Establishing and running any business comes with its own unique set of challenges and roadblocks.
In this hyper-engaged era, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Every brand is striving to build a solid online presence by leveraging strategic marketing campaigns.
So, how can you make an impact?
The answer lies in finding the perfect brand influencer.
Influencer marketing can add that X-factor to your branding campaign.
When done right, it is a strategy that allows you to not only boost engagement but also spread brand awareness.
However, many companies struggle with the process of identifying, selecting, and collaborating with the right influencers for your brand.
So, let’s dive into what influencer marketing is and how you can find the perfect brand influencer that complements your brand.
This detailed guide will walk you through everything you need to know about landing the right influencer for a campaign that leaves an ever-lasting impact.
What is an Influencer?
Before you start looking for an influencer, it is important to know what exactly an influencer is. An influencer is a person with a strong digital presence who posts content focused on a certain niche, such as fashion, skincare, fitness, etc. Influencers have a significant number of followers who relate to their content and opinions.
They have the ability to ‘influence’ their followers into making purchases and resharing content based on their recommendations. There are five different types of influencers based on their number of followers:
What is Influencer Marketing?
Now that we know what an influencer is, let’s dive into how influencer marketing works. When an influencer collaborates with a brand to promote their products or services to their audience, it’s called influencer marketing.
A recent study shows that more than 80% of brands believe that the quality of customers attracted by influencer marketing is better than other forms of marketing. When consumers see someone they trust recommending a product, it can greatly impact their purchasing decisions.
More brands are now aware of this fact and incorporating it into their business strategy. They are looking to collaborate with influencers of all sizes to boost engagement.
The influencer market is growing at a significant rate and is expected to reach $21.1 billion USD by the end of 2023. As consumers are more likely to trust recommendations from people they follow, influencer marketing is taking precedence over transition advertising.
Brands are tapping into the trust and credibility built by influencers with their followers. This is why it is a surefire way to boost brand awareness and drive more sales. Before you dive into influencer marketing, it’s essential to assess whether it aligns with your marketing goals or not. The following are some things to take into consideration:
6 Steps for Selecting the Perfect Influencer: How, When, Where?
Considering an influencer marketing program for your next big campaign? Well, you’ve got plenty of options. On Instagram alone, there are more than 64 million influencers. With the abundance of influencers, brands can struggle to find the right influencer who aligns with their branding.
Simply signing an influencer with a large audience base might not be the best approach. Especially if their values don’t align with your brand, it can quickly turn into a PR nightmare. A well-matched niche influencer can do wonders when it comes to developing authentic and loyal relationships between a brand and its consumer base. Finding the right influencer makes all the difference.
Follow these steps to select the right influencer:
1. Define Your Goals
Having a clear goal is the key to a successful campaign. If you know what you want to achieve, decoding the how becomes easier. Be it brand awareness, lead generation, or sales, you need to prioritize your goals. It will guide your influencer selection.
You also need to define what type of collaboration you are looking for. There are various forms your partnership could take, including:
2. Assess Your Brand Needs
The rewards that come with working with an influencer are huge, but so are the risks. A majority of influencers have their personal brands to consider. And they usually get to decide how they convey your brand’s message on their platform. That’s why it is essential to partner up with someone who wholeheartedly believes in your brand values. And will represent your brand as you aspire.
For instance, if your brand is invested in insurance lead gen, your influencer must also promote the same values. An influencer who is more into fitness might not be the best option. They don’t contradict your brand values, but their audience may not find your brand relevant. A thought leader in the insurance industry might be a better fit.
To ensure alignment, start by reviewing your brand’s mission and values. Then, note down the most important values and how they are conveyed in your brand’s social messaging. It will help you narrow down your influencer persona and bring you closer to your ideal option.
3. Define Your Target Audience
A good rule of thumb in influencer marketing is partnering up with someone who is already reaching your ideal targeted audience. So, define your ideal customer persona. When you know who you want to reach, finding influencers whose followers align with your target audience becomes easier. For example, if you want to sell business formal attire and an influencer’s audience is mostly college students, then you need to look further.
Dig into the comment section on influencer’s posts to assess how their audience reacts to branded content and what kind of audience they’re building. If the majority of their audience complains about partnerships or the comment section is overall negative, then they might not be the right fit.
4. Use Influencer Marketing Tools
If you want to take your influencer marketing campaign up a level, try using influencer marketing tools. There are various tools available, like Upfluence, Influencity, etc. These tools will allow you to find influencers, assess their metrics, and evaluate their audience base. Some platforms will even have a list of previously vetted creators.
