How to Identify the Right Influencers, and How to Leverage Them

You might already know one. In fact, everyone probably knows one. It’s the YouTube superstar, the fabulous Instagram fashion model, or the controversial blogger everyone talks about. They’re what we call influencers, and they the next big thing that the marketing world wants to connect with. Companies, large or small, are looking for influencers to help take their brand exposure to the next level.

Let’s talk about what you’ll need to look for when choosing an influencer and, in general, how to avoid any missteps:

Understand the Goals of Your Influencer Marketing Campaign

This is the first thing you’ll need to do before starting the influencer hunt. You’ll need to define what are your primary objectives and the results you want to see.

A common mistake some marketers make is looking only at the cold numbers – the reach of an influencer. Yes, a high number is good, but it is the results-driving metric you really want to look at. Keep in mind that a good influencer for your brand has so much more to offer than pure numbers or a million followers. Similarly, look past the traditional KPIs, such as CPC, CPV or CPM. Instead, go for deeper qualities, even though some of them may not be as easily quantifiable, like engagement, responsiveness, and similarities between the content and brands they already work with and the content you plan to develop and distribute with them for your own campaign.

Understand Your Target Influencers (and Your Common Audience)

Influencers are specialized in one or more niches, so you will be able to create a directed strategy, right from the beginning, provided you understand the product or service to promote and the content their audiences are expecting to consume. Sure, there are some influencers who may be more generic – think about current events or commentators – blogs and bloggers that deal with virtually any topic, but most of them have a highly specific and targeted following. You want to make sure that audience matches the audience you’re trying to reach.

Simply put, if your company sells dog food, you wouldn’t want to contact Unbox Therapy, but you should definitely pay attention to Cesar Millan’s YouTube channel. Influencer media is exactly that — a form of media. Match your promotion to this media channel as you would any other.

Here are the basics considerations to keep in mind as you shop influencers for your brand:

Relevance – Check out what your influencer’s messages, pictures or videos are all about. Are they right for your company? Is their tone relevant for your brand or product? Is their style right for your company? Just because a blogger has a cuisine blog, doesn’t mean that it makes him or her a guaranteed match for your new range of slow cooking pots. Pick what suits your campaign the closest.

Engagement – Do the readers or followers respond, share, comment, or interact in any way with the content? How many of those readers return? Is there a community of frequent commentators? Also, pay attention to how the influencer engages with their audience. Does he or she respond to their questions and comments? Do you see clear evidence of a real dialogue taking place between the influencer and their audience that your product or service can fit into?

Reach – Yes, reach is important, but don’t fall for it right away. It is, in fact, just a number of unique visitors per post or message. This means that if you are a car manufacturer, a car review vlogger with 5,000 subscribers is way better than a makeup vlogger with 100,000 subscribers. Also, keep in mind that the social platform also matters. A Pinterest influencer might be a better match for a gardening product than a Facebook influencer.

Post frequency – Pay attention to how often an influencer posts, as there tends to be a correlation between the quality, frequency and the responsiveness of their followers. What’s more, frequent, quality posts attract new visitors, growing their following, and in turn, your company’s popularity.

Authority – This metric is difficult to assess, but it’s crucial in the social media world. Authority is about how trustworthy, authentic or reliable is a blogger or social media personality. This is highly important in a lot of areas where people have to make decisions: healthcare products, life insurance, car repair and many others. For instance, a long and detailed review of a healthcare product, from an expert’s standpoint, is critically decisive for many readers. So, is the influencer seen as an authority in their field? Do people follow their advice in pressing situations?

Influencer marketing works and it will continue to work as we approach a new decade, especially if you know the basics behind it. As long as you carefully define your objectives, understand the product or service to promote and choose the right influencer, it should go perfectly. Using influencer intelligence platforms like NeoReach can help with finding the influencers to broaden the reach of your brand.

But always keep in mind that influencers are not merely advertising channels for your content. They are creative people, with ideas and preferences of their own, who want to help your business or product reach their audience, because they believe in it.

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