Influencer marketing is quickly growing in prominence and… influence. Astounding results and return on investment are being generated by incorporating influencers into integrated marketing campaigns.
If you’re looking to boost your returns, you’ll need to find the right influencers to represent your brand. Here are a few tips that will help:
Immerse yourself in the marketplace
Not all influencers are created equally. Each will bring different levels of participation and enthusiasm to your brand. And there is no magic list of the good ones. It’s much like being the general manager of a baseball team. You need to scout all the players personally, see how they perform and whether they’re a fit for your team.
Start with demographics
Each influencer has an audience. Only consider those influencers whose audience demographics match those of your targeted customer base. Influencers’ audience demographics can be readily found on social media marketing platforms, such as BuzzSumo and Meltwater.
Micro or macro?
Don’t assume that influencers with the largest audience are the best. Let your marketing strategy determine the right audience size:
- If you seek awareness and association for your brand, a more famous Macro influencer (500K+ followers) is likely a good fit, assuming you have the $100,000+ budget to pay for it.
- If you want to generate commerce and require engagement (clicks and conversions), Micro influencers often generate higher levels of attributable commerce, and therefore, higher ROI.
Keep this handy chart nearby to know which “type” of influencer would fit best as you develop marketing plans.
You need to do due diligence to determine whether an influencer’s audience was authentically, organically acquired. Sadly, many influencers have purchased accounts with already established followings and changed the username. This allows a person who is actually a “micro” or “nano” influencer to appear as a “macro” influencer. This is called Instagram Fraud. The Business of Fashion reported “Instagram Fraud” is a billion dollar problem in the advertising industry.
Here are our tips for weeding out the fakers:
- Watch for exponential jumps or dips in engagement from one post to another.
- Double-check that the average likes on an influencer’s posts aligns with the following count.
- If someone has 40,000 followers but each post only receives 200 likes, it can indicate they may have bought “likes” or “followers.” More importantly, it shows the influencer’s content is not engaging enough for your brand to be investing in.
- Review the list of followers and go into a handful of profiles to check for bots.
Appropriate influencer marketing budgets range greatly depending on the size of a business and overall marketing spend. But research shows two-thirds of marketers are planning to increase their influencer budgets.
The best approach for those just beginning to allocate budget towards influencer marketing is to start small, and test the waters with different types of influencers and continue to add resources as you see results.
For example, the chart below shows how one of our client’s Instagram following grew significantly as more was invested in its annual influencer marketing program. You’ll see at the beginning of the year (February), the company had zero followers gained after only investing in influencers for one month. But after six months of investing in a consistent program, the company gained nearly 4,000 new followers.
Influencer marketing works because consumers trust the judgement of the author to be authentic and informed. Follow the steps we’ve outlined above to find influencers who are in a position to recommend your brand to audiences based on their credentials, and who will actively and enthusiastically support your cause. You’ll be on your way to a new level marketing successes.
Interested in influencer marketing? Let’s start a conversation—email Christel Henke to connect with our earned media team at email@example.com.
And, be sure to check out STIR’S INFLUENCER MARKETING CASE STUDY.
It’s a deep dive into our annual influencer program for National Business Furniture that had a whopping 1,333% ROI in one year. Using the strategies outlined above, we partnered with authentic, highly-engaged micro and nano teacher influencers as well as a few interior designers and entrepreneurs. Here are four of the 100+ amazing promotional posts they created on behalf of National Business Furniture: