If you’re a brand looking to promote your products or services, it’s likely you’ve considered influencer marketing as a way to reach new consumers and connect with them through the power of implied endorsement. In fact, it’s probably quite likely you’ve engaged with influencers before.
It’s no secret that influencer marketing is almost essential in today’s age and when done effectively can provide some of the highest returns for your marketing dollars. To read more about the industry, check out our post Influencer Marketing: The Ultimate Guide.
One of the most challenging things brands face when engaging with influencer marketing is selecting the right influencers to work with. We’re going to run through some tips on how to select the right influencers for your campaigns to get the most out of it.
There’s a few things to consider before setting up a collaboration with content creators, but taking the time to thoroughly research will land you the best possible partnerships and highest performing campaigns.
First, you’ll need to define your aims for what you want from a collaboration. Clearly outline your marketing objectives, which could include:
- Brand Awareness
- Building Brand Identity
- Audience Building
- Lead Generation
- Customer Loyalty
- Link Building
Once you understand exactly what your aims are, you’ll be able to narrow down what kind of influencer will be a good fit and provide the right collaboration.
It can sometimes seem overwhelming trying to find a shortlist of the right influencers, there’s literally millions of influencers to choose from. You can use lists and databases that are available to come up with a list of influencers to start with.
Whether you’re looking to work with 100 influencers on a far reaching product launch campaign or looking for that perfect brand ambassador, it’s vital to do as much research on them as possible before making your selection.
One of the main benefits of influencer marketing is developing trust between your brand and potential new customers, so nailing the research and working with the perfect influencers is the best way to build this trust through authenticity. If an influencer is a good fit, it’s going to seem like they actually like and endorse your brand. If they’re not a good fit, it’s going to come across as inauthentic and you’ll lose out on the potential trust factor.
Another aspect to look at when conducting research on a content creator is their previous campaigns and brands that they worked with. It’s a good indicator to whether they’re a good fit for your brand if they’ve worked with similar companies. You’ll get a good idea about the engagement of these previous campaigns so you know what to expect, as well as having a good picture of the style and quality of content they’re able to provide for you.
When you’ve defined what kind of influencers you want and how many you want to work with on a given campaign, you’ll need to hone in on the size and reach of the influencers you’re looking for. While it’s not always the best metric for reach, the number of followers is still a good benchmark for selecting a shortlist.
For example, you might want to work with a macro influencer with over 250,000 followers to be the face of a campaign. Or you might want to target more specific audiences with 10 micro-influencers in the 20,000 follower mark.
Engagement is really the most important metric for estimating the reach and overall effectiveness of a campaign. You can use free tools to measure engagement which takes into account the follower size, likes and comments. It’s better to use several smaller influencers with high engagement than one high profile influencer with less than 1% engagement.
You can ask influencers for more details on their engagement with the insights on their account, they won’t always be happy to share this with you, but more often than not, it’s a good sign if they do.
Reaching the right audience is the ultimate aim when setting up an influencer marketing campaign, so understanding as much as you can about an influencer’s followers is key to making sure you’re directing your efforts in the right place.
Again, you can ask an influencer for some insights on their account audience such as locations, gender and age ranges. When that’s not possible, you can still conduct your own research by simply going through their account, picking out a few of their followers and analysing their accounts. There’s a lot you can tell from a quick glance at an account and will help you understand whether an influencer has the right kind of demographic in their following for your campaign.
If your campaign is region specific, then you’re going to want to use influencers that best represent that location. There’s no point in marketing your brand to an audience in Mexico if your products are only available in Europe.
It’s fairly straight forward to ascertain where an influencer is based, but it’s also important to consider where their followers are based too. You’ll be able to get some basic indication of this simply by asking an influencer for their audience location information.
For more specific location targeting, you can find influencers by searching location tags on Instagram, perfect for highly targeted campaigns to local audiences.
If you’re promoting women’s fashion items, then there’s no point in working with BBQ cooking influencers. Seems obvious right? But it’s amazing the mismatches that occur regularly from brands selecting influencers who don’t fit their niche at all.
Going through the feeds of influencers should give you a good idea about their niche focus. Quite often they cover fairly broad topics such as “lifestyle” or “parenthood” and other times they’ll be hyper-focused on specific areas. Making sure they fit the right niche is essential for brand fit and a successful collaboration.
Not only is finding the right niche important, this needs to pair with the style of the influencers. They might be in the right niche to fit your brand and products, but if their own style isn’t aligned with your brand image, then it’s not a great choice.
Consider the content they produce, the quality of images and how they go about sharing with their audience.
Another important consideration is the voice that projects their own content to their audience. It’s worth reading as many captions and comments as possible when considering an influencer to gauge how they connect and engage with their followers.
You want their voice to match your brand message as much as possible to be the best possible representation of your brand. Consider the language they use and the tone they employ to really understand their relevance to your campaign.
Not all influencers collaborate with brands in the same way. Some have strict guidelines on how they go about their working partnerships. You’ll need to contact them and negotiate exactly what you want from them and whether they can deliver the right content in the right way before you formally engage with them.
This will come back to your overall marketing objectives and depend on what your main goal is. If you’re looking to drive sales, you might want a product review, ideally on a blog or in a video format. If you’re just looking to boost brand awareness, then one-off feed posts or stories could be sufficient.
Often it all comes down to the money and will depend entirely on your campaign budget. Some influencers will demand quite high fees for a paid post on their feed, whereas others will provide much better value. You may want to spread your budget over several smaller influencers with one bigger “hero influencer” to lead the campaign.
More and more influencers are prepared to work on a commission basis. If an influencer is confident in their ability to promote a product, they’re usually quite happy to work on a commission based affiliate setup. This negates the risk of paying lots of marketing dollars to promote to an unengaged audience or worse, to fake followers and bot accounts.
The commission basis is really a win-win scenario for both the brand and the influencer. If they make sales, great – they’ll earn a success fee for each new customer. If they don’t generate any sales, there’s no risk for the brand.
At Kinsume, we’re working on this model to get the most value for brands and influencers alike. We set up gifting campaigns between brands and influencers to get the products into the hands of content creators and use unique tracking links to track clicks and sales on our system to make sure influencers are rewarded for their efforts.
Hopefully there’s some information in here that’s helpful for selecting the right influencers for your campaigns. It’s really worthwhile taking time to do decent research and making sure you work with the best influencers for your brand and campaign.
One of the best things about establishing a good working relationship with content creators is they’ll always be happy to work with you again. There’s nothing better than having a roster of go-to influencers that you can line up for a new campaign, saving you time and money on the searching and research process each time!