Influencer marketing is the bridge between old and new marketing. It connects your brand with a powerful voice that speaks to an engaged audience. Usually, influencers, figures or personal brands, have better engagement than a brand. People love to connect with a person, to see the face behind the screen and brands need a more complex strategy to achieve that level of such a close connection.
Influencers are people from lots of niches. They can be anywhere, but what makes them influential is their community, the large number of followers that engage on social media and the web. It can be a well-read blogger, a photographer, an expert on the field, a respected marketing CEO or executive. Each industry has its own influencers, and finding them might be tricky if you don't know where to start.
For that, we've thought of talking with some of the best digital marketers, brand managers, founders and lots of experts that developed successful influencer marketing campaigns and worked in the past with social influencers.
We asked all of them the same question to compile a list of insights on influencer marketing:
Which are the best tips on how to choose the right influencer?
Here's what we find out after talking with them; all the best tips on choosing the right influencer:
- Align the Goals with Your Strategy by Andy Crestodina
- Building the Brand's Interactions by Ann Smarty
- Look Through the Influencer Content Creation by William Harris
- Bring Value to Them by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Use Influencer Discovery Tools by Anna-Marie Odubote
- Try Word-of-Mouth by Jeff Bullas
- Identify People That Align with Your Values by Hailley Griffis
- Leveraging Less Well-Known Influencers by Tom Lloyd
- Understand the Influencer’s Tone and Values by Shane Barker
- Focus on What Influencers Want, Not What You Want by Ian Cleary
- Take the Time to Do the Research Correctly by Artem Minaev
- Answer Is in the Numbers by Vlad Falin
1. Align the Goals with Your Strategy by Andy Crestodina
Andy Crestodina, Co-Founder of Orbit Media Studios recommends aligning the goals with your influencer marketing strategy. Pick a brand influencer and a channel that will drive the outcome you're looking for.
|Partnering with key influencers in some channels will drive awareness, but no traffic (ex: Instagram). Other influencers and channels may drive traffic, but no email signups (ex: blog interviews). Collaborations that involve signup or registration (ex: gated content and webinars) can drive email list growth.|
|Co-Founder Orbit Media Studios|
Before you pick a channel, pick a channel and format that aligns with your marketing goals. This handy little chart may help.
2. Building the Brand's Interactions by Ann Smarty
Ann Smarty, Founder of ViralContentBee, says that brand's interactions are a great way to start a relationship with influencers.
|I prefer to work with influencers who I have already interacted with. This way I know the kind of response they are likely to generate, and how "real" their following is. So prior to starting any campaign, I suggest building the brand's interactions with.|
|Founder of ViralContentBee|
Here are a few ways to find influencers with real following and active interactions:
- Visit niche Twitter chats (a variety of those) and keep an eye on active participants and hosts there. These are influencers who actively use Twitter and spend time building a community there.
- Look for expert interviews on your topic and look for people who provide thoughtful advice. These are influencers who know their thing.
- Use Twitter lists to keep in touch with niche influencers on a regular basis. For any active Twitter discussions, reply to Twitter comments to get a better feel of who is active in your niche.
- Monitor your competitor's brand name to learn who is actively promoting your competitors (Can you win them on your side?)
3. Look Through the Influencer Content Creation by William Harris
William Harris, Marketing Expert at Elumynt.com, suggest looking through the online content before deciding on the influencer you'd like to work with.
|As an advertiser, I'm less concerned about an influencer's following.
For me, picking the right influencer means looking through their creation, and finding someone that knows how to tell a great story in the formats that I'm looking for with the ads.
|Marketing Expert at Elumynt.com|
Then take that content and use it to reach many more millions of people through advertising on your media markets, and drive directly attributable revenue.
4. Bring Value to Them by Gary Vaynerchuk
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia explains that in order to find influencers you need to show them value. You want influencers because you want them to bring the thousands or millions of people that pay attention to them over to your brand, but you might not necessarily have the capital or resources to pay for a partnership.
|The only other option you have is to get very personal, and very creative. Think of what would bring value to them, not just you.|
|CEO of VaynerMedia|
For example, if you want to partner with a male fitness influencer in New Jersey, and you know he likes the Jets, send him a custom Jets jersey when you send over your product.
Personal touches and practicing kindness like this will go an extremely long way in increasing your chances of garnering publicity from influencers in the early stages of your business.
5. Use Influencer Discovery Tools by Ann-Marie Odubote
Anna-Marie Odubote Creative Copywriter at SocialChain, explains that to find influencers that fit your business, you need to have an in-depth understanding of your own brand and how you want to be perceived.
|There are many influencer discovery tools online that you can use to identify influencers in certain categories and countries. If you want to find more bespoke influencers, the best way would be to manually search social media.|
|Creative Copywriter at SocialChain|
6. Try Word-of-Mouth by Jeff Bullas
Jeff Bullas, Founder at JeffBullas.com, acknowledges that finding the right influencer for your digital marketing strategy might seem like a daunting task, but there are tools at your disposal.
|The good old-fashioned word of mouth can always work here, too. Ask some of your business associates who they’ve used. They might be able to recommend an influencer, or at least start you down the path to finding the right one for your company.|
|Founder at JeffBullas.com|
7. Identify People That Align with Your Values by Hailley Griffis
Hailley Griffis, Head of Public Relations at Buffer, says that here’s no right or wrong way to find influencers for your brand.
|The key is targeting influencers that align with your values and customers. Which leads us to types of influencers: macro-influencers who create a ton of content and your brand ambassador and employees.|
|Head of Public Relations at Buffer|
There are really 4 places to find each type of influencers for your brand:
- Google: A manual process of typing keywords, scanning webpages for contact info, and then keeping track of the info in spreadsheets. I would also lump social media into here – manually searching social channels and hashtags for relevant influencers for a given topic.
