You see them everywhere on Instagram, your favorite influencer advertising their choice of boxed meal kits and subscription boxes. It might get repetitive and irritating to see the same identical posts over and over again but if done right – for brands, influencer marketing is a powerhouse and rightly so as it can generate up to 11 times the ROI of traditional advertising. Why? Because influencers have a wide reach, think millions of followers they can persuade into buying brightly colored shoes and massive shiny earphones embellished with single lettered logos.
However, it can also go awry.
Influencer marketing has become so dominant within the marketing funnel that brands are being fooled by influencers with fake followers. This is why it’s extremely essential to vet a potential influencer for your brand. While they can have an exponential positive impact on your product and/or service, it can also be a disservice if chosen wrong.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing the right influencer to represent your brand.
Know your target audience.
Who is it you’re going to target? Your brand must know it’s key demographic, straight down to what they like to do in their spare time. A customer profile will help your brand define the different categories that encompass your ideal audience which include age, sex, city of residence, education, occupation, interests, salary, political association, and more.
By understanding your target audience and creating a detailed 3D picture of the buyer’s persona, your brand will be better prepared when selecting an influencer. It might seem easy to just assume who your audience is and start creating campaigns left and right but that might be a recipe for disaster.
Take the time to build a profile that encompasses all of this information. A good place to start includes
- Analyzing your customer’s pain points
- How does your product offer a solution
- What’s unique about the solution
- Research your competitors and what they’re doing to target their audience
Building a solid base that begins with understand your target audience will make it much easier to find the influencer that serves your target market. They themselves have skyrocketed to social media influencer status because they know their particular audience and target well.
Define your goal.
Everyone has goals and when dealing with influencer marketing, they should be clearly outlined as they set a clear expectation of what your brand wants from the relationship. When establishing those goals, it’s good to keep in mind the SMART concept: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
Understand how you’ll measure success of that goal whether it’s the sale of product/service, increase in followers, number of engagement metrics, website visits, or something else. While it’s always great to have all these, keep in mind the above-mentioned concept.
- Specific. Be as specific as possible when developing your goal. What is it you want to gain from hiring an influencer and investing in the relationship?
- Measurable. Make sure you can quantify the chosen specific goal. If your brand chooses website visitors as your goal, does it have the tools in place to gather Google Analytic data?
- Achievable. Set a realistic time frame that you’d like your selected influencer to achieve your goal. Whether the influencer will increase your social media account followers, set attainable goals.
- Realistic. Define a realist goal that your brand can achieve when selecting an influencer. Will the influencer increase the sale of your product to $50 million in 6 months?
- Timely. Set a timeline for achieving that goal and stick to it as much as possible.
Defining your goal will make it easier to narrow down your choices whether it’s a vlogger, Instagram model, or Facebook comedian.
Relevancy to brand.
It’s easy to be excited about the number of Instagram followers or video views a social media influencer has, however, it’s important to look past just those vanity metrics. Here’s some pointers that will help you establish whether a partnership makes sense
- Do the influencer’s values align with your brand?
- Does the influencer come off as authentic?
- Do they reach the target audience you’ve defined?
Make sure to deeply research all of their social media accounts. A simple Google search will be a great starting point, but you’ll have to go much deeper than simple.
A great way to start is developing a two-column document and filling it up with your own values and mission. On the other side, you fill out what the influencer’s values and how they’ve represented them in their social media accounts and all public facing websites.
Prepare for the worst.
Contracts are written, and guidelines are set but not everything will go according to plan, think Kim Kardashian and the morning sick medication she endorsed on Instagram. Make sure your bases are covered in case something unpleasantly smelly hits the fan. Remember, once you’ve chosen your brand ambassador, they’re a representation of your brand. They represent what your brand stands for and as much as you’ve made things clear in a legal binding contract, things might take a wrong turn.
- Have crisis management communication ready
- Take action as soon as possible
- Have a PR professional on speed dial
It sounds a bit pessimistic to prepare for the worst when hiring a social media influencer, but reputations are difficult to repair. It’s always good to be two steps ahead when dealing with influencer marketing. Yes, picking the right influencer to represent your brand can seem easy just based off of follower count but know that a number is half the story,
The Wrap Up
The benefits of influencer marketing are monumental. In 2016, influencer marketing programs received $11.69 in earned media value for every $1.00 they spent. When your brand picks the right social media influencer they can
- Optimize the brand content strategy
- Increase sales and followers
- Drive traffic to your website
- Boost shareable content
- Reach your target market and talk through an authentic and credible representative
One of the biggest benefits of choosing an influencer is that they have different price ranges. Depending on whether you want to go A list celebrities or small and focused vloggers, you can reach your niche market. Though keep in mind, choose wisely and strategically.