5. Evaluate Influencer Credibility and Authenticity
There are many ways to get followers on Instagram and other platforms. So, it’s important to ensure that your influencer’s audience base is genuine. If their audience base contains more bots than people, you might want to reconsider.
Also, do your homework and study an influencer’s previous brand partnerships. It will help you see if they have experience working in your industry or with similar products.
6. Reach Out and Connect
Now that you’ve shortlisted potential influencers, start contacting them through calls, direct messages, or emails. Cold email software can be a useful tool for your outreach efforts and can also track your progress efficiently.
Once you get in touch with them, clearly define your campaign goals and expectations. The next section will cover some best practices when reaching out to potential influencers.
Things to Keep in Mind While Contacting and Negotiating With Influencers
Influencers are artists juggling many jobs, including content creation, audience engagement, and brand collaborations. So, we recommend approaching them in a professional and respectful manner. Here are some tips:
1. Personalize Your Outreach
Initial communication usually takes place through emails. So, most brands just copy-paste the same email to all influencers. It can go unanswered or, worse, get a ‘thanks, no thanks!’.
Instead, send personalized emails to each influencer, showing that you’ve done your research and understand their content and audience. To simplify this time-consuming task, use outreach email templates and then tailor each email to suit the influencer.
Some of the things you’ll want to add to your personalized outreach email include:
2. Be Transparent
Being honest about your goals and expectations goes a long way. So, don’t shy away from clearly communicating your campaign objectives, outcomes, and compensation. Not only does it eliminate the room for misunderstandings, but it helps build trust. The more information you can provide in your opening email, the better.
Once you’ve made contact, you can continue carrying out the negotiation process via email, or you could try to arrange an in-person meeting or phone call. Make sure that your phone numbers aren’t flagged as potential spam risk numbers before you contact influencers, as your calls are likely to go unanswered if so.
3. Negotiate Fairly
We know there’s a budget to consider when it comes to marketing campaigns. However, don’t deprive your influencer of a fair compensation. Consider the influencer’s reach, engagement, and the scope of work required before proposing a compensation package.
When negotiating, these tips can come in handy:
4. Two-Way Legally Binding Contracts
Having a legally binding contract outlining the terms of the partnership is always a wise idea. Make sure the contract clearly defines all conditions, including content usage rights, start and end dates, payments, etc.
Admittedly, preparing a contract is not a walk in the park, especially if you have no legal background. So, try to steer clear of some common mistakes by:
5. Successful Collaboration and Campaign Execution
You’ve found your ideal influencer. What’s next? Now, it’s time to execute your campaign effectively. It can be easier said than done. So, sit with your influencer and develop a content plan that aligns with your campaign goals and resonates with their audience. They might need your assistance with product information to create compelling content.
Once you have provided them with the support they need, they will be ready to get started on crafting awesome content for you. Why not make their lives even easier and encourage them to use a scheduling tool? This way, your influencer will know exactly what to post and when to post it, and they’ll remain fully aligned with your predefined content calendar.
And while ensuring that your influencer has everything they need for everything to be on track and tackle the issues promptly, remember that there’s a fine line between assisting and micro-managing. So, refrain from rushing them and allow them creative freedom to authentically promote your brand.
6. Measuring and Analyzing Campaign Outcome
Now, it’s time to assess its success by gathering insights. It helps you evaluate what worked and the room for improvement in your future endeavors. Start with examining the key performance indicators (KPIs) such as impressions, engagement rate, website traffic, and conversion rates.
These KPIs allow you to determine the ROI (return on investment) by comparing the campaign’s cost to the revenue generated. Based on the gathered insights, refine your strategy to enhance future campaigns.
Additionally, don’t forget to seek feedback from the influencer on their experience partnering with your brand. This can be invaluable in any future influencer collaborations.
Building and Maintaining Long-Term Business Relationships
Finding a new influencer every time you run a marketing campaign can be a tall order. That is why building lasting relationships with influencers can be highly beneficial. Not only does it save time and energy, but it also adds credibility to your campaigns.
After you send out your initial influencer outreach email and make a connection, it’s important to foster a genuine relationship. Here’s how you can nurture your connections with them:
Key Takeaways for Finding the Right Influencer for Your Brand
Influencer marketing is here to stay. With the ability to boost customer engagement and brand advocacy, it brings significant benefits to your brand.
However, finding the perfect brand influencer still remains a challenge. Brands need to diligently research to find an influencer that fits their goals and budget before the actual collaboration happens.
So, before you dive into it, build a plan that addresses your marketing goals to maximize the impact of your influencer marketing campaigns.
The right blend of the right strategy with the right influencer can take your brand to new heights while building long-lasting business relationships.