- Databases: Do website scraping for you, pulling publicly available data. These are good places to start but be prepared to spend time vetting each social media influencer and communicating with them directly. Find valuable content marketers to have a strong influencer marketing campaign.
- Networks: A network is like an agency that has relationships with the influencers but will require that you go through them to reach out.
- Marketplaces: A marketplace often offers the best of the four options by pulling in real-time information, along with avoiding the middle-person to connect directly with influencers on lots of media markets.
8. Leveraging less well-known influencers by Tom Lloyd
Don’t be afraid of looking further down the list for your influencers. That's what Tom Lloyd, Marketing Director at UserZoom, stands by. Though somebody may not have a huge social media following or be a household (or at least office-wide) name, their views and opinions may have a disproportionately large impact within a valuable targeted audience or community, particularly when it comes to niche topic areas (again, credible and contextual influencer identification is key to surfacing these influencers).
|Focusing more on these stakeholders will also avoid the need to chip away at the “usual suspects” – those well-known social media personalities who regularly grace “Top Influencer” lists, and who are likely already inundated with requests from companies seeking to capitalize on their influence and use celebrity endorsements.|
|Marketing Director at UserZoom|
Build your own program, bespoke to your aims, sector, and resources will increase your chances of success.
9. Understand the Influencer’s Tone and Values by Shane Barker
The Digital Marketing Consultant Shane Barker says the importance of finding the perfect influencer fit for your brand lies in the values.
|You must understand the influencer’s tone and values because it’s crucial that they match those of your brand.|
|Digital Marketing Consultant|
It’s also necessary to take time to build a rapport with them before pitching. The idea is to respect their creativity and develop a relationship with them rather than just use them as marketing tools. They will move mountains for you if you respect them.
10. Focus on What Influencers Want, Not What You Want by Ian Cleary
Ian Cleary of Razor Social says that for establishing a relationship with an influencer is necessary to know what they want. With influencers, it is a synergy of giving and taking. You'll have to build a relationship by offering value.
|Instead of reaching out to an influencer and immediately looking for something from them, focus on what they want, not what you want.|
|Founder of Razor Social|
He gives two examples:
- Imagine if you want to guest posts on an influencer website, instead of reaching out and asking them about guest posting, why don't you reach out with something of value? Say there are some keywords you notice they are not ranking for and could drive them a lot of traffic. Of course, the influencer wants a lot of traffic.
- The second example is if the influencer has a book and they want to get reviews, they want to get ratings, they want to get more promotion on the book. So reach out to them and say " Hey, I am going to write a testimonial. Where do you want me to write the testimonial, and do you want a video testimonial?".
So, focus on what they want initially, not what you want and you'll get a lot better results with your influencer outreach.
11. Take the Time to Do the Research Correctly by Artem Minaev
The research phase is one of the most important in all the process because it helps you get the right influencers to work with, and the one that are appropriate to your audience.
Artem Minaev from FirstSiteGuide stands behind the importance of research and documentation step.
|Not all roses are red, and not all influencers are the best match for your brand. What is most important is whether or not an influencer is regularly contributing about topics that allow them to promote your brand.|
|Management Consult at FirstSiteGuide|
Here's a quick example: SEO is quite a generic topic because it includes distinct sub-topics such as link building, on-site and off-site SEO, and technical SEO, etc. So, chasing an influencer that is writing about SEO might not be the best option for you if, in reality, what you need is content that focuses directly on technical SEO and nothing else.
|Always spend enough time during the research stage to ensure that you are reaching out to the right experts!|
|Management Consult at FirstSiteGuide|
12. Answer Is in the Numbers
Whether you are planning to work with an influencer or theme account make sure to check the level of engagement that they receive from their audience
Vlad Falin from Costofincome says that just by looking through the history of account's posts you can get a feel of the value you will be getting.
|Influencers and theme accounts will give you a price based on their follower number. To you, the number of followers is irrelevant, what matters is engagement.|
|Founder and blogger at Costofincome|
Vlad says that in many cases you will see a 1m Instagram account, getting 10 comments and 5000 likes on its posts. That is a sure sign of a dead account or bots. Rather go for much smaller niche accounts with 100k followers, but with 100 comments and 30 000 views under each post. Follow the chosen accounts for a couple of days, notice the ads that they publish, and the amount of engagement those ads receive. If you see an ad reappearing every few days - it is working for them, and may also work for you.
Studies showed that 63% of people trust social media influencer messages more than brand messages. To rely on influencer marketing will require to make a thorough research first. Your influencer marketing strategy should consist of a win-win situation, it should be mutually beneficial.
The strongest word found in most of the answers was value. More precise, build a relationship by offering value.
Yes, collaborating with influencers means more followers, so you'll be able to grow your business, but you need to show your influencers that you are valuable too. Find out if your target market is the same, the pieces of content are related to your brand/products. The value of influencers doesn't lie in the followers' numbers. But instead, the power of influencers lies in social engagement. If it has a million followers and under a thousand likes and very few comments that is a sign of fake followers.
On the same note, there are lots of content marketers that don't express value. So choose carefully. The experts recommend using tools for better accuracy, create a strategy.