Working with influencers is becoming increasingly common for all types of brands globally. Influencer marketing is an incredibly effective marketing tool that harnesses the power of word-of-mouth marketing and amplifies it with social media.
We already know how valuable friend and family recommendations are. But research shows that 61% of consumers trust the product recommendations they get from influencers. And when an influencer recommends your product, they’re recommending it to thousands, or even millions, of people simultaneously. That’s a lot more potential customers coming your way than Uncle John’s one-on-one interaction talking about your product.
But, the success of your influencer campaign comes down to partnering with the right influencer. Keep reading for our tips on how to find the right influencer for your brand and why taking the time to do so is so important.
Why you shouldn’t just partner with any influencer
When you partner with an influencer, they represent your brand. So you want to do some due diligence to ensure that they are, in fact, a good representation. For starters, do their values align with yours? Are there any conflicts of interest with the other brands that they represent?
Influencer recommendations need to be as authentic as possible. This means you want to ensure that the influencer you partner with truly believes in your brand and actually uses your products or services. Consumers can easily spot inauthentic collaborations, and when that happens, the collaboration causes more harm than good. As the inauthenticity reflects on your brand as well as on the influencer.
Partnering with the wrong influencer is also a waste of resources. If their audience doesn’t reflect your audience, you’re unlikely to get any returns on your investment. While influencer marketing may be one of the more affordable marketing tactics (depending on your strategy), it’s still a significant investment. So you want to ensure you’re getting something out of it.
While it’s hard to ascertain a definite ROI for influencer marketing, Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2020 report indicates that you can earn up to $18 in earned media value for every dollar spent on influencer marketing, with the average being closer to $5.78 per dollar spent. This, of course, only happens when you find the right influencer for your brand.
How to find the right influencer for your brand: 5 things to look out for
Social media has quickly become oversaturated with influencers. Depending on the niche you’re looking for, you may find that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential influencers to choose from. But, while they may all look great at first, it’s important to dig a bit deeper to find the best ones.
Here are our five tips on how to find the right influencer for your brand:
1. They already use your brand or service
The quickest way to find an influencer for your brand is to look for the ones already using your product. Many influencers, big and small, share products or services they love without necessarily being sponsored.
These are the genuine recommendations that your brand thrives off of. So when you spot your brand getting mentioned on social media, why not reach out to the influencer and make it official?
You know the content they’ll produce will be authentic, and, since their followers have already been introduced to your product informally by the influencer, they’re more likely to trust their recommendations. Plus, when influencers are legitimately excited to use a product, they’re more likely to produce amazing content.
2. Their content and audience aligns with your product or service
You want to find influencers that reflect your brand’s voice and values. Their audience should reflect your audience. But you also want their content creation style to reflect your brand.
When you scroll through their feed or look through their latest Reels and Stories, can you envision content highlighting your brand fitting in? While it should seem like a natural addition to their feed, don’t be afraid to think outside the box a bit.
While some influencers may have a narrow niche, many have an eclectic mix of interests and can create content around numerous different brands.
Local South African influencer, Misha Levin, is a great example of partnering with unique brands that don’t necessarily blend directly in with her usual content. While her content style is quite feminine, she’s collaborated with construction, solar power, furniture design and even hardware brands.
Partnering with influencers is a great way to target a completely new target audience. Builders Warehouse has done this incredibly well, partnering with various influencers from your typical “mommy blogger” to lifestyle and travel bloggers.
3. They produce high-quality content that gets engagement
As we mentioned above, the content the influencer produces reflects your brand. So you want it to be high-quality content. It’s essential to give the influencer free reign on the content they produce. While you can give them certain guidelines, you don’t want them to feel like they have no creative freedom. Because of this, they must have already demonstrated that they can produce high-quality content and that they put pride and passion into their work.
Many influencers are professional content creators, so there’s no shortage of finding a good influencer that also produces high-quality content. But the trick is finding influencers that produce solid content that gets high engagement.
Beautiful images of your product mean nothing if their audience isn’t engaging with the post. And we mean more than hitting that like button. Strong engagement comes in the form of commenting, saving posts and sharing content.
Before collaborating with an influencer, ask for their average engagement rate and look out for the above mentions. Average likes and follower counts mean very little.
4. They’re professional and take their partnerships seriously
When collaborating with an influencer, you’re entering into a professional partnership. Whether you’re doing a trade exchange or paying them directly, you’re giving them something of value and should expect something of value back.
To ensure that you get that value back, you want to partner with influencers that take their partnerships seriously.
You can immediately spot this when you first start directly engaging with them. Take note of their communication style. Are they prompt at responding? How do they respond? What type of questions do they ask? Do they already have a set rate card and conditions sheet?
Now, it’s a two-way street. For the influencer to respect you, you need to respect them. Don’t come with unrealistic expectations and deadlines, and be sure to hold up your end of the bargain.
5. Their audience trusts them
Contrary to common belief, follower count isn’t the most important thing when looking at an influencer’s audience reach.
The most important thing is that their audience trusts them. Scroll through the comments on their previous posts, and you’ll quickly pick up whether or not their audience respects and trusts their recommendations. You can also ask the influencer for any testimonials or feedback they have from their followers.
Take the time to find the right influencer
Finding the right influencer for your brand is crucial for a successful marketing campaign. It requires careful consideration of your brand’s values and goals, as well as the influencer’s audience, reach, and reputation.
Remember, a successful influencer marketing campaign is not just about the numbers but also about the authenticity and relevance of the partnership. Take your time, be selective, and choose an influencer that truly aligns with your brand’s message and values.