Influencer marketing is now absolutely everywhere. Small independent brands command influencer-driven campaigns alongside international giants, and social media channels are filled with people yearning to be the next big star.
The benefits are obvious.
Brands increase their awareness, drive traffic to their websites and convert sales while influencers receive complimentary items, travel the world and earn a living from their social channels. But how do brands find the perfect influencer to work with?
When brands are looking for their next social media star to work with, the first thing that they should consider is whether the influencer is the right fit for them. It’s easy to be attracted to someone with hundreds of thousands of followers, tempted by their huge reach, but the relationship will only work if the influencer fits in with the brand’s niche. For example, there’s no point trying to push sofas on a young audience that predominantly still lives at home; a homeware brand would be better suited to an older influencer with followers who own their own homes and are interested in interior styling than a teenage influencer whose fans are more interested in beauty products.
However, it’s not enough to just consider an influencer’s niche.
Brands should also ensure that the influencers that they work with fit in with their image and ethos. Look at the language they use and their online conduct. If you’re a family-orientated brand, you probably want to stay clear of someone who constantly swears and if you’re a whimsical, vintage-inspired fashion brand, influencers with a more urban style probably aren’t for you.
The most important quality of an influencer is the ability to sway opinions and convert sales. If you are an influencer who has previously ran successful campaigns with other brands, shout loud and proud to attract future collaborations. Craft carefully considered captions that invite your followers to leave meaningful comments that show brands just how much they trust your opinion. Brands should spend the extra time reading through the comments on blog posts and Instagram photos to leaf out the influencers that actually influence their followers.
Don’t just be tempted by pretty pictures.
Brands should delve a little deeper and check out who is actually taking the photographs, take the time to read blog posts and investigate previous sponsored campaigns that influencer has worked on. The people that you want to work with are those that are articulate, who write well and that take good quality photographs. You’re also looking for influencers who are professional and keep to time frames, so weed out anyone publicly talking negatively about brands they have worked with in the past. Influencers note, airing your dirty washing in public is no way to attract brand partnerships.
Of course, budget is a huge factor for brands deciding when deciding who to work with. If an influencer commands too high fees, they could be inadvertently putting off smaller, independent brands from reaching out to them. Try tailoring your fees towards individual brands, charging less for small or new brands and raising your prices when the huge multi-national brands come knocking. Most brands will have a strict budget for a particular campaign and will immediately discount anyone whose fees exceed that budget.
At the end of the day, when brands are selecting influencers for campaigns, it usually comes down to followers. Brands are obviously attracted to anyone who has a huge following as they will ultimately reach more people, but micro-influencers can work better. As we’ve covered previously, influencers with a following of between 5,000 – 50,000 generally have better engagement, lower fees and a loyal, niche audience. Engagement is more important than followers, so check how many comments they typically receive in proportion to their number of followers, and carefully read through recent comments to check that they include genuine conversations and influence others.
It’s easy for influencers to lose their ‘self’ when making themselves attractive to brands.
Rather than catering to what they think that brands want, influencers should allow their personalities to shine through, safe in the knowledge that there is an overwhelming amount of brands out there, including many that perfectly fit into their niche. Rather than changing your style, think about what you can actively do to make yourself desirable to the brands that will fit well. Check all of your posts for sloppy errors, conduct yourself professionally online and fully commit yourself to your online community. Talk to fellow influencers, make connections and follow the brands that you love. When posting Instagram captions, ask questions and spark interest, encouraging your followers to leave meaningful comments on your posts. If you’re promoting an item gifted to you by a brand, think of a creative way to do it that elicits a positive response. Don’t just limit yourself to one platform, ensure that you have a presence on several and that you also have your own blog or website.
Ultimately, whether you want to work with a brand or an influencer, put yourself in their shoes and view your online presence as an outsider. Would you want to work with the person that you see?
Words by Emma Lavelle.
Image by @jesslathan.