is still a very grey area in terms of knowledge base and how to work successfully with influencers in order to achieve a positive outcome- whether that’s increased sales, product awareness, or more followers.
In the first of what I hope to become a mini-series, I chat with Karen Beddow, experienced blogging and family travel and lifestyle stalwart, who writes the highly successful ‘Mini Travellers’ blog and who has worked with countless big-name brands as an influencer. She talks working with brands, the do’s and don’ts for companies interested in influencer marketing, and the future…
So Karen, tell us a bit about yourself- how long have you been a blogger/influencer, and how has it evolved over the years?
I’ve been blogging since 19th June 2004 so coming up to 7 years now. It’s evolved into a successful business (well it was in 2019!) and also allowed for Aster & Fern to be set up where we do some social media management and advice for clients. It’s grown from 1 or 2 views to 70,000 views a month in January 2020 before Covid struck. Views are on the way back up but not the same as I only trade in travel.
What’s the best way for a brand to approach you if they want to work with you?
I love it when a brand follows me for a while, comments on things and then sends a personal email or message that means they are aware of how old my kids are, and what sort of thing we like.
How do you manage a business or brand’s expectations when you’re working with them?
This has become harder recently as brands require more contracts and specific requirements. You are much more likely to get more content out of me if I’m left to my own devices and the content doesn’t need to be so formal or approved.
What is your personal favourite way to work with a business/brand and why?
For me I love to work on Facebook. It’s still my favourite platform and I have a really engaged audience over there. We also love to make proper videos but do charge highly for those as they take sooo much time.
Tell me about a memorable campaign that you’ve worked on? Why was it a success for the business?
A particularly memorable campaign for me and the business was with Malawi Tourism. We had the most amazing trip to Malawi in 2018 as a family of 5, created some wonderful family content for them that they still use now, and the relationships we built during the trip lasted to provide us with a trip to Tanzania, and would have been Zambia too (but for Covid). The brands involved in the trip got something way more than my audience, but got content they can use for years to come.
Best/worst things businesses/brands could do when it comes to working with an influencer?
Send huge contracts that don’t actually apply to most of the work you’re doing. Lots of these huge contracts contain indemnities (when we might be only being paid a few hundred pounds) They often include the right to use the images indefinitely too when this hasn’t been agreed, or contain exclusivity provisions. I’m a lawyer so I always read the contracts and have lost lots of work when I won’t agree to the terms.
Also paying late. The bigger brands are the worst at this. The smaller brands understand the pressures and always pay almost immediately.
How much could a business expect to pay you for a campaign?
Anywhere from £450 for Instagram/Facebook posts, to in excess of £2k for videos. Sometimes though I’ll work for shoes, or chocolate or things that I love!
Where do you see the future of influencer marketing?
I still see a role for it, but it’s becoming really congested and with that comes the brands formal requirements because they don’t know who to trust. I’m not sure if it’ll be for me for always, but it’s been an incredible ride.