We've all been there. You've carefully selected a list of potential influencers to work with, only to have them ghost you or deliver sub-par results.
It can be a frustrating process and one that can leave you feeling like you're just throwing darts in the dark. But it doesn't have to be that way.
It's no secret that social media is a powerful tool for marketing and influencing audiences. What may be less well-known, however, is the importance of selecting the right influencers to work with in the first place.
In this post, we'll explore some best practices for hand-selecting influencers and discuss how to determine whether or not an influencer is a good fit for your brand or campaign. Keep reading to find out.
How to Choose the Right Influencer for Your Brand
There are a lot of influencers out there — social media stars rising to prominence seemingly overnight. With so many options, it can be tough to decide who to work with.
According to Earthweb, there are between 3.2 million and 37.8 million influencers worldwide — enough to spin your head around on finding the right influencer fit to represent your brand.
But we're here to share some of our best practices and tips on how you can hand-select the perfect influencer for your brand.
1. Consider the three Rs of influence
We live by our Three Rs: Relevance, Reach, and Resonance.
Relevance is all about making sure the influencer's audience is a match for your target demographic. There's no use working with an influencer who has mostly teenage followers if you're trying to reach middle-aged women, for example.
Meanwhile, reach is a measure of how many people an influencer can reach with their content. An influencer with a large reach can help you expand your brand's visibility and boost your chances of being seen by potential customers. But remember, the larger the following, the lower the organic reach rate. So, overpaying for a big following doesn’t mean you’ll get more actual reach.
And then we have resonance. This is all about how well an influencer's values and style fit with your brand. You want to make sure that the influencer you're working with is someone whose aesthetic and messaging are in line with what you're trying to achieve.
For example, if you're a luxury fashion brand, you'll want to look for an influencer who posts high-quality photos and whose personal style is chic and polished.
Making sure these 3 R's are in check will help you narrow down your options and choose an influencer who is more likely to be a good fit for your brand.
2. Understand Industry Niche Influencers
In today's social media-driven world, influencers can be found in just about every industry niche. If you want an influencer in the gaming industry — you have it!
But while influencers may have a lot of sways, that doesn't mean they're always easy to find or identify. After all, influencers aren't usually those who are shouting the loudest. Instead, they're the ones who are quietly driving the conversation and shaping public opinion. Influence and reach are not the same thing.
That's why it's so important to take the time to understand your industry niche and its influencers. By getting to know the influencers in your field, you can better position yourself and your business for success.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Follow relevant hashtags and conversations. This will help you see who the key influencers are in your industry.
- Set up Google Alerts for your industry niche. This way, you'll be alerted any time there's news or activity in your field — and you can see who's driving the conversation.
- Check out industry-specific conferences and events. This is a great way to network and connect with other professionals in your field — including influencers.
Learn more about niche influencers here.
3. Keep an Eye on Engagement Levels
Engagement is a key signal when it comes to analyzing influencers. After all, what's the point of working with an influencer if their followers aren't actually engaged with their content? Of course, most brands want to drive sales or build awareness. But engagement rates are universally available and are a good proxy for an active audience, which is the first step in getting your content seen.
That's why it's so important to keep an eye on engagement levels when you're looking for influencers to work with.
There are a few different ways you can do this:
- Check out their social media comments. See if their followers are leaving thoughtful, insightful comments on their posts. If they're not, that's a red flag. Also, if you see lots of single emoji comments from accounts with jibberish names, that could indicate they are buying engagements.
- Take a look at their likes and shares. See if their followers are liking, sharing, and commenting on their posts. This is a good sign that they're engaged with the influencer's content.
Keeping an eye on engagement levels helps you weed out the influencers who aren't actually driving engagement — and focus on those who are.
The Vetting Process
Now that we've gone on the basic things you need to know when choosing an ideal influencer to work with — let's talk about how you can vet the right influencers who fit the bill.
Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind during the vetting process:
Vet for 'Influence Potential'
These days, everyone wants to be an influencer. But they're not called influencers for simply being 'viral'. That's why, if you're looking to work with influencers, it's important to vet them for their 'influence potential'.
Remember that having a high degree of influence doesn't mean they have a large social media following. An influencer might have a large social media following, but if their followers aren't particularly engaged or influenced by what they say, then they're not going to be much help in promoting your brand. Look for influencers who have a high degree of influence over their followers.
So, influence potential is a careful look at engagement rate, the authenticity of followers and authenticity of engagement, and the growth of the influencer’s account. This isn’t nearly enough (as we’ll outline below), but this first step helps ensure that these folks can reach a real, engaged audience. That’s step one.
Vet for the 'ABCs'
From the 3 Rs to ABCs: Audience fit, brand fit, and content fit. All have to be together.
Audience fit is ensuring that the makeup of their audience (age, location, interests) matches the audience you’re trying to reach.
Brand fit means that the influencer’s overall niche, content, and persona are aligned with your brand values. For example, you may want to engage a politically active influencer for one brand but stay completely away from politics for another.
Content fit means that you can imagine them creating content about your brand even if you weren’t paying them, and they are creating the right type of content. Do you need a YouTube influencer or a TikTok? Photo? Video? Stop motion? Blog? Match the content strength to the program objectives.
Vet for Credibility and Perception
Once you’ve finished the ABC review, take a look at the overall reputation of the influencers on your list.
Credibility is key when choosing an influencer. You don't want to be associated with someone who is known for endorsing shady products or engaging in drama.
Perception is also important. Even if an influencer is technically credible, they may not be the best fit for your brand if their image doesn't align with your values. It's all about finding someone who will reflect well on your brand and help you reach your marketing goals.
In a nutshell, things to look at when vetting for credibility and perception include:
- FTC (disclosure) Compliance
- Saturation rate
- Non-compete (have they worked for your competitors?)
- Overall reputation.
Remember, never skimp on influencer vetting.
Strategize Campaigns and Content
Once you've selected the influencer or influencers you want to work with, it's time to strategically start planning your campaigns and content.
This is where things can get a little tricky, as you'll need to strike a balance between letting the influencer be themselves and maintaining some degree of control over the messages being put out there.
The best way to do this is to develop a strategy for your campaigns and content ahead of time. This will give you a road map to follow and help you avoid any potential pitfalls along the way.
Stay Ahead of the Curve: Work with an Expert
Influencer marketing is a complex and ever-changing field.
To be successful, you need to stay ahead of the curve and have a finger on the pulse of the latest trends and developments. Of course, working with an expert can help you do just that.
At Carusele, we're always on top of the latest trends and changes in the influencer marketing landscape. We are passionate about helping you navigate your way through your desired campaigns and hand select influencers who best represent you.
Find out more about that. Connect with us today!