Will TikTok pass Instagram’s number of users? Is there a new platform coming that will steal the spotlight from both of them? It’s hard to predict the next big thing, but one thing is certain – influencers will be there.
With the market growing more than double in size over the last two years, it’s clear that endorsements from prominent content creators have become a valuable asset for any type of business. Regardless of the niche, influencers are a way to get closer to your target group and grab your prospects’ attention.
Let’s go over some important checkpoints that will help you analyze your options and make the best possible pick for your brand.
Set clear goals and consider your foundation
Before you start reaching out to influencers and start your campaign, you should set specific KPIs that will help you reflect on the success once you get to analyzing results. Consider the following goals when establishing KPIs:
- Increase sales
- Increase conversions
- Establish your brand
- Increase your reach
- Build awareness
Having clear goals is a foundation for picking the perfect partner that will help you reach them.
You should also have a firm grasp of what your brand stands for and how people perceive it. By understanding what people love most about your product, it’ll become easier to find somebody that represents the same values.
A well-defined target group and buyer personas also have an important place as part of the choice. They can serve as a filter to help you determine if a collaboration is worth pursuing. For example, if you’re addressing senior professionals, working with an influencer whose community is beginner-oriented isn’t likely to get you the results that you’re after.
Understanding all of these elements can be a base for creating a checklist that can help you compare the potential collaborators down the line. Some of the basic criteria can be:
- Size of the influencer’s community
- Their most frequent topic
- Audience location and demographic
- Where they’ve appeared outside their profiles
- What’s their tone of voice
- How did their content topics evolve over time
While some of the KPIs for your influencer campaign can include:
- Number of new followers on company profiles
- Increase in the number of conversions
- Number of impressions
- Referral codes used to complete conversions
Explore multiple influencer sources
Your search for the perfect person to represent your brand should start close to your industry. Use social media to check the pulse of your niche by investigating the relevant hashtags that both you and your competitors use, for example, #marketingtools.
When you search them in combination with the terms that indicate influencer collaborations, such as #sponsored or #ad, you’re likely to come upon multiple content creators that could be a fit.
Exploring suggestions on your channels can also be helpful, especially on Instagram. After following some relevant pages and browsing content that’s related to your business, the explore feed should slowly start generating similar suggestions. This can also lead to popular people in your niche that you may have missed.
Listening to your audience is another way to get new ideas about influencers you could consider. Browse their profiles and take a look at who they’re following and, if they have public profiles, whose posts they are sharing.
Twitter can be a really helpful channel to explore your audience’s interest in different content creators, as well as seeing who the influencers are connecting with. Themed lists are a good starting point for this, while you should also keep an eye out for the trending terms in your network. Follow them and see who’s writing about them, as well as how the people are interacting with it.
Spaces on Twitter are also increasingly popular, so listening to the conversations there could also provide you with valuable insights. This goes for different community gatherings, such as Facebook and LinkedIn groups, where you can see who’s leading the talk about certain topics.
Finally, search engines are still a viable source of information. Simply look for specific terms from your industry in combination with the words such as “bloggers” or “speakers” and filter the people you come upon using criteria you’ve established earlier.
Use tools to make your search easier
When you have specific criteria in mind, it’s a good idea to use a platform to help you get actionable data and make your decision based on insights, not just assumptions.
The best influencer search tools provide you with various information that will make the search more efficient. You can filter content creators based on specific categories, such as:
- Their primary niche
- Follower count
- Number of posts
- Other demographic categories
They also come in handy when you already have an influencer in mind but they’re not available. For example, if they’ve already worked with your competitors, you can find similar creators based on the set criteria.
When you track influencers’ work for a while and gather results with a tool, you can minimize the chance of making a wrong choice and form expectations before you commit and start a campaign.
You can also use social listening tools to complement the previously gathered data. One way to go about it is to look at the discussion about your brand and pick out the relevant voices for a possible collaboration.
Another application is for those that have already been on your shortlist – follow the discussion about them and see where they pop up, as well as the sentiment that surrounds them.
Look for credibility
Even if your values and topics of interest overlap, there are many creators out there that aren’t really influential despite the number of followers. That’s why you should always prioritize audience loyalty over the number of people that are simply there.
No matter the visibility, you still need to be very careful about picking the right person to partner with. It’s never a good idea to get someone to represent your brand just based on who you think will get the most eyes on your product. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with choosing a macro influencer when it’s suitable, but you should go more in-depth before you commit.
If you’re looking at social media profiles, it’s crucial to take engagement rate into consideration – note how many interactions an influencer gets per thousand followers and what’s the overall sentiment.
Do their fans just like the posts? Are they participating in discussions? These are all indicators of what type of boost you can expect if you decide to work with them. Aim for those who have an engagement rate of at least 1%, while ideally going for the ones above 3%.
A similar approach can be applied when talking about influencers’ websites or personal blogs. Check the ranking and look for links that appear in other places. This could indicate how much people trust them.
Their public image is also very important. Not just in terms of avoiding controversial behavior, which should come as a given, but also in terms of how others in the industry perceive them. Are they a part of the discussions when it comes to other companies or professionals? Think about relevant events and look for their presence. Have they been a part of a conference or maybe a guest on a podcast that’s interesting to you? All of this has an impact on how a certain influencer is positioned within your field of work.
Putting it all together
Picking the right influencer that will boost your brand’s efforts is a process that you need to take as seriously as picking a new colleague.
The base for your search should come from a deep understanding of your business, your industry, as well as your audience. This will help you form the criteria on which you’ll decide who the right collaborator is.
From there, you should proceed with exploring all of the relevant channels, digging into the discussions surrounding your niche. Listen to your industry leaders, as well as your audience, and implement dedicated tools and platforms to help you be more efficient.
Finally, always double-check your influencer’s previous efforts to make sure they’re in line with your brand’s message and goals. Of course, micro-influencers that don’t have a strong presence can be beneficial to your brand as well, but their manner should still match your own.
When you find the right influencer, don’t be afraid to push on with creative campaigns and give the creator freedom to make the communication authentic.