In the world of influencer marketing, there is no such thing as a concrete formula that will guarantee success for your brand. Influencer marketing is incredibly dynamic, especially as it is still very much in its infancy. Platforms undergo almost daily updates, individual influencers change their priorities and interest and, most significantly, audiences can be fickle. While there are no concrete assurances, there are steps you can follow to best set your influencer marketing program up for success.
Defining your company’s unique influencer criteria is crucial to implementing a streamlined and scalable program. Your influencer criteria won’t look identical to other brand’s, in fact, it won’t even look identical to your competitors – and it shouldn’t. If implemented correctly, influencer marketing does more than highlight your brand’s value, it also highlights its distinctions. To pinpoint the best influencers for your campaign and long-term program, you must have a holistic view of your brand and your goals. What distinguishes you from competitors? What do your customers say about you? Are they saying it on social media? What are some of your own strengths and weaknesses on social media? Through influencer marketing, are you hoping to drive awareness or hit a specific sales goal? What is your budget? Are you under timeline constraints? Asking these questions upfront will put everyone on your team on the same page and mitigate predicaments once the campaign is off the ground.
When you have a clear idea of where you stand and what you hope to achieve through influencer marketing, you’ll be ready to find and connect with influencers. While each strategy should support your brand’s unique characteristics, this checklist will ensure that you develop relationships with the best influencers for your brand.
Niche – There is an influencer for almost every imaginable niche ranging from mommy bloggers to fitness enthusiasts and tech experts. You may know of influencers who create amazing content, but if their subject areas do not naturally align with your brand, they will not return significant value. What are the influencer areas that will best enhance your brand’s digital existence and generate value. Depending on the size of the campaign, it may be wise to branch a bit out of your comfort zone. Influencers are exploring new content niches every day; established fashion bloggers share their diet and exercise routines and family-focused bloggers are producing more content that chronicles that travel expeditions. Tapping into influencers that you may not have originally deemed to be perfect fits will also introduce your brand and products to new audiences and potential customers. If you are a burgeoning makeup brand, it’s logical to align with beauty influencers, but don’t be afraid of branching outside of your comfort zone.
Audience – Who an influencer speaks to is just as important as what they speak about. You may find an influencer whose content is a perfect fit with your brand, but if their primary audience does not line up with your campaign goals, then their content will not drive real value. For example, if you sell luxury handbags with a price point of over $500 and your goal is to drive sales around an upcoming holiday, then an influencer with an audience predominantly in their teens will not help you succeed.
Engagement Rate – Audience size is no longer the ultimate goal in influencer marketing. It’s not enough to just have your name seen by a vast number of social users, it’s more important that those users feel compelled to take an action. Some influencers may have 100,000K followers across their accounts, but only receive 1K likes on average. Finding influencers like this should be an immediate red flag as this means that while people felt motivated to follow them at one point, they no longer care about their content. Determining an influencer’s engagement before offering a contract will help you set realistic expectations.
Reach – Influencers with large follow counts will ensure that your brand and product name reaches more screens. However, large follow counts do not necessarily translate to high engagement. Including a healthy mix of large and small influencers will ensure that the campaign amasses a high reach, but also has the chance to spark real and valuable engagement.
Aesthetic – Visual identity is one of the most influential facets of brand identity. Partnering with influencer who complement your brand’s visual persona will help audiences make a deeper connection between influencer and brand. On the contrary, partnering with influencers whose content shares none of the same design elements or tones may turn audiences off and cause them to question an alliance that is so incongruent.
Proficiency – Most influencers today view their blogs and social accounts and verifiable business practices and subsequently approach influencer campaigns with a high level of professionalism. However, you may come across an influencer that has less experience with brand sponsorship and is, therefore, not as amenable to deadlines, brand guidelines and contracts. Assess how important it is to you to work with influencers who can easily join a streamlined business process.
Now that you’ve checked the items off this list, you’re ready to move on to outreach and cultivating relationships with your designated influencers.