If you’re planning to use influencers to boost your brand’s marketing efforts, you’re in great company.
Major brand names, such as Nike and Gucci, have achieved great success with their influencer marketing campaigns.
With millions of creators to choose from, finding the right fit for your campaign can feel a bit overwhelming.
While it may be tempting to dive right in and reach out to the first influencer you find on your search, it’s critical to take a step back and do the groundwork first.
Follow this guide to make sure the influencers you select become assets, not liabilities.
Before You Get Started
Keep in mind that there are essential factors to determine before you begin your influencer outreach. Conducting research and outlining a strategy will help you narrow down your search. Ultimately, doing this work up front will save you from becoming overwhelmed during the process.
Set your campaign up for success by taking a moment to outline these important details:
Who Is Your Target Market?
First, determine exactly who your target audience is and which platforms they prefer to use (Social media, blogs, podcasts, etc.) Next, consider whether your product will appeal to a more general audience or a niche market; this will help you determine what kind of influencer you are looking for.
Partnering with a dozen micro-influencers with smaller followings can be a better option for a brand targeting a niche market with a specialty product. However, it might make more sense for brands with bigger budgets to partner with one or two celebrity influencers with millions of followers. That can be especially true for more general products that appeal to a mass market.
Finding The Right Influencers
After you’ve established your target market, then you can focus on influencer discovery. It’s important to find influencers that have earned the trust of your target audience. An influencer who has a following that values their opinion is ideal for establishing equity in your brand.
It’s crucial to find influencers who create content relevant to your product and industry. Consider the example of a company that produces vegan- baking ingredients, with a target market of home chefs. Partnering with a vegan influencer who creates and posts vegan baking videos and recipes on social media would probably be a natural fit.
As you search for influencers, look for those that reflect your brand’s image, values and message. Be sure to analyze their content to make sure their image aligns with your brand. Authenticity is key. If a collaboration feels too forced, it will not be well-received by the audience. However, a great fit will boost both your brand and the influencer’s reach.
Also, do a thorough check for content that is inappropriate or offensive. Working with an influencer who promotes unsafe actions, questionable values or offensive comments can cause severe damage to your brand image. Avoid having to repair future damage by vetting influencers carefully during influencer discovery.
Beware of Fraud
Any lucrative industry has the potential to draw fraudsters. So, although it’s unfortunate, it’s no surprise that it’s estimated that up to 20 percent of influencer’s followers are fake. Usually, they’re either bots or companies that provide engagement and follower growth services. These companies hire people to follow, like and comment on an influencer’s social media posts.
Some telltale signs of influencer fraud are influencers who have large numbers of followers in odd locations. Also, as you search, look out for influencers with many followers that have inactive profiles (little to no content and followers) and make generic comments on posts.
Luckily, influencer marketing tools can do most of the heavy lifting for you. Platforms like IZEAx Discovery can get you access to valuable insights during your search. For example, determine an influencer’s fake follower ratio or learn about their audience demographics, such as location, age and gender. Leveraging a tool can help you conduct thorough and efficient research, saving you many hours of work.
Being an influencer is a full-time profession for many, so before you start searching for influencers, plan a budget with compensation in mind. For example, if you run a local business, some influencers, especially those just starting, might be willing to post content in exchange for product. However, most established influencers who work with top brands have media kits that tell you their rates for specific deliverables. Additionally, you can understand what influencers typically charge based on their follower count. Check out our Influencer Tier Guide for more information on rates.
Turn Influencers into Brand Ambassadors
Brands get the best results when building long-term relationships with influencers. Repeatedly partnering with an influencer reminds their followers that they can trust your brand. In addition, a long-term partnership with an influencer allows you to learn more about the content their followers respond to and the products they are looking for.
Sometimes, you don’t have to look that far to find influencers that will yield the best results for your campaign. Your brand might already have relationships with potential influencers hiding in plain sight on social media. Even your most loyal and enthusiastic customers could become top-earner for your brand.
The Bottom Line
Choosing the right creator is the most critical part of the planning process. Doing the research upfront can not only save you time and money but can ensure your influencer marketing campaign runs smoothly. If the campaign ends up being a win-win for both the brand and the influencer, you can expect to build a long-lasting relationship that will yield positive results for years to come.