How to Choose the Right Social Media Influencer for your Brand
With more than 3.5 billion people actively using social media, a significant percentage rely on information obtained from social media to make decisions. 70% of Millennials depend on recommendations from friends, peers, and influencers on social media to make their purchases. This only shows how powerful social media is as a marketing channel. No digital marketer can afford to ignore the power of influencer marketing. This is not just learned through a social media specialist course but also by exploring various social media channels and observing how people engage as individuals and in niche groups.
Influencers are today’s most invaluable marketing tool for brands. Influencer marketing has been proven to yield visibility, create engagement, and convert higher sales compared to traditional marketing or other digital marketing channels. Of the 85% of marketers surveyed in 2017, 92% agreed that their marketing campaigns with influencers were effective.
To understand social media influencer marketing, it is important to first understand who social media influencers are.
Who are social media influencers and why are they important?
A social media influencer is someone with, as the term suggests, influence, expert knowledge, and/or authority of a specific subject who has the capacity to inspire and sway an audience’s thoughts and perspectives through social media platforms. These individuals command substantial social media following and build a strong connection with their audience. They can thus be approached by brands to undertake campaigns targeted at creating brand awareness, boosting sales, or creating engagement hence the term influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing can then be defined as a marketing channel that harnesses the social relationships built by another brand to build brand authority.
Influencers are important because they have the negotiating power using their niche knowledge and authority to influence others in a certain direction. Through the relationship that they have established with their following, they can influence the perspectives, opinions, and purchasing decisions of others. Often, the size and nature of an influencer’s following depend on the niche he/she has specialized in. On the other hand, followers often stick to authentic influencers who have earned their trust and one that has their best interest at heart.
Effective social media influencer marketing presents an excellent low-barrier market entry for brands and has been proven to yield a high return on customer acquisition and brand visibility investments. Every dollar that brands invest in influencer marketing yields $5.78 which proves just how effective and cost-effective influencer marketing is.
Types of social media influencers
There are several types of influencers categorized by various factors as below:
Influencers by following
- Mega Influencers
These are influencers with more than a million followers on their social networks. Often, they include celebrities such as musicians, TV/movie personalities, sports personalities, reality television stars, and other prominent people who have built their network through the activities that they undertake online and offline. While they are the hardest to reach and arguably the most expensive, they are the best bet for quick results across a diverse audience.
- Macro Influencers
Macro influencers range between 100k-1m. Slightly different from the mega influencers, macro-influencers are typically B-grade or upcoming celebrities within specific niches who work their way up by posting content on their social sites. They may include make-up and beauty fanatics, career coaches, chefs, and more. Macro influencers are more easily accessible on a lower budget compared to mega influencers.
Micro-influencers have fewer but substantial following between 10k and 100k. Micro-influencers have risen to fame for building sufficient knowledge and expertise in particular specialist niches. They are also most trusted for creating genuine interactions and engagements with audiences within the niche. Thus they offer a lower risk and high return on investment thanks to the special nature of their influence on their following.
- Nano Influencers
Nano influencers have a smaller following of between 1k-10k followers and are experts in highly specialized niches. Their following is founded on authentic relationships and interactions. Most small and medium-sized businesses rely on nano-influencers to promote their brands. Other businesses opt to partner with several nano-influencers to spread risk and promote their brand to a wider audience.
Influencers by their content
Be it YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, social media hosts the most influencers. Secondly, a lot of interest is focused on content. Different types of influencers based on content are:
- YouTubers and Vloggers
- Photography bloggers
Here is how to choose the right social media influencer for your brand
Influencer marketing success starts with choosing the right influencer to promote a brand or drive a marketing campaign.
How should a business go about choosing the right influencer to promote its brand?
Here are some questions to ask.
- What are your goals?
Marketing campaigns are conducted to achieve specific goals. This may include:
- Creating brand awareness
- Increasing brand visibility
- Creating and sharing information
- Achieving higher conversion rates
- Increasing following
- Which audience are you targeting?
Depending on your goals, who would be your ideal audience? Knowing your target audience helps you select the right influencer to whom they are highly likely to respond. Start by defining the demographics of your target audience which could include their age group, location, gender, career, location, interests, and preferences to name a few.
On which social media platform are they likely to be found? Which relevant influencers are they following? From here, consider narrowing down to influencers that are likely to engage them effectively and/or deliver content that will appeal to them.
- What is your budget?
Set a budget to work with along with metrics that will help you measure return on investment. These could be the number of conversions achieved, the number of likes on an influencer’s post, and more. A budget also helps you narrow down to the influencers that your brand can afford and how frequently they will promote your brand. As you do, remember that like any other marketing strategy, you are not guaranteed its effectiveness. It will take time and a few trials before eventually landing on what works for your brand.
- Where should you look for influencers?
There are several ways in which you can search for influencers. To start with, a search through online or social media databases will give you information about influencers, the size of their following, their niche, and more. In addition, consider joining influencer marketing platforms or conducting a search on Google using keywords like ‘top Facebook influencers’ and ‘Twitter influencers’. Further, you can search social media platforms using hashtags that relate to your product, niche, or industry. The latter also helps you understand the interests and preferences of your target audience as well as your competitors. Finally, consider scanning through the following of your competition. You may land on valuable information that will help you launch a successful marketing campaign.
- Gauge your influencer’s influence
It is possible to tell how much influence an influencer has on his/her following before approaching them to promote your brand. You need an influencer that has earned trust and loyalty from their following enough to convert. You can do this by checking their:
- Audience in terms of relevance to your brand. How likely would their following be interested in your products? Analyze the demographics, interests, and preferences of their following.
- Engagement level/frequency with their following. How regularly do they post their own or sponsored content? Learn their strengths, weaknesses, and potential as well as how well their following interacts with their content. Do they respond to their followers?
- Authenticity and quality of their audience. Anything is possible in this digital age including buying followers. A fake following may not yield desired results for your campaign. Authentic influencers will take time to build their following using genuine methods like engaging them through sharing their expertise and posting valuable content.
- Quality of their content. Does the quality of content that they post on their pages match your expectations? How best will their content represent your brand image?
- Shared values. Do you share the same values? What do they believe in? What causes do they promote?
- Approaching your selected influencer
With all the checks done and a marketing campaign in place, it is now time to approach your selected influencer. There are several ways in which you can work with your influencer on a marketing campaign. You can for instance:
- Offer them your products as gifts in exchange for a review on their pages or follower engagement. They could also review your product on your site and drive traffic.
- Offer their following discounts based on their interaction with the influencer on a sponsored post
- Payment for sponsored posts
Bottom line, interviewing your prospective influencer and collaborating on a marketing campaign may seem like too much work. Yet, if done thoroughly will yield worthwhile results.