Last year, your brand may have decided to work with influencers for the first time, or perhaps you changed which influencers with whom you partnered. If the latter, then you may simply have been less than impressed with the performance of the influencer’s campaign, or maybe you ended up finding that they weren’t the right fit. Either way, as the influencer market continues to grow, choice of influencer is more important than ever before. So how do you choose someone who will not only care about your brand and uphold associated brand standards, but also appeals to your audience?
Here are five things to be on the lookout for when you first start getting to know an influencer that will indicate whether or not they will be a good fit for your brand.
5 Key Influencer Characteristics To Consider
People don’t connect well with brands who come across as “synthetic” or cold, so it’s important to make sure the influencers representing your brand don’t come across that way either. Choose influencers who are genuinely enthused by the opportunity of working with your brand because they personally enjoy it, because they believe in your brand and its mission.
Start by diving into each potential influencer partner’s pages and profiles. How do they speak? Do their followers engage with more than likes and generic (i.e. bot-generated) “Cool pic!” comments? Take a look at how they represent other brands, if applicable—how would that tone and approach work for your brand? Also consider whether those are the brands that would align well with your own. The best influencer partners portray a sense of humility and belief in what they are representing. Additionally, authentic influencers are more likely to be open to negotiating price because they are strong believers in your brand and what it represents.
Engagement and Audience Size
It’s easy to get distracted by an influencer’s number of followers. What you may not realize is that there are many services in existence that influencers can use to grow their community from 1,000 to 10,000 overnight...but beware, because these aren’t always genuine followers. Basically: bigger does not always mean better! Smaller influencers with follower counts below 10K can sometimes be easier to work with (and often are less expensive). They also have the tendency to share more and over-deliver, in order to impress brands and compel them to offer more work opportunities in the future.
How to tell the difference between organic follower counts and those that have been artificially inflated
The best way to sniff out an influencer who is artificially boosting their numbers is to look at their posts. If they have a lot of followers but they aren’t receiving a lot of engagement on their posts, chances are they are using services to increase their following. Instagram is starting to crack down on these services in accordance with the rules and regulations, however. Bot accounts will be removed by the hundreds, so pay attention to which of your prospective partners is losing followers in large batches. Here’s a tip: if an influencer has only 5K followers (which would make them a “micro-influencer”) yet generates healthy engagement, that is more valuable for your brand than an influencer with 50,000 followers coupled by little to no post engagement .
Reflecting The Audience
With “cancel-culture” being stronger than ever, it is imperative not to ignore who is engaging with your content and buying your products. Most people prefer to align themselves with influencers and brands that share their values and interests. People also tend to value brand feedback from people with similar lived experiences to their own (this can apply to race, weight, economic class, gender, sexual orientation, and so on), as these similarities can provide some insight into whether they might also feel similarly about the product in question.
It’s crucial that influencers working with your brand be able to serve as an extension of your brand values. If your brand cares greatly about giving back to the community, then you most likely will want to work with influencers who share that passion for philanthropy. As another example, if you have a sizeable Hispanic audience on social media, many are likely to respond positively after seeing an influencer partner of similar background, especially one who speaks a shared language. A question to always consider: is this brand ambassador someone your audience will respond to? Who has significant buying power for your brand? A social audience analysis can help paint a better picture of who you should be working with.
Chances are, if you have thought about using influencers as an extension of your social media content strategy, your competitors have considered the same possibility. Go to their social pages and take a look at which influencers are working with them. Consider how they use influencer marketing for bigger collaborations, such as Instagram takeovers and event coverage. Now, think about the potential impact of finding influencers who are different enough to differentiate you from those your competitors and that still align with your target audience. Seek to partner with individuals who have something different and unique to offer that can elevate your brand in a new way.
Other Brand Partners
Many influencers have multiple brand partners, so don’t forget to consider each and determine whether you are comfortable being aligned with that influencer AND their other brand partners. For example, if your brand frowns on promoting alcohol consumption, are you okay with working with influencers who frequently make cocktail recipes? For fresh produce marketers: if you find an influencer who also supports highly processed foods, is that partnership still in alignment with your brand goals, or is that a deal-breaker?
Finding the right influencer for your brand can be daunting if you don’t know where to begin. At DMA, we have worked extensively to build influencer relationships so we can help play “matchmaker” for your brand. Contact us today at email@example.com to get started on your influencer marketing journey!
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