– Forbes Agency Council by Matt Frary –
Influencer marketing has become a trendy marketing tactic that bridges together brands and consumers by engaging the most influential people in specific industries. It isn’t a new trend, though. In China, key opinion leaders are essential to most brands’ marketing strategies. And in the U.S., many leading brands either have or are beginning to create influencer marketing plans. It’s not a trend that’s going away, so marketers need to pay attention to it.
Finding the best influencers for your brand is not easy. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to picking a sports team. You can spend a huge amount of money on star players for your team, but that approach means you could miss someone who can consistently deliver but doesn’t have that same kind of swagger. Brand are oftentimes choosing influencers with the most followers or bravado, but not those who make an impact or have the actual reach you need.
At SmarterChaos, we have managed influencer campaigns for various major brands. We choose influencers based on their real engagement versus fake paid followers, and on relevant content, their constant engagement with their audience, their pricing and their authenticity with brands. We also identify them based on demographics, personalities, platforms they are strong on and much more.
We go through a rigorous process to select people who are not only influential, but who are the most influential for the particular goals a brand has. We always want to make sure the influencer is a good match for our brand’s audience and that our brand will resonate with the influencer’s audience.
There are a lot of questions you can ask yourself to try to figure this out. Does the influencer match your brand personality? Is their content a good fit for the voice and tone of your brand? Does their audience actively engage in their content (like, comment, share)? And do the demographics match up — not only the general demographics but the demographics of the people who are actually engaging with the posts?
Here’s an example: If you have a jewelry brand that wants to reach women over 30, an influencer in the general sense of the word could be a celebrity who has millions of female followers over the age of 30. But a better influencer could be someone who has only thousands of female followers in that age range, but they regularly buy jewelry and comment about the jewelry they buy.
There’s a difference between those two pools. One is broad and far-reaching, and the other is targeted but reaches the exact right audience. We look for targeted influencers, the ones we know will convert.
Measuring a person’s influence is a tough, subjective task. There are so many things that can be looked at, and they can be sliced a number of ways. How much should you care about their overall number of followers versus their history with brands and their content or tone? Is their personality the most important thing, or are their engagement numbers the metric to consider?
As a brand, you have to choose what works best for you. Different industries, of course, call for different influencers. Some platforms are better than others. For instance, Instagram is often better for fashion because of the pictures, and we see that Facebook might be better for some “mom” brands.
In addition, we measure the success of a campaign on the reach of the influencer’s message, the engagement and the overall sales produced — the sales that we can track as originating from the influencer.
Back to the sports analogy. Imagine you’re drafting your best possible baseball team. Pulling in the flashy celebs will be pricey, and they might not live up to the hype. The opportunity with influencer marketing is to find the rookies or the under-recognized stars who get the crowds going and are consistent with their performance, game after game.
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
- Look at the influencer’s past. Do they write in a way that works for your brand? Are they brand-friendly? Do their posts seem to fit with your brand standards?
- Consider your industry. Influencer marketing can work for just about any industry, but it has to be viewed through different lenses. The influencer strategies that work for a shoe company won’t be the same ones that work for an insurance company.
- Measure everything. One of the biggest mistakes people make is starting a campaign without a clear measurement plan in place. Be sure that you’re tracking every single click, and that you’re matching those clicks to your return on investment (ROI) so you wind up with a solid picture of how effective your influencer marketing is.
Don’t get so caught up in the hype of influencer marketing that you forget to make sure all the boxes are checked. So slow down, make sure you’re choosing the right influencers and set up a clear measurement plan. Engage the influencers who are right for your brand. Empower them to represent the brand to their followers. And make the most of this lucrative new marketing channel.