Influencer marketing is expensive in China and the prices are only going up. Even the biggest brands are looking for ways to get influencers to repost their content for free.
No, don’t misinterpret this to mean influencers should work for free. Brands should acknowledge influencers’ value and compensate them fairly.
That being said, influencers are always in need of good content and are willing to post about something for free if they like it enough. There are many ways to get influencers to interact with your brand on social media without directly paying them, from product seeding, to inviting them to events, to sharing their content on your branded channels. It’s even feasible to get influencers to repost your brand-created content on their channels for free.
Once again, it all comes back to the fact that influencers are people with feelings, preferences, objectives…and egos. The simplest idea is that you promote them to your followers, develop a relationship with them, make them feel valued, and you will find it possible to occasionally have them post something about you for free. This works best with micro and mid-tier influencers. Any larger, and they will be less likely to cooperate.
Here are several influencer marketing tactics you can use to get free reposts. Remember, while these tactics may not involve a monetary transaction, they will require time and energy on your end, which, for a budget-conscious brand, might be the way to go.
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Tactic 1: Tag influencers in your comments or posts
This is the easiest way to begin engaging with an influencer and demonstrate your interest in them. Think about when someone shares an article on LinkedIn and then tags several people to ask for their opinions. In most situations, if the person posting is someone they respect, and the content is relevant to them, a good portion of those people will comment on the article or, at a minimum, give it a like. If they think the content is interesting and useful for their audience, they might even repost it.
The same goes for influencers. Seeing that your brand has tagged them will give them a little ego boost and they will be curious to check it out. If your brand is unfamiliar to them, do not expect much at first. However, by tagging them, you’ll get on their radar.
Of course, excessive tagging is annoying, so tag only for relevant and valuable content. For example, if they are a parenting blogger, you can tag them in a post which shares a new study that your company did on child nutrition. For best results, pose a question in the post which will prompt them to respond.
Do not tag them in any content where you are blatantly selling or promoting something. This is a big turnoff and will make them feel like you are trying to use them.
Even if they don’t repost, their interaction with your post alone can greatly benefit your account. On many social media channels such as Weibo, if an influencer interacts with your account, for example, likes or comments on your post, it affects the algorithm and your posts will start appearing in their follower’s feeds and on their personal page feed.
Tactic 2: Featuring influencers’ content on your brand channels
Instead of just tagging them, feature them in your content. Back to the LinkedIn example, if someone quotes you in their article and then tags you, you would be much more likely to share the article than in the first example where someone only tagged you. Why? Because, by quoting you in the article, that person is promoting you and positioning you as an opinion leader and someone of authority, and we all want to share content that makes us look good!
If your brand posts mainly visual content, you could share their images or videos on your brand channels. Many brands, especially travel brands, are great at curating excellent user-generated content (UGC) from visitors and sharing it on their brand channels. Ideally, all brands should be doing this with influencer content on a consistent basis. Keep an eye out for influencers posting about your products (or a topic related to your products) and when they do, share it on your channels.
Just make sure you tag their accounts and give them credit! On the other end of the spectrum, the easiest way to anger an influencer is by using their content and not giving them credit.
Tactic 3: Incorporating influencers’ products into your brand-created content
A growing number of influencers, especially Chinese influencers, have begun launching their own product lines. Now, keeping that in mind, let’s take the tactic above and flip it on its head.
Instead of you reposting their post when they incorporate your products into their content, what if you incorporated their products into your original brand content and posted it?
The influencer would feel extremely flattered and would be highly likely to repost your content on their channels.
While it may seem strange to feature their products on your brand’s account, it can be quite easy. Say you’re a bag brand, include their sunglasses in a flat lay photo, or have your models wear a dress from their clothing line when doing a photo shoot.
Again, just make sure you tag them, both their brand and personal accounts, otherwise, they might not see the content and will never know. This tactic will almost guarantee a repost as you are essentially creating high-quality content for them for free, marketing them to your community, and adding credibility and social proof to their product line.
When it comes down to it, these tactics all require you, as a brand, to step off your pedestal and think about how you can provide value to the influencer. It is about creating opportunities for mutual growth, not about how you can use them for free exposure.