The suitable match: Learn how to discover influencers to your model’s advertising marketing campaign
Despite all the food for thought claiming influencers are a dying breed, influencer marketing is undoubtedly here to stay. 63 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget over the next year.
When considering an influencer marketing program, your options are many. There are an estimated 500,000 active influencers on Instagram alone, and platforms like TikTok are breeding a completely new generation of influencers. The real challenge, however, is narrowing down those options and knowing how to find the right influencers for your brand.
It’s not enough to just sign a well-known influencer with thousands (sometimes millions) of followers. When their values don’t match those of your brand, a controversial post can quickly turn into a PR nightmare. On the flip side, a well-matched influencer can build an authentic and loyal relationship with a brand that is much stronger in the eyes of consumers. Knowing how to research influencers makes all the difference.
In this article, we’ll show you how to find the right influencers for your brand before working together, and highlight the warning signs marketers should look out for.
Know what to look for before you start looking
Working with an influencer carries a number of risks and opportunities. Since influencers have to consider their personal brands, they can decide how to present your brand’s message in their feeds. This is why it’s important to make sure that everyone you work with wholeheartedly believes in your brand’s values and authentically represents your brand to their followers.
For example, if your brand is invested in diversity and inclusion, ideally your influencers’ messaging should also promote the same values. If you’re a clothing brand that values radical transparency, you probably want to partner with an influencer who is interested in the manufacturing process and pricing of items.
Take the time to review your company’s alignment and values before you begin looking to ensure that alignment. Write down the values that matter most to your brand and how they will appear on your brand’s social messages and content. Then narrow down the influencers and target like you would if you were targeting prospects based on that information. Create an ideal influencer person if that helps, and use tools like social media monitoring and listening to narrow your options.
Knowing how to find the right influencers for your brand is the difference between making sure your marketing collaboration makes the landing and a campaign that breaks down with your audience. While you can’t control every post an influencer makes once you start collaborating. However, you can get an idea of what to expect by looking at how he’s already using social media. With your shortlist of potential employees, you can now start diving into the social metrics to find the right influencer for your niche.
Reconsider which influencer metrics are most important
Trust is a must to ensure influencer marketing is successful – and brand-influencer misalignment is a quick way to break that trust. A brand trust report found that 63% of 18-34 year olds trust what influencers say about brands more than what brands say about themselves in advertisements. To harness that trust without breaking it, you need to know how to research influencers whose values align with your brand’s.
To this end, some social metrics are more important than others. Here are four that really make a difference:
1. Meaningful content and conversation.
The first place you can look past the size of the followers is of course the actual content that an influencer shares. Scroll through each influencer’s feed (across all platforms, not just those your organization is interested in) to get a feel for the types of messages they send and support. Would you like to link your brand to this influencer’s social posts? Does your content inspire the conversation? If so, what types of conversations are taking place in the comment section and is this influencer taking the time to respond?
For example: London-based influencer Nià the Light hosts Q&A vlogs on her YouTube channel where she takes the time to answer questions from followers, ranging from her post-quarantine plans to her dealings with Criticism is enough.
What you’re looking for is a feeling that the influencer’s content not only aligns with your brand’s values, but that they really enjoy maintaining those values and connecting with their audience through it. Maybe they are sharing user-generated content from their own followers that drives polls, body positivity, or whatever other thing your brand cares about. These are good signs of a value adjustment.
2. Credibility in your industry.
By looking at an influencer’s content and comment threads, you can also get an idea of their familiarity and authority on topics that interest your brand. Do your comments sound informed and do they show clear expertise on the topics that are most important in your industry?
Take Jason and Nikki Wynn, who run the travel and sailing account, Gone with the Wynns on YouTube. After several years of sailing and vlogging, it’s no surprise to see the Wynns know a thing or two about which video cameras are perfect for the budding sailor.
Another place to find information about this is an influencer’s follower list and who they are following. If a lot of your followers are inactive influencers or even fake accounts, that’s not a good sign. Look for some of the thought leaders and publications that your brand is keeping up with. This is an indication that you are on the same page.
3. Commitment where it matters.
While we all know engagement is important, making sure it’s the right type of engagement for your brand is also important. For example, a homeware brand is likely to want to partner with an influencer known for their DIY projects and actively engaging with others in the crafting community. And airlines will no doubt want to partner with someone whose post gets as many likes and comments about their recent trip as their non-travel content.
In other words, look beyond an influencer’s most popular posts on their feeds and rate the posts that aren’t getting thousands of likes. Is there a noticeable difference in engagement when an influencer shares a post with the hashtag #Ad versus non-sponsored posts?
These kind of details show an influencer’s ability not only to connect with an audience that shares your brand’s beliefs, but to feel themselves in ways that feel real. Look for influencers who not only post about the topics that interest your brand, but are also as or more engaging with them as the rest of their posts. This way, you can be sure that the influencer’s own brand shares your brand’s values for a one-two that is sure to resonate with both audiences.
4. Relevant and supportive audience.
Of course, you want an influencer whose audience overlaps with your brand’s, but not too much. The goal of working with an influencer should be to keep growing your customer base. Therefore, look for influencers whose followers are ready to learn more about your brand.
Check out the comments section of an influencer’s recent posts to get a feel for how their audience is reacting to branded content and what kind of community they are building. Social media often serves as a public space. Complaints are posted, and comments, releases, and retweets are not always all positive. If half of an influencer’s audience is there to troll, argue, or react negatively to posts promoting a brand, you need to know.
However, don’t overlook an influencer who takes the time to manage followers by curtailing unconstructive comments and addressing legitimate criticism. You can also measure an influencer’s future reach by observing whether their audience and engagement have increased or plateaued over time. If you are seeing a lull or even a drop in growth and engagement, you may want to reconsider or wonder what factors can be contributing to these struggles.
You have found the perfect influencer. What now?
So you’ve found an influencer who shares your brand’s values and has a receptive, engaged audience. That’s great! There are a few final things that you can do to ensure success.
In addition to doing your own research, ask influencers to provide their media kit when you reach out. Media kits are like an influencer’s résumé – they contain a brief bio, social stats, and examples of previous work with related performance metrics. These insights can help confirm whether an influencer is right for your brand’s needs.
Another consideration that you also need to consider is your budget and its pricing. It is not unreasonable to ask if the audience made purchases as a result of their influencer marketing, and if so, at what price and for what types of products. This will help you determine if this relationship is generating adequate ROI and making a positive contribution to your collaboration goals, be it awareness or lead generation.
Long-term relationship building ultimately leads to successful influencer marketing campaigns. Once you’ve identified an influencer and established a relationship, you need to nurture that connection. There is no better influencer than someone who is really in love with your brand.
Are you ready to get your influencer partnership up and running and do you want to track the performance of your collaboration? Learn how to create, manage, and report on social media campaigns in Sprout to get the most out of your influencer partnership today.