How to leverage the best content influencers for your brand

You already know influencer marketing is a powerful tool for your brand and don’t need us to convince you that it’s here to stay. But, when you invest your time, money, and energy into something, you want to be certain you’re getting the absolute most bang for your buck. Influencer marketing is no exception.

Influencer marketing is a dynamic method for helping brands reach new audiences, increase awareness, and boost marketing ROI. In fact, influencer marketing seems to be all anyone in advertising is talking about these days. With so much buzz, though, what’s not always clear is how to leverage the best content influencers to make this strategy worth your while. 

When done right, influencer marketing has the potential to not only cost less than traditional paid advertising, but you can tap into the influencer’s loyal following for targeted reach that will diversify your content and benefit your bottom line for years to come. And as brands and agencies dedicate more of their budgets to influencer marketing, you must have a detailed plan for how to effectively build a social media marketing campaign around influencers.

Social media networks continue to grow in popularity, which means the pool of influencers is also growing. While that may seem like a good thing, not every influencer is equal. You must first recognize what a strong influencer can provide to your business so that you can work together to maximize your results and cultivate sustainable growth. Leveraging the right content influencer is an art, but many brands are dropping the ball. That won’t be you.

How to find the best influencers for your brand

The best way to build your social media marketing campaign

With consumers across generations spending significant time on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, it’s no wonder that harnessing the power of these platforms is vital for your marketing success. An important precursor to recruiting the right influencer for your social media marketing campaign is identifying the different ways in which various audiences use these platforms. For example, while a baby boomer may be on TikTok, their habits are likely not the same as a Gen Z user.

Target audience quick questions

Before you can even start to think about launching a social media marketing campaign, you need to do audience research. When the time comes to recruit influencers, a vague idea like “millennials” isn’t enough to help you leverage the right content influencer and structure a successful social media marketing campaign. The more specific you can get, the better.

  • Who is your target audience? 
  • Where do they spend their time? 
  • What do they want? 
  • What social media platforms do they use?
  • How long are they logged in on average? 
  • When they’re scrolling, are they looking to be informed or entertained? 

Once you answer these questions and have a clear picture of your target audience, the right social media channels for your marketing campaign will be obvious. Similarly, the right content influencers to put at the center of it will all but jump off the screen.

What a strong influencer can bring your business

Marketers and agencies recognize that today’s consumers want to be told a story, but who that storyteller is can make or break your social media marketing campaign. The right content influencer can bring a human element to your business and boost brand awareness while the wrong content influencer can leave a bad taste in the mouths of consumers and, in some cases, cause irreparable damage. 

For example, even though personal trainer and fitness influencer Kayla Itsines has more than 12 million Instagram followers, she might not be the right choice if your target audience is post-menopausal women looking to get in shape and your product is a line of workout clothes. 

Despite her fame and popularity, Itsines won’t seem relatable to older women, and the campaign will come across as inauthentic (aka the kiss of marketing death in 2021). You’d do better to spend your influencer marketing budget on Denise Austin. She has a smaller following (131,000 followers on Instagram), but Austin caters her content specifically to women over 50 years old.

For your target audience, Austin is better suited to creating positive, proactive content that tells your brand’s story. Partnering with her will build trust for your brand, grow your social following, increase site traffic, generate leads, and drive sales.

Tips to find the best content influencer for your brand

Depending on the size of your marketing budget, you might not have the resources to go after the top mommy blogger in the industry. But, don’t count yourself out of the game just yet. Locking down an influencer with a high follower count isn’t the end all be all. More importantly, you need to look at follower loyalty: How much engagement is an influencer getting?

For smaller audiences (10,000-20,000 followers), the team at Single Grain recommends an engagement rate of at least 5%. Influencers with bigger audiences (more than 20,000 followers) should have an engagement rate of at least 3% to demonstrate that they have a loyal following. 

After determining that a content influencer has an engaged following, you can approach them with a clear campaign objective that includes who the target audience is as well as what the influencer’s main role will be leading up to and during the campaign.

How to work with influencers for maximum results

When you approach influencers about your marketing campaign, be prepared to talk about money. While there is no set formula for rates, most rates are based on the number of followers an influencer has. The more followers they have, the higher the total rate. Don’t be surprised if they also include extras in their rate, such as free products or sales incentives. 

Keep in mind that just like with low-cost reputation management, you often get what you pay for. You need to prepare quality offers to attract quality influencers. To get the most for your investment, consider negotiating a package of posts from the influencer. Cultivating a relationship will give your marketing campaign consistency, help to maximize results, and yield content that you can repurpose for years to come.

You might be tempted to take the lead on the campaign messaging, but the creation process should be collaborative. Remember, you’re paying this influencer because they know how to talk to their audience. If you micromanage that relationship, the resulting content will likely feel forced and inauthentic. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have to grant the influencer free rein but have a system for smart collaboration in place so you can maintain communication with your influencer throughout the process.

From increasing brand awareness and helping you reach new audiences to generating leads and driving sales, influencer marketing is a powerful strategy that is showing no signs of slowing down. To succeed with this still relatively new marketing method, you must put a plan in place to leverage the right content influencers for your campaign.

Influencer FAQs

What is a social media influencer?

A social media influencer is a person who has built a distinct following because of their knowledge and expertise within their niche. They post regularly and engage with their followers, creating a meaningful relationship with people who they would not have otherwise known without their social platform. 

What types of content do influencers share?

Influencers share all types of content, such as helpful tips and tricks within their niche, snapshots of their day-to-day life, and sponsored content.

How do I determine the best influencers to work with?

Before reaching out to influencers, spend some time to get to know your target audience. Then, you can target influencers who will appeal to your target audience. Look at the followers’ demographics as well as engagement and how the influencer uses their platform.

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