The Quick Guide to Social Influencers

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When it comes to using influencers in your social media strategy, there’s nothing quite like the right influencer to get your brand looked at by the right people, the right way. Study after study has shown that people trust the opinions of their peers and social influencers more than anything else, so getting a bug in the ear of your audience through one of their most trusted sources is a no-brainer. At least, most of the time. As we all learned from the still-unfolding Fyre Festival debacle, even when you have the hottest influencers on your team, not even the best influencers can save a lousy product. So, how do you make sure your brand, your product and your influencers are working together in harmony? These three tips should get you on the right track.

  1. Avoid the Shiny Objects

Influencer marketing is more than just getting a Kardashian to pose seductively with your product tucked somewhere in the vicinity of her cleavage or pouty lips. REAL influencer marketing is about understanding the relationship between your product/brand/idea and the top authors/thought-leaders/voices in that realm. A recent article by AdAge said it best: “True influencer marketing isn’t greasing celebrities’ palms for tweets. Instead, it’s developing ongoing relationships with respected industry influentials — those with engaged, devoted audiences — so that they become closely connected with a brand and a company.” Avoid the shiny object and instead dig deeper and think of the long-term, value-based markets you want to grow and develop a loyalty with. THAT is where you’ll find your best influencers and get the most engagement.

And, remember, your best influencer might not come from the celebrity realm anyway. Sometimes it’s people who are already your customers who’ll give you your most powerful and genuine endorsements. Make sure you’re using social listening tools and looking for folks who are already passionate about your brand and what it’s doing. In his article on influencer marketing, David Hunegnaw at AdAge further drives this point home when he says, “Rather than engaging celebrities and the instafamous in order to engineer campaigns, brands should be engaging real fans and customers for authentic, brand stories — using those stories to help drive like-minded consumers down the path to purchase.” This in turn leads to better branded content and is the future of influencer marketing, according to Hunegnaw.

2. Know How to Measure Your Goals

Determining ROI on influencer marketing is one of the biggest challenges for agencies to tackle when it comes to measuring the success of their campaigns. The first step in getting a handle on ROI though is knowing what your goals are before you ever sign on an influencer. Use the SMART guide to create a social media goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Once you’ve nailed down those elements, finding an influencer who can get you there becomes an easier task. If your goals are geared toward engagement, pick an influencer with a highly engaged audience, not just a high number of followers. AdWeek has a great guide to identifying the best influencer for your brand that goes into a lot more depth on this topic and will help you figure out how to square your goals with the right influencer.

Lastly, pick the right metrics for your specific goals. Don’t try to measure everything or you’ll quickly get overwhelmed with the overabundance of data. Figure out which metrics tie directly to your goals and keep a close eye on those few, key metrics.

3. Pick the Right Platform

Know where your audience spends their time and whose opinions they value. Not every brand will get value from a Twitter or Instagram star for their product. Younger audiences are more influenced by YouTube stars and some corporations might even have better luck with a LinkedIn thought leader for their goals. Knowing which platform to go to for the most relevant influencers will help ensure that your marketing campaign reaches the right people. If your audience is looking for authentic content from peers and influencers, Twitter might be the perfect place to start looking for an influencer, as seen in the chart below.

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image courtesy of AdWeek

But, also keep in mind that you might want to use multiple platforms for your campaign as well. MarTech Series just put out an article showing that 88% of females follow their influencers on two of more channels. Using multiple channels for your influencer marketing strategy allows you to connect with influencers who are doing more than one thing. They could be creating videos, infographics, or blogs to go along with their standard photos and this could be a great opportunity for your brand.

At the end of the day, finding the right influencer is a multi-faceted operation that will take a bit of thinking about your brands values, audience and its goals before you can make the step into influencer marketing. But, it can be a truly valuable asset and it’s one that is largely underused in the industry. Get on board now and start developing a relationship with the social influencers who are going to take your brand into the future.

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