We’ve all heard the word and think we know what it means. We also know how important influencers can be in developing brand awareness and how crucial you brands influencer relationships are, but just how exactly do you find the right influencers for your brand and how do you go a bout working with them? And more than that, how do you maintain a successful working relationship.
When it comes to identifying key influencers that are relevant to your brand, the first place to start is with your own customer demographic. Who are they and what content are they consuming when they log online? Instagram is undoubtedly the platform where influencers wield most power and generate the most traction, so unless you have a vast budget for market and customer research, Instagram is the obvious starting point.
Start by looking at hashtags relevant to your brand, #lifestyleblogger #travelblogger are generic ones that will show you pretty much every holiday snap on instagram but be specific to your brand as well. If you are a hotel in Greece then try searching for #travellingingreece or if you are a beauty brand consider searching #beautyproductreview for example, then look at the top content to see which influencers are publishing the best and most relevant content for your brand – and let the journey of discovery begin.
Once you’ve identified prominent influencers relevant to your industry, it’s time to actually look at their engagement rates. Follower numbers are great, but with more and more news stories about ‘influencers’ buying followers, it’s engagement rates that really speak volumes (we use a ration of 1/20 as a good sign – if there is a ratio of 1 comment to every 20 likes we generally shortlist them) and influencers with a smaller following shouldn’t be discounted either.
‘Micro influencers’, as they’re known, can be invaluable and have great influence within their niche field. Investing in micro influencers while they’re growing their following can also be an excellent long term strategy, building an affinity with them before they go ‘big’ and encouraging brand loyalty. Larger influencers are still important for our brand reach and awareness, but as they’re reaching mass audiences, their content may not be as targeted or speak with their audience in quite the same way. It goes without saying that their fees are also far higher.
So once you’ve found the right influencers and engaged them, how do you maintain a successful relationship with them? Both parties need to be happy and to achieve this, boundaries and communication are key. It’s easy for larger influencers to keep demanding more over the course of a relationship and being crystal clear with what you expect and are prepared to offer them, is one easy way to circumvent this issue and nip it in the bud.
Be upfront about how much content you expect them to produce, what style of content you’re looking for and how you plan to measure performance. Regular, clear communication will form the cornerstone of a good working relationship. Provide influencers with honest feedback about what worked well and what needs tweaking, it’s crucial if you’re going to build long term relationships. And yes, they will use #ad, and that’s just the start – rightfully so, the industry is cracking down on brand affiliations with influencers and ensuring they abide by the marketing laws that govern the rest of us. So make sure you consider this when planning your influencer strategy.