It really goes without saying— but it is certainly no secret that, these days, consumers are becoming more and more skeptical of traditional ads. In fact, many consumers see a traditional ad and immediately lose interest and move on. Social conversation and online content has taken its rightful place, and is now having much more of an impact on how and what people choose to buy. And, when it comes down to the figures, it only makes sense, given the fact that there is currently approximately nearly 2.8 billion active social media users in the world— figures like that are hard for any business to ignore. With that in mind, what can marketers and brands do to get their business at the forefront of social conversation?
The answer is simple: positive recommendations from a trusted source, otherwise known as social media influencers. Social media influencers can be anything from a blogger, to a vlogger or Instagrammer who have built up a loyal following on their respective platform and whose opinion your customers know and trust. Thus, a partnership between a brand and an influencer is a no-brainer. So, how can you go about finding influencers that are a good fit with your business? It is an industry that is truly saturated with experts in every niche you can think of— so how do you know you’re making the right partnerships? In this post, we’re shedding a light on influencer marketing, and how you can find those that will benefit you.
1. Decide why your business needs influencers
First and foremost, the most important thing for you to understand is why you think your business needs influencers. If you’ve only decided to invest in influencer marketing because everyone else is doing it, you could end up making a loss. It truly is a wasted investment if you approach it in the wrong way. In order to gather a clearer idea, ask yourself questions such as: what outcome do I want to see from my influencer campaign? Plan your influencer campaigns with a specific objective in mind, and it will not only help to keep both you and the influencer goal-focused and on the same page, but it will also help you to stay on-budget.
2. Understand your audience
Next, you need to understand your audience. Before you go hurriedly scrolling through your feeds to pick out a handful of top influencers, you need to understand the wants and interests of your specific audience. It’s important to keep in mind that not every fitness influencer, beauty influencer, fashion influencer and food influencer has the same kind of target audience. Some may target certain aspects of their niche, such as a fashion influencer who targets plus-sized women, vs another who targets middle-aged men. Or perhaps a food influencer who targets vegans, vs another who targets meateaters. So, what do you need to do in this case? It’s simple: you need to ensure that your target audience matches that of your influencer’s. This way, you can be sure your product or service is shown to relevant audiences who may actually be interested in whatever it is your business has to offer them.
3. Look at more than just the vanity metrics
Once you’ve narrowed down the specific type of influencer you’re going to want to partner with, it’s time to evaluate them. It is absolutely imperative to keep in mind that size doesn’t always matter— stop focusing on just the vanity metrics. Vanity metrics include the follower count, subscribers, page views and other flashy analytics that, admittedly, look good on paper, but do not tend to offer anything in terms of value. These days, it’s becoming easier for social media users to fake their followings, and your influencer marketing is going to be nothing but a wasted investment if you are working with people who are not actually influential. So, what can you do? You should dig deeper, and evaluate parameters such as engagement, authenticity and reach— with engagement being arguably the most important.
An influencer worth your time and investment is one that has a loyal following that is truly interested in their content. Evaluating an influencer’s engagement is essentially a measure of how much they are capable of influencing their followers’ purchase decisions. With that in mind, ask yourself: can they open up a social conversation? Does their following comment and share? These are the true indications of how meaningful those relationships really are.
4. Utilise social media
Now that you know exactly what you’re looking for, the last question is: where do you actually look to find the right influencers? It really goes without saying, but social media is of course the easiest way of finding the right influencers for your brand. You can find them through relevant hashtags, if you like their content and aesthetics, and it’s very easy to see from looking at their platform if their target audience will align with your own. Social media is also a great tool for monitoring engagement, as you can plainly see how much engagement the influencer is getting on their content. There are also handy third-party tools such as SocialBlade, which can help you to check and monitor the authenticity of each influencer.
Written by Stuart Cooke Bog Editor at UniBaggage.com.