There is a continued buzz around working with influencers on social media platforms to get brand awareness and sales. While influencer marketing can definitely be profitable for your business as part of an overall marketing campaign, there are things that you need to consider before committing. Especially if you don’t have dedicated digital marketing professionals on your side to do all of the heavy lifting.These 6 important points may help you to identify the best influencers for your business.
1. Is it the right move for your business?
Before you even start looking for the right influencer you should ensure that the timing is right for you to invest in this avenue of marketing. In business timing can sometimes be everything and it’s really important that we don’t get overly encouraged by the buzz that’s going on with social media influencers at the moment. Sometimes businesses are not at the stage where they will see the most benefit from these activities. It really does need to be part of an overall comprehensive and targeted digital marketing strategy. This activity may not be something you should do straight out of the gates especially in relation to paid sponsorships where in addition to providing products or services you have to pay the influencer a nominated amount for them to create posts for your business. The fees can range from hundreds of dollars to tens of thousands and well beyond, dependant on the influencer you are working with. Celebrities such as the Kardashians and Jenners can command amounts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for endorsements. Your business may benefit from shifting these budgets to activities such as SEO campaigns or pay-per-click advertising moreso than influencer marketing strategies, again this depends on your specific business.
2. Are their followers and engagements real?
There’s a lot of controversy about this at the moment in fact Australian beauty vlogger and influencer, Chloe Morello did a video addressing this exact issue. She believed she has identified that there are many influencers in her particular niche who are in fact purchasing their fanbase and also their engagement doesn’t quite seem natural. You want to make sure that any influencer that you’re pairing with are not falsifying or purchasing any of the audiences and are not being dishonest about how many real followers they have. There are bots that can post comments under pictures to give the impression of a lot of engagement, so you must be diligent in your research. This following diagram outlines the average engagement rates on Instagram and twitter for 2017. If your influencer falls out of these averages you should also dig even further to be sure of the value they represent.
3. WHO are their followers?
When investing your resources you will want to make sure you are spending on the right audience. A few questions you could ask yourself include.
Are their followers
- The target age?
- Target life stage? Ie. Married, single, with children, retired?
- The right income bracket?
- Interested in my types of products and services?
- In the right location?
If you run a local business for example and the influencer’s followers are not located in your region, it may not be a wise investment of resources for you to work with them. Ask yourself if their followers fall into the correct categories to be considered your target audience. If they don’t it’s best to save your resources for an opportunity that fits better.
4. Do their messages align with your brand?
Ask yourself is their messaging is in line with your brand identity? You will find that a lot of the time influencers don’t have marketing managers or PR managers (unless they are celebrities) to ensure that their messaging is on point and not offensive. Though, even large brands have uploaded posts that audiences believe are inappropriate. So while there is no foolproof strategy to avoid this you need to do what you can to mitigate the risk of having your brand associated with somebody who’s messaging is potentially offensive to your target audience along the rest of the world and that they do align with your brand’s values.
5. Are they actually influencing their audience?
Audiences are not silly and do notice a lot on social media, especially when they are a loyal follower to an influencer. If the influencer typically has a very sponsored/ad heavy feed the audience can switch off. Nobody likes to be persistently and aggressively marketed to so if influencers are constantly posting advertisements how much influence are they really having over their audience’s purchasing behaviour?
You need to ask how many conversions or what positive impact they have created in past campaigns with brands after all this is a business transaction and there should be a focus on ROI. Every audience and every influencer is different you may have some larger influencers who don’t have as much of an impact as micro influencers who only have a few thousand followers and vice versa. It’s just about understanding more and digging beyond the top level view.
6. What is their organic reach?
Not many people talk about this when it comes to influencer marketing campaigns but there are consistent algorithm changes both on Facebook and Instagram, which are pretty popular platforms when it comes to influencer marketing. But what happens when organic reach is reduced? How many people will see the posts without any paid advertising to boost the reach?
Image credit Agora Pulse
If an influencer has 50,000 followers you may only have a relatively small percentage of that number of people who are actually going to see the posts without any paid advertising. So, you really need to ask yourself how many of their followers are going to potentially see your product or service being mentioned and then what is the worth of THAT audience number not necessarily the 50,000.
Getting the most out of influencer marketing campaigns really takes a defined strategy and a social media marketing expert to identify all of the elements that create a great opportunity. Influencer marketing should just be part of an overall digital marketing campaign. It’s really not enough just to pair with somebody who has quite a large following as it can mean that you’re spending on product or services and not necessarily reaching your target audience.
If you would like to incorporate social media influencer campaigns into your strategy contact our online marketing team for a no obligation discussion of how we can work together to achieve your business growth goals.