You’ve heard the label. You’ve seen the posts (some more natural than others). Perhaps you even follow some of them yourself. Influencers and the marketplace they have created is alive, well and currently driving an estimated $500 million in spend annually from marketers.
But that money can be worth the return. In fact, the average earned media value for every $1 spent on influencer marketing shakes out to be $7.65. A result of the fact that audiences trust these online bloggers, Instagrammers and social media superstars as if they were part of their inner circle. In fact, consider these quick stats:
Yes. Social media celebrity animals is an actual phrase we’re using now. What a time to be alive!
The point is, influencers have the ability to reach and connect with your business’ audience in ways untouchable by your brand alone. Finding success in these tactics, however, requires careful consideration of who you choose to partner with. Here are five considerations when choosing the right influencers for your brand.
Follower Count vs. Engagement
A large following does not always equate to effective influence. In fact, with the rise of these industry influencers has come the rise of people trying to hack the system with fake accounts and purchased followers. This is a trend that has reportedly been estimated to have cost advertisers up to $100 million each year in faulty brand sponsorships.
Look to an influencer’s actual engagement with their follower base before signing the dotted line. This means doing due diligence by gauging likes, comments, shares, etc. in relation to their total followers. And don’t just look at the numbers, get a feel for the quality of what their followers are saying in relation to each post.
Failing to side with influencers who reflect your values and bolster your brand’s narrative will ultimately leave you with brand messaging that falls flat. For this reason, remain conscious of who your audience is. A large number of visitors being driven to your website, after all, is only as good as the actual action they take when they get there. Channel can also play into this, so make sure you’re aligning with influencers on the channels that make sense alongside your specific buyer personas and behaviors.
As influencer marketing has grown, influencers themselves have had to begin thinking of themselves as brands in their own right. And with that, has come a need for maintaining authenticity. The more sponsored ads in a feed, the less authentic it becomes—that’s as true for a brand as it is an individual. Give weight to those who maintain a healthy balance and remain choosy with the brands they work with. This paired with a level of creativity from the influencer’s side to create something truly unique on behalf of your brand will ensure a better chance of natural content with high return.
If you’re diving into influencer marketing just to do it, pull back on those reigns. Go into the process with a clear objective and set of performance metrics in mind. Discuss these upfront with influencers to align with the best ways to measure against your end goal. The more clear and defined your approach from the get-go, the better equipped everyone will be for long-term success.
When it comes to establishing these partnerships, every influencer may be different in the forms of compensation they require. This is also largely driven by the level of influence they attribute to themselves based on followership, which is why it’s important to do your due diligence in understanding the engagement that comes along with it. Lay out a budget beforehand and let it guide you in partnering with the right macro- or micro-influencers able to appeal to brand affinity and your bottom line.
What’s been your experience when working with influencers? Are they worth effort? Leave a comment below!