3 Keys to Choosing the Right Influencer for Your Brand

By on June 29, 2018

Influencer marketing is taking the industry by storm, leading many brands to ditch conventional strategies and celebrity endorsers in favor of this more organic way to reach consumers. Just hop on Instagram or YouTube and you’ll see no shortage of influencers. Finding them isn’t the problem—it’s finding the right one for your brand that isn’t always so straightforward. It’s no surprise that so many people are jumping on the influencer train, as advertising through influencers can generate up to 11 times the ROI of traditional advertising. 

While influencer marketing has tremendous value, it can go very, very wrong if both parties aren’t on the same page. Here’s three key considerations your brand should keep in mind when choosing its next influencer. 

Quality over quantity. There’s a common misconception that the more influencers, the better, but all the “Insta-famous” accounts in the world can’t help you if they aren’t relevant to your target market. Let’s say your brand sells a workout product, so you onboard as many fitness bloggers as you can to promote it. This may seem like a fool-proof way to make wide-spread impressions, but it’s necessary to dig deeper to find out if those impressions will actually convert to sales. One blogger may be popular with Millennials, while another might be with moms, or competitive bodybuilders. Yes, they’re all into fitness, but these groups aren’t buying the same products and using them in the same ways—meaning they’ll respond to and connect with different influencers. 

The key takeaway: influencers aren’t one size fits all. It’s important to be sure you’re choosing an influencer that actually has influence over your consumers. If your influencer is a part of your target audience, you’ll have a more direct connection to your specific niche. This creates a more authentic relationship you’re both excited about—consumers can smell a superficial relationship from a mile away, and the wrong influencer, however enthusiastic they may seem, can do more harm to your brand than good. 

Engagement as a metric, rather than followers. Many marketers are surprised to learn the influencer with the most followers isn’t automatically the best one for their brand—in fact, “micro-influencers” with follower counts under 1,000 are more trusted by consumers, have better engagement rates, and are more affordable than big name influencers. Engagement is the key metric to consider when choosing an influencer: How many likes, comments, and shares do they get on average? Do people tag their friends on their posts? Do they take the time to respond to their fans? It can be difficult to compare influencers across the board, but to simplify the process, consider calculating their engagement ratio which can be determined by a base metric of followers, reach, or impressions. Additionally, check that they’re followed by real users and not social media spam bots, which can give a superficial boost to their follower count. 

A major benefit of using influencers over celebrity endorsers is the higher amount of engagement you’ll get for a lower price. Think about how much you’d have to pay Kim Kardashian to post your product, even though many of her followers aren’t regularly active and she couldn’t respond to even a fraction of their comments. Take full advantage of influencers by optimizing your advertising budget on those that can offer the most engagement, which translates to the most bang for your buck. 

Potential for a long-term relationship. 39% of marketers in a survey reported plans to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018, which is on track to be a 5-10 billion dollar industry by 2020. If you’re going to put so much time, money, and energy into this strategy, you want to ensure they’ll be a long-term ROI. Therefore, it’s vital to choose an influencer that you see a real future with, who can be a part of your brand’s story even as it evolves. The appeal of influencers is that they’re real people, so make sure when you start a partnership that relationship has the power to grow beyond just one sole Instagram post or YouTube video. 

This can be done by confirming you both have the same values, goals, and expectations for the relationship. Be transparent and have open communication about this before you onboard them as an influencer, not during or after the partnership has already begun. Influencers can be a valuable asset to your brand, but not if you have to keep repeating this process to find new ones because they aren’t the right fit in the first place.

Influencers have taken over, and brand strategies should aim to optimize marketing budgets in order to make the most impact on consumers. By looking for quality over quantity, using engagement as a key metric, and having the discussion about long-term goals early on, you’ll be equipped to find the right influencer who can elevate your brand’s social media presence.



About Katherine Wolf

Katherine is a Content Coordinator at Sparxoo, an integrated digital marketing agency located in sunny Tampa, Florida. When she’s not creating killer content, you can find her cooking, at a concert, or laying by the pool.

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