Whether you are active on social media or not, you are probably familiar with the fact that influencers are changing the advertising world as we know it. The main appeal of marketing your product in this way is that influencers know what their audience wants and, even more importantly, how to incorporate your product into their own brand seamlessly.
Because of this, this type of marketing is more user-friendly and more user-oriented than traditional advertising methods. If you are planning to expand your online presence to social media, finding an influencer that’s going to help you grow is the right way to do it.
Which influencers should I take into consideration?
First of all, it is essential to note that the word ‘influencer’ has become a catchall term that denotes anyone who has an above-average following on social media. However, this fact alone does not mean that just about anyone who has several thousand followers should be considered.
From celebrities, travel bloggers, other companies and brands to experts and authorities in the given field, there are various potential collaborators you can choose from, which can be tricky if you don’t have a clear idea about how this type of advertising works.
Hiring an influence to advertise your products will put you on the map
Influencers usually have a particular niche in which they operate, which is good news since this should be your first selection criterion. Therefore, in most cases, it does not make sense to collaborate with an influencer that does not attract the same demographics that typically use your product.
For instance, if your business sells fishing equipment, contacting an influential makeup artist does not make too much sense. Of course, it all depends on what your product is like – if you want to attract a younger, modern audience for your newly redesigned product, then this marketing strategy could actually work.
As you can see, influencer marketing is a double-edged sword, but admittedly, a potentially mighty one if you carefully choose an influencer that will help you grow. Most forward-thinking companies hire influencers because they are useful for targeting loyal audiences that are not yet acquainted with their products.
Let’s take a look at what you should and shouldn’t do in the process of choosing an influencer that shares the same vision as your company.
A capable influencer will know how to seamlessly incorporate your product into their usual content.
Investigate which influencers your own followers tend to follow
As we have stated above, the perfect influencer does not have to attract the same audience as your company. In fact, influencers can reach their followers mostly because people relate to the daily lives of influencers. From your point of view, a sponsored post may seem just like any other advertising stunt.
However, influencers treat it as part of their image and daily routine, and their followers observe the influencer’s slice of life as an honest, unbiased recommendation.
For this reason, checking out which influencers attract your current customers is the first step toward finding out which ones can help you grow and influence on your own. Once you hone in on several candidates, you need to estimate if their fan base has the potential to become your new target demographic.
Of course, if you sell products that are specialized for a particular purpose, it is better to identify key figures in your particular niche – especially if you are just starting to develop your company’s online presence.
Followers usually treat good influencer’s posts not as advertisements but as sincere recommendations
Follower count is not as important as follower engagement is
Usually, when people discuss someone’s popularity, the common currency for this is the number of followers the profile has garnered.
This common misconception stems from the belief that the more followers someone has, the bigger the chances that many people will see their posts. However, as any marketing expert will surely tell you, this is not necessarily the case. What matters is whether the followers engage with the content, not how many of them there are.
A sure-fire way to find out if an influencer sparks your interest provokes the necessary engagement rates is to inquire about engagement statistics with the influencer or their team directly. If you are reluctant to contact a certain influencer immediately, but you still want to have an insight into how valuable their profile may be, be sure to check the comments section of the post.
Influencers who have artificially collected their followers will, in turn, have a small number of likes, reposts, and comments on their posts, or, on the other hand, comments that are conspicuously generic.
With this said, you may wonder if there is anything that is a definitive sign of high engagement rates. Luckily, there is – clicks. This is a true measure of engagement that you should have access to before deciding that you want to collaborate with an influencer. Similarly, the number of followers that click the link in bio and the ‘swipe up’ feature on Instagram are also important signifiers of engagement.
Influencer’s reach is actually not dependent on follower number, but on follower engagement.
Search for popular hashtags or interesting names
Believe it or not, hashtags make all the difference. Seeing which influencers tend to have the most engagement when you type in a certain hashtag is an easy (and free) way to locate not only influencers that are extremely popular but also smaller influencers that nevertheless have a loyal following.
If you would prefer to work with a creative underdog rather than an ‘all-purpose’ Instagram giant, then hashtags or handles (i.e., the profile’s name) can be used to locate the perfect person for the job. For instance, if you are with a company that sells different types of shoes, you might instigate a collaboration with @rubyslippers. This influencer has a decent following, quirky aesthetics, and a memorable name that will make people associate her with your brand.
An additional advantage of collaborating with low-profile influencers is that you can use their creativity to rebrand your product in ways you could not have envisaged yourself. Furthermore, due to their modest following (compared to celebrities, for example), these kinds of influencers are probably more trustworthy in the eyes of their followers when they recommend or use your product or service. This just might help you maintain a good business reputation if your older products or services have attracted a few unfavorable online reviews.
Follow influencers yourself to find out what their aesthetics and rhetorics look like
In order to find the perfect influencer that’s going to help you grow your online presence, sometimes it is necessary to roll up your sleeves and observe the quality of the profiles that you believe are adequate candidates.
As obvious as it may seem, with all professional operations and obligations that come your (company’s) way, this seemingly simple strategy can seem pointless and time-consuming. And we hear you – if they have a large following, their followers engage with their material, and they are content with your introductory offer – why should you bother?
The reason you might want to consider tracking several profiles at a time for a certain period is that you may find something that you dislike in the candidate’s content. A good example would be the rapper and singer Azealia Banks (@azealiabanks), who is known in the industry for her multifaceted talent and creativity. However, she is also known for her Instagram stories that are usually long, offensive rants that provoke scandals more often than not.
Although Azealia’s case is perhaps an extreme one, we are just trying to illustrate that the influencer of your choice may be outspoken and opinionated in a way that would hurt your brand’s reputation.
If you find they are exactly what you want them to be in terms of behavior, it is wise to pay close attention to how they interact with their audience. Do they engage with the followers? Is the influencer’s profile a shrine of self-promotion or a legitimately resourceful place?
Follow influencers yourself to let them know you like their content
Following influencers has other benefits too. Except for the above-mentioned monitoring of quality control of the influencer’s content and demeanor, following influencers also allows you to signal that you are a fan as well as a business partner. If you have chosen a ‘high-profile’ or celebrity influencer, it may not be the case that they will want to work with you from the get-go.
These kinds of influencers choose who they collaborate with carefully – because they are building a brand themselves! By engaging with their content,
you are putting your company on the influencer’s radar.
These are some of the basic strategies you have to employ to select an influencer that is going to help you grow your brand. Most importantly, you need to think in terms of what type of customer you want to attract, and which influencer will do that most efficiently.
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This is a guest post from JP Office. Check one of their websites here