Influencer marketing can be a great way to increase sales, awareness, and credibility for your brand — if you do it right.
As valuable as influencers can be to your business, there’s one crucial element that can’t be overlooked: finding the right influencer for your brand. Make no mistake: your choice of influencer could mean the difference between a great campaign and an unsuccessful one.
Let’s take a look at the most important pieces of information you need to have in order to make the best choice for your brand and get the most out of your influencer experience.
“Influencer” Doesn’t Always Mean “Celebrity”
“Influencer” can refer to a celebrity, but the two terms aren’t interchangeable. Along with celebrities, there are lots of different people who can be considered influencers. Here’s are some examples:
· Bloggers with large audiences
· Popular YouTubers
· Industry experts
· Writers (especially those who regularly contribute to popular publications)
Anybody can give recommendations. The difference between the average Joe and a true influencer is that when an influencer gives a recommendation that recommendation goes out to a larger audience than the average person has; more importantly, that audience usually listens and acts on the influencer’s recommendation.
Maybe you’ve never tried influencer marketing because you assumed you’d have to shell out for an A-list celebrity to endorse your product. Think again.
Choosing an Influencer is a science
It’s not as simple as picking an influencer out of a hat — if it were, we wouldn’t see so many influencer campaigns going off the rails.
The question you should be asking yourself is not if you can hire a particular influencer, but why you want to hire them. In order to figure that out, here are some things you should consider:
· A good fit between your brand/industry and the influencer
· The demographics of the influencer’s audience
· The size of the influencer’s audience
· The influencer’s engagement rates
Influencer/brand fit & demographics: The keys to success
The benefit of influencer marketing isn’t just the ability to reach a larger number of people; its reaching the right people.
What makes influencer marketing so valuable is the ability to put your brand in front of an audience of people who are likely to use it. That’s also why it’s so important to consider the influencer’s audience demographics.
There’s not much value in hiring Selena Gomez (who has a much younger audience) if you own a payroll company — her followers aren’t as likely to buy your products no matter how much Selena Gomez says she loves them.
Identifying a good fit
Finding someone who’s well-known in your industry is only half the battle — you also need to find someone who gives your campaign the greatest odds of success.
To identify the ideal influencer, ask yourself these questions:
· Has the influencer endorsed similar brands or brands in my industry in the past?
· Does the influencer have any causes or charities they support? If so, do they align with any causes/charities that my brand supports?
· Is the influencer’s audience the target demographic for my brand?
· What are the influencer’s interests or passions? Does my brand share them? If not, does my brand address their interests or passions?
Audience size vs. audience engagement: What’s the difference?
Audience size can refer to the number of followers an influencer has on social media, or it could mean the number of people who have signed up for their email list.
Depending on what you want out of your campaign, size may not be everything. After all, a lot of entrepreneurs don’t just want people talking about their brand — they want people buying it.
In that case, the influencer’s engagement rate is more important; that is, how often an influencer’s followers like or comment on the influencer’s social media activity. The higher their engagement, the better your chances of converting fans of the influencer into consumers of your brand.
To get a rough idea of an influencer’s engagement rates, take a look at their social media posts. Divide the amount of average engagement (comments and likes) they receive on their posts by the influencer’s total number of followers.
If an influencer has a million followers but usually only gets 1,000 likes/comments on their posts, their engagement rate is 0.1% — not great. Ideally, you want to work with influencers who have an engagement rate of 0.5% or better.
You’ve identified your ideal influencer. Now what?
This is the million-dollar question. After all, what good is it to know exactly what kind of influencer would be perfect for your campaign if you don’t know how to find them?
Lucky for you, there are plenty of options at your disposal — which one you choose depends on what your goals are for your campaign.
If your brand is in a niche market:
If your brand is in a niche market, you can try BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo is a great resource if you’re looking for what are known as “micro-influencers” — lesser-known influencers with an audience of 10,000-90,000. (This includes the bloggers, industry experts, and writers I mentioned above on Twitter.)
With BuzzSumo, all you have to do is enter your industry in the search box, and they’ll provide a list of influencers who have a solid track record in that industry.
If you need a well-known face:
If you’re looking for a more broad campaign and want to find an influencer who’s already well-known to a larger audience, you can try utilizing search tools within the social network that you are utilizing.
For example, with Instagram you can search for relevant terms by using hashtags, or with Twitter you can search using specific keywords.
If authenticity is your main objective:
Influencers are only effective if their audience trusts that the influencer believes in the brand they’re endorsing and isn’t just trying to sell them something.
You can try searching for keywords relating to your brand on social media. If your brand has a hashtaggable slogan, search that hashtag and see who’s talking about it.
With this method, there’s a chance of finding an influencer who already likes your brand. Finding an organic influencer partner is a great way to lend authenticity to your campaign; just look at Sprite’s partnership with Vince Staples, a longtime fan of the brand.
If you want to help your brand continue to grow, influencer marketing is a great option. Make sure to keep these tips in mind — they’ll make it a lot easier to take the first step in moving your brand to the next level.
Billy Bones is the founder of Booking Agent Info, which provides brands with the contact information for the official agents, managers, and publicists of influencers and celebrities. He also runs Celebrity Endorsers, which provides brands with influencer data including past endorsements, interests, and the charities and causes that they support.