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What is an influencer?

An influencer is a person who shares content online with a group of people who strongly value their opinion. Consumers trust real people!

Traditionally this was a role fulfilled mainly by journalists, celebrities and reality TV stars. Recent years have seen the growth of bloggers, YouTubers and social media stars as influencers.

1. Why should I work with influencers?

Although you can create and share your own content online, an influencer tends to have a larger following than your business channels.

Their audience also tends to be highly engaged with what they talk about – so more likely to look up things they mention, or click through to find out more.

Content by an influencer ticks a lot of boxes

  • Search Engine Optimisation

    Improving search engine optimisation (SEO) to your website 

  • Encouraging engagement

    From people talking about, researching or even booking your business offering 

  • User generated content

    Rather than you saying how great it is, this is a valued, authentic and respected opinion 

  • Longer-term benefits

    Potential for longer-term benefits from having the content assets to use again in the future, to working together again 

  • As a direct result of the work together, your business could see:

    • more traffic to your website
    • an increase in your social audience
    • more positive engagement on social media – like, comments, shares
    • an increase in product or ticket sales
    • brand recognition

Working with Chinese influencers

Influencers in China are known as KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). They operate within a totally different social media landscape.

Popular social media channels in China include Weibo, WeChat and Douyin etc. This is because Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter) or YouTube aren't available in China.

2. What content could an influencer create?

  • Blog posts

    This would be SEO-friendly, include links to your website and social channels, and can tell your story in a longer format

  • YouTube videos

    Also SEO-friendly, this content is evergreen and could continue to deliver results long after the campaign is over. Video is a popular way of storytelling amongst influencers

  • TikTok content

    Short form videos from 15 seconds to 1 minute

  • Instagram stories

    These disappear after 24 hours, but have high engagement. They have the option to include "swipe-up links" to drive traffic to a landing page

  • X (Twitter) posts

    Short form content delivered in 280 characters or less

  • Facebook posts

    Good for sharing links to other content, or pictures and videos

  • Assets

    High resolution stills and video footage to help build your asset library

3. What should influencer activity goals be?

Influencer content follows the same process and drives similar benefits to creating your own content.

  • Top goals:

    1. publish content
    2. reach existing and new audiences
    3. rise brand awareness amongst audience
    4. ensure conversations and engagement take place amongst the content creator and the audience
    5. add positive sentiment in the form of likes, comments and shares
    6. ensure the audience researches more about your business
    7. ensure the audience books online with your business
    8. ensure the audience generates their own user-generated content and feedback on their experience
    9. create more advocates and brand ambassadors


4. How you can identify the right influencer

If you want to work with an influencer, there’s a few things to check when you pick who you would like to work with.

Take a look at

  • Audience

    The age, market and interests of their audience – do they match your target audience? 

  • Engagement

    The engagement they get from other social media posts – do people like, comment and share their work? Look for around a 3-5% rate for an average post. 

  • Response

    The response they get when they do advertising on their channel – are the comments from their audience positive in response? 

  • Authenticity

    How they talk about other brands – do they seem authentic in their opinions and are they honest about their experiences? 

  • Quality

    The quality of their content – how good are the images, and the text with their social media posts? 

  • Top tip

    When you make contact with an influencer, make sure you ask for a media kit or professional references of completed work.

5. How do you work with an influencer?

Finding and working with an influencer can be daunting. Please use our three simple steps to make this process easier.

Three steps to find an influencer

  1. 1

    Where to start

    Start by following certain influencers and hashtags on X (Twitter) and Instagram to get an idea of the content out there. It’s also a good idea to do some research on the top influencers in your chosen market.

    Check out a good UK list by Vicky Flip Flop on

  2. 2

    What to ask for

    Be upfront about deliverables and expectations. If possible, draft a contract to set up the agreement of your collaboration. This can include:

    • number of posts published per day and on which platform
    • minimum engagement expected
    • use of pictures
    • content creation
    • fees

    Deliver a detailed brief on what you expect from them. Be clear on what you want them to do.

  3. 3

    Make it personal

    Create a bespoke proposal adapted to their audience and interests – but be flexible!  An influencer might have a certain angle for a trip that you may not have thought of.

    Remember: Organise activities their followers will also be able to do if they decide to come to Scotland.

6. What free tools are available to help you?

You can use these free tools to discover how well a certain influencer's content performs on similar pages to your own. This can help you decide to enter a partnership with them.

You can also use it to track this partnership's success once it goes live.

Useful links

7. ASA guidelines and disclosing partnerships

This becomes important when a brand gives an influencer a payment. Once you make a payment, any posts promoting or endorsing the brand or its products or services become subject to consumer protection law.

Payment means:

  • any form of monetary payment
  • commission
  • a free (loan of a) product or service, whether requested or received out of the blue
  • any other incentive

Stay up to date on requirements for influencers and brands.

Learn how to add a blogger, disclose a partnership, and access statistics in branded content on Instagram.

8. Working with VisitScotland

At VisitScotland, we work with a variety of different influencers who make all kinds of inspiring content. You can check out some of the amazing partnerships we have organised as part of Scotland:Life.

Scotland: Life was a unique project, involving global vloggers and Instagrammers. They experienced the true Spirit of Scotland through the eyes of the people that have made the country their home.

Check out our Scotland: Life page.

From time to time, we will ask businesses to host an influencer, and in this case we have a campaign lead who will organise the negotiations.

  • Our campaign lead will:

    1. creating a campaign / activity brief
    2. researching relevant influencers and create shortlist
    3. outreach by contacting the short list to outline the campaign and gauge their interest
    4. negotiation stage – confirming deliverables, fee and dates
    5. sending influencer contract to sign
    6. booking travel, accommodation, activities and anything else as required
    7. executing trip
    8. amplify / engage content
    9. reporting and feedback

Related links