Influencer marketing is one of the most powerful content marketing techniques, but often comes as new territory for even the most experienced marketers. Not only does influencer marketing boost brand advocacy efforts, it enhances the reputation of businesses among their current and new audiences. However, many brands may not have a solid plan in place for their influencer marketing, which could make their campaigns ineffective.
According to a study by Traacker and TopRank Marketing, 43 percent of marketers are experimenting with techniques in influencer marketing. This result is not a surprise as this type of marketing is still new for inbound marketers. But it’s important to to weed out influencers who will not meet your business goals before investing time and resources into them.
With the Influence 2.0: The Future of Influencer Marketing study showing 67 percent of marketers aim to use influencer marketing to improve lead generation, knowing how to identify potential influencers and selecting the right brand advocates can significantly increase return on investment.
Here is how to select your influencers:
They Use Similar Hashtags and Promote Related Content
A simple hashtag search can reveal countless posts on topics that relate to your products and services. It can also be a useful tool in locating prospective influencers who will be a good spokesperson for your brand among their followers. Free hashtag tools like RiteTag and paid content marketing platforms with social media analytics already integrated can help you find potential influencers quickly without having to search through individual posts.
For example, if your product is related to health and fitness and you want to find an influencer who has relevance in this category, search for a hashtag like “health” in RiteTag to see results for popular accounts that used that particular keyword. This feature will display the handle of the accounts talking about this hashtag and list their number of followers. Simply click the “follow” button next to their name to monitor their posts and see if they fit your brand and when you’re ready to contact them, there’s also a convenience “tweet to” button.
In addition to finding results for your chosen hashtag, these tools can also find out related hashtags and topics that can further expand your search for influencers.
Followers Include Your Target Demographic
A social media account with millions of followers will likely catch your eye at first, but these numbers are insignificant if influencers and their audience are outside of your target demographic.
Determine whether influencer audiences fit your market demographics and personas, including by:
Keep in mind what are your main social media channels for lead generation as demographics can easily change depending on the platform.
Take a look at a break down in audiences by age for Facebook vs. Instagram. Facebook has a wide audience that encompasses numerous age ranges, geographic locations and more, with 88 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-29 using this network, 79 percent of ages 30-49 and 61 percent of ages 50 to 64, Pew Research Center found.
In a shift in demographics, Instagram is mainly skewed toward a younger audience with 59 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-29 on this platform as opposed to 31 percent of ages 30-49 and 13 percent of pages 50-64. If your brand has a more youthful audience, select platforms like Instagram when searching for influencers initially.
Estimated Compensation Fits Your Budget
How much are you willing to spend to secure and -- depending on their performance -- retain influencers? Some influencers earn thousands of dollars per post on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter while others are happy to receive a free product or sample.
On Instagram alone, brands spent a little more than $1 billion on the influencer marketing in 2017, Mediakix reported. This market is projected to more than double by 2019, suggesting influencer marketing is here to stay and brands will have to consider growing their content marketing budget to keep up.
Trusted to Manage and Grow Your Brand Reputation
Marketing pros may hesitate to utilize influencer marketing because there’s a risk influencers can stray from their plan or say and do something that could jeopardize the brand’s reputation. Before beginning contracts with influencers, go through influencers’ extensive social media history and look for red flags. These can include hateful speech, inappropriate images, negative comments about your brand, etc.
Ensure that the influencer is an authoritative figure who has a trusted reputation so that they can raise your brand reputation rather than bring it down.
With the use of influencer marketing projected to grow widely in the content marketing world, marketers must carefully choose their influencers before they commit their time and money and put their brands' reputation in other people's hands.