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How to Sell Your Boss on Influencer Marketing

When we polled our brand partners about their plans for 2016, more than 80% said they plan on increasing their influencer marketing budgets. This change isn’t surprising, given influencer marketing’s ability to drive desirable results at scale. According to a recent McKinsey study, word of mouth marketing efforts like influencer marketing produce 37% greater customer retention rates and 2X the amount of sales when compared to other more traditional forms of paid advertising. (Source: Forbes).

Influencer Marketing Budgets for 2016
Our findings after polling over 40 existing brand partners


As influencer marketing grows, so does the pool of available content creators. In fact, Variety’s recent study of US teens ranking talent featured 8 YouTube creators in the top 10 list, beating out household names like Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars. With consumer video channels like YouTube and Netflix expected to generate 80% of all Internet traffic by 2019 according to a study by Cisco Systems, it’s almost guaranteed this trend will continue making influencers critically important to brands. Think of what this list will look like next year, or even in 10 years.


You’ve done your research and you’re convinced influencer marketing is THE new thing you’ve been searching for to bolster your marketing efforts. But how do you convince the decision makers to free up some budget for a channel that’s never been tested?


We know it can be an uphill battle, so here are a few bullets we’ve found most convincing when getting budgets approved from executives.


Our Cheat Sheet to Help you Sell Your Boss on Influencer Marketing

No Money No Problem 

Unlike other paid advertising channels that can require tens of thousands of dollars to produce a meaningful test, influencer marketing is FAR from a budget buster. In fact, a test campaign can be wiggled into almost any marketing budget. Grapevine’s influencer marketing platform is absolutely free to access and there’s no upfront costs associated with creating a campaign. With our pay-as-you-go model, a brand can get started in influencer marketing with as little as $100.

Access the Grapevine Browse Creators Tool with no upfront commitment!
Access the Grapevine Browse Creators Tool with no upfront commitment!


With that said, as a best practice we suggest starting with a budget that allows your brand to work with 4 – 8 content creators. But with a community of thousands of savvy and eager creators, this can be achieved at almost any budget level.


There’s no harm in testing the waters – with little commitment upfront, platforms like Grapevine provide great insight into the potential of influencer marketing. Discover the tools available to identify the right creators for your brand, manage their content and measure your results. Sold? Get started here.


Out-science Algorithms

 It was only a matter of time until Instagram and Twitter followed Facebook’s lead and implemented algorithms to generate timeline content. Doesn’t it suck when awesomely simple organic channels get too awesome? Makes us think back to the pre-PLA days when Google Product Ads were free… the joy!


With these recent changes, reverse chronological feeds are now obsolete and relevancy is the name of the game. In today’s social media world, engagement metrics become increasingly important for brands. The more engagement you have, the more relevant your content, and that means the more existing customers, and better yet, new customers will see it.


Unfortunately, consumers inherently engage with their peer’s content more frequently than a brand’s. Yes, they may be interested in your 40% Off Sale (who wouldn’t?!), but the likelihood of them sharing your sale banner v. their friend who styled their entire outfit and captured it beautifully via a VSCO filter (albeit purchased at the 40% off sale) is slim to none.


This is where content creators come in. Hire professionals who not only have a broad reach and out of this world engagement metrics, but also understand your brand needs. Think of them as the ultimate social media mercenaries.


Use Influencer Marketing to Find Your Next Brand Ambassador

KathleenLights is the perfect example of getting in on the ground floor. Establish relationships with creators now.

Influencer marketing allows you to work with creators on the come-up. We’ve even experienced this at Grapevine! We started working with KathleenLights back in the day when she had about 250K subscribers. She now boasts over 2M subscribers, and costs some serious loot to sponsor (though an investment you likely won’t regret – she’s stayed true to her roots and consistently produces amazing content that really resonates with her audience). You know the brands who got in early working with KathleenLights are thanking their lucky stars – we still see huge amounts of views and engagement on her videos from years ago!


Get in on the ground floor and form relationships with creators who are a perfect fit for your brand and grow together.  At Grapevine, we’ve designed our platform to not only allow brands to connect with, book and measure the best creators out there, but also maintain those relationships and scale them. If you find a creator who works for your brand, don’t limit the partnership to one piece of content! Keep that ball rolling.


Test While You Can and Track in Real-Time

We’re still in the (somewhat) early days of influencer marketing, so the market isn’t overly saturated… yet. For instance, a recent study by Tomoson shows marketers investing in influencer marketing are seeing an average return of $6.50 on every $1 spent, with some even as high as $20:$1. However, as this space continues on this high-growth trajectory, some creators are going from a perfect brand fit to out of reach overnight (ie. KathleenLights).


The influencer marketing world moves fast, and so should you. Luckily it’s possible to track the ROI of each creator you work with in real time. Knowing what works and what doesn’t is critical for any marketing strategy, and understanding whether or not a particular creator is driving a positive ROI enables you to make the right adjustments for your brand. Grapevine brand partners can see the ROI of each of the influencers booked through our tracking capabilities and use that data to refine and scale their influencer marketing efforts in the future. In addition to providing real-time analytics, the Grapevine platform also provides other protective measure, like ensuring FTC guidelines are abided by and creators direct their viewers to your site.


Creating your Pitch to Your Boss

If you’re a brand marketer exploring influencer marketing right now, you’re already ahead of the curve. We know you’ve got your work cut out for you when it comes to creating a case for influencer marketing, especially if your boss and/or organization aren’t the most open to testing and change.


Hopefully this gives you some good ammunition to get the conversation going and sell your boss on influencer marketing. If you’re still looking for more information about Grapevine or influencer marketing as a whole, let us know. We have a number of materials and one-sheets we’d be happy to share and help you #GetSponsored!



We’ll leave you with these words of encouragement. Remember the best part of influencer marketing: A new social media star is literally born every day, so there will always be the opportunity to work with up-and-comers. The key is getting there before your competition. Does your boss really want to be behind?




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