I haven’t been posting on Wednesdays for the past couple weeks, but I wanted to drop in today to make sure I wrote this book review. I received a copy of Influencer Marketing for Dummies as part of my relationship with Clever Girls and this book is fantastic! Even within the first chapter, I picked up my phone and sent out a tweet proclaiming my love for it.
I want to briefly go over some of my favorite parts of the book and explain why I think that it’s important for every brand and blogger to read. Make sure to make it to the end where you’ll have a chance to win your own copy courtesy of Clever Girls!
I place a lot of confidence in Influencer Marketing for Dummies because it is written by the founders of Clever Girls, which is a very reputable company that helps match brands with influential women online. The campaigns I have done through Clever Girls have been some of the most professional ones I’ve done, so I pay attention to what they have to say.
According to the book, influencer marketing is defined as “the art and science of engaging people who are influential online to share brand messaging with their audiences in the form of sponsored content.” Think of bloggers and microbloggers as the influencers. They have developed loyal fan bases who pay attention to recommendations, purchases, and opinions. Brands are learning the importance of tapping into this field of marketing as these influencer populations continue to grow.
Here are some of my favorite things about this book:
1. Written for brands
I’ve read numerous blogging books written for bloggers, but this is the first professional book I’ve read that is geared towards brands. It explains the importance of influencers in their marketing plans and that bloggers need to be paid for their work. It emphasizes that it’s unprofessional for brands to expect bloggers to put in time and effort for no return. This section had me shaking my head and saying “yes!” out loud a few times.
2. Outlines the timeline and growth of influencer marketing
This may not be new information for many, but I was unaware of the difference between PR and advertising. An entire chapter is dedicated to explaining the historical timeline of advertising, public relations, social media, and the new landscape of influencer marketing. I thought it was fascinating to read through the development and to see what influencer marketing is and is not in today’s world.
3. Women are awesome
Chapter three is all about the importance of women in purchasing decisions and influencing others. The authors point out that
- women rule the household
- women drive purchasing decisions
- women trust other women
- women rule social media
- women rule social trends
Way to go ladies! I loved reading this because it made me feel more empowered and capable in a normally male-driven business society.
4. Proper correspondence
One of the things I found interesting was that this book specified how brands should approach influencers. Since bloggers are people and not large businesses, normal PR emails will tend to be deleted or even shared with others as examples of how NOT to pitch an influencer. This type of marketing differs from traditional PR in that bloggers need to be pitched to in a personal way and not addressed as “Dear Blogger” or other generic heading.
As bloggers, we have been told many times that brands do not care about us and we need to remember that we are doing them a service. What this book emphasizes to brands is that influencers need to be treated like human beings and that brands are asking those influencers to do something for them, not the other way around. This is a great step towards equal collaboration and I hope more brands take note.
5. Going rates
Financial reimbursement for sponsored posts is not very clear in this industry. There is no one algorithm for what people should be paid and the spectrum can vary widely. Many bloggers also keep this information close to the chest, so it’s not always clear how much one should be paid or be asking for in the first place.
Although the information will likely be outdated in the near future because of the always changing market, the data for 2015 is included and mentions the going rates for blogs and other specific social media outlets such as Facebook and Instagram. It was good to see some kind of benchmark for what I should and shouldn’t be charging.
6. Legal Specifics
As you may know, I’m super invested in disclaimers and following FTC guidelines. This book has specific sections on what and where to disclose and mentions these facts in both the main content and the appendix of the book. I was happy to see the same statement about offering disclaimers at the beginnings of the post and not waiting until the end. Nofollow links were also included which is another rule that’s important to me.
- Stop Misleading Disclosure Practices
- What Are Nofollow Links and Why You Need to Use Them
- Cloaking Affiliate Links: 5 Benefits to Starting Today
7. Social Media Focus
Each of the most popular social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest) had their own chapter to focus on the best ways to market to an audience. There were also chapters focusing specifically on blogs and video posts.
This part of the book didn’t apply as much to me personally, but I was happy to be able to get behind the scenes on the processes that brands go through (or should go through) to measure the success of a campaign. This field of marketing is difficult because there isn’t necessarily a direct return on investment. Someone may see something a blogger writes about and then decide to buy it a month later. I liked seeing how it was suggested that brands judge the influence of a campaign and also how to select influencers in the first place (hint: it’s not always about stats!).
Overall, I found this book to be really informative and I love that it’s on the market. It does a great job advocating for bloggers and influencers, which is a great step in legitimizing the work that we do on a regular basis.
Now, a BONUS! One lucky reader (U.S. only, sorry guys!) will receive their own copy of Influencer Marketing for Dummies by entering the giveaway below. It will be open from now until next Wednesday, 1/13 at midnight Central time.
- What do you know about influencer marketing?
- Does this book sound interesting to you?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.