Achieving your goals for influencer marketing starts with finding the right influencers.
Finding the right influencers for your influencer marketing campaigns is a critical step in building or running your program. Get it right, and you’re on your way to creating great content and experiences for your audience that give you a sizeable return on your investment. Get it wrong, and you’ll lose time, money, and possibly even risk your brand equity.
Sounds a little scary, right?
But if you have a clear picture of what you’re looking for in influencer partners, it doesn’t have to be. And the benefits to your business when you get it right are worth some planning.
The right influencers improve campaign performance
If Instagram ultimately decides to roll out the removal of “likes”, brands need not worry. The real value of working with influencers goes much deeper than having someone in your target audience “like” a sponsored post. It can positively impact the sentiment around your brand, introduce your brand or products to a new audience, and provide concrete sales results from your influencer marketing efforts.
The metrics that matter for your influencer marketing campaigns will depend on your goals, but for any marketer evaluating if a campaign or channel is worth it, an easy way to think about it is in terms of inputs and outputs.
How much time, effort, money, or other resources are we using for this campaign?
And accordingly, how much awareness, engagement, sales, attendees, activations, etc. are we driving from this campaign? As an example, earned media value is often used as a way to measure success.
The lower your inputs and the higher your outputs, the better. You probably have a way of thinking about these two components that work for your organization. The measure for your outputs is so specific to your goals, the best way for lowering the expense of inputs in influencer marketing campaigns is finding the right influencers.
The “right” influencer is someone who not only fits your requirements for a campaign, but is someone who’s professional enough to engage with you and your team. Will they be able to meet deliverables and deadlines? Can they communicate with you effectively throughout your engagement? Are they predictable enough in their tone and scope of coverage that you can avoid any third rails for your brand? Do they have the right production ability to make an end product that’s polished enough for you?
Simply put, you need to find influencers who are easy to work with and who you can trust as a representative of your brand. While finding the right fit with influencer partners isn’t exactly simple – there are some tried and true steps to make sure you’re working with influencers who will get you results.
Tips for Finding the Right Influencers
Here are our tips for how to think about finding the right influencers for your brand.
1. Nail down the demographics
If it’s important, what’s the age and sex you want to see reflected in your influencer partners? What are their topics of coverage? Where are they located? The demographics that will be important to you about your influencers might vary, but these are all typically specifics that you can find through research with a tool or by reading through their bios.
2. Set your reach and engagement criteria
Determine the size of audience you want the influencers to have, from nano (less than 2,500 followers) to celebrity. Then, understand what kind of engagement you want to make sure they have with their audience. Additionally, you’ll want to consider what other brands they’re working with, so you can gauge how much time they can devote to your brand, and whether they’ve worked with competitors.. Implicit in all this is your budget – that will determine the size and number of influencers you can engage.
3. Determine your target audience
From demographics and vitals to interests and income clearly map out the traits of your desired audience so that you can match it with the audience a potential influencer partner has. The best influencer partners will have audiences that directly align with your target, so you’ll know that any campaign you execute with the influencer will get in front of exactly the right people.
4. Define the personality that will fit your brand
Brand personality is an art and a science. You probably have some common understanding of the attributes that define your brand. When you consider the influencers that would be the right fit for your brand, you’ll want them to have similar or complementary attributes around their tone and aesthetic. We recommend starting with 3 adjectives to describe your tone of voice, and 3 to describe your visual identity, and then looking for influencers you feel share those attributes based on their posts.
And don’t forget, once you’ve found the right influencers, you’ll want to brief them and set expectations for how to work with you.
An influencer is your partner
Our CEO recently wrote about the importance of people management in influencer marketing for the MIT Sloan Management Review. It’s an easy-to-overlook aspect of what running an influencer marketing program entails, and managing your partnerships with influencers is much less challenging when you have influencers that fit your approach, process, and brand.
For more help finding influencer partners, check out our success kit for tips and actionable worksheets on how to build your influencer criteria so you can identify the right influencers for your brand.