Now that you’ve pinpointed your objectives for an influencer campaign and decided it’s the right move, it’s time to enlist the right people to represent your brand. (But remember, this is a two-way street and they have to want to work with you, as well.) A few things to consider:
The style and focus of their channels.
Every influencer has a style, whether that means a certain look and feel; a specific use (or avoidance) of filters; and a consistent focus, whether it’s food, lifestyle, portraiture, travel, etc. Before you reach out, make sure that an influencer’s style and focus will be a good fit with your own brand look, feel, and overall category.
Influencers are so called because they have a large following upon which they exert some level of influence, whether through subtle methods of tastemaking or actually contributing to sales of a product. However, there are tiers, which are primarily based on following. It makes sense that someone with over a million followers will cost more than someone with half that number—but don’t think that landing a big-fish blogger is going to guarantee success. Impressions are important, but engagement will prove how active their fans are, and that’s where you’ll see more tangible results for your brand.
While follower/subscriber count is definitely important, the only objective it can truly help achieve is awareness. It will give you impressions, but if you want fans to engage not only with the influencer posts, but also follow the brand or buy its products, engagement is key. If you’re considering a social media influencer, look at a wide range of his or her posts and make sure the engagement is in line with the following. (The very best can achieve an engagement rate up to 10%.) For vloggers or bloggers, check the engagement on videos and posts, but also on social channels. The best influencers have fans who trust their judgement and will even go as far as buying products that the influencer recommends (and will likely share it on social media as well).
Frequency and quality of sponsored posts.
There are some influencers out there that will jump on any sponsored posts that come their way—these are the ones you want to avoid. Instead, only work with influencers who are particular about their partnerships. (Even better if they make sponsored posts blend with their normal content.) For bloggers and vloggers, you want to work with those who communicate to their followers that they only feature brands and products they really love.
This bit of advice goes both ways. (We’re avoiding an “It’s flexible, get it?” joke, but it’s killing us inside.) As a brand, be prepared to offer creative freedom to your influencers. Give guidelines, of course, but keep them loose. Pick one or two things that are musts. Provide suggestions. Be upfront about wanting to work with their style, and allow them to do their own thing. Approaching an influencer relationship in this way will help establish a good rapport early. That said, influencers in many ways are a new kind of celebrity. Many have agents, and many more work with companies that connect brands with influencers. Those agents and companies will likely have some representation and, possibly, some of their own requests. Be sure to address those nitty-gritty details at the beginning, so you can feel confident that you’ll get what you want from the influencer. Showing your own flexibility as a brand, however, is the best way to ensure success.
Armed with these tips, you’re ready to get that influencer program rolling! This can be a great way to build buzz around your message or product, and when coupled with smart research and thoughtful execution, an influencer campaign can bring authenticity to a branded message that you won’t find in a traditional celeb endorsement or a standard social media ad. So what are you waiting for? Time to find your brand’s new BFF.