It’s no secret that influencer marketing has taken the industry by storm. Most brands that want to make a name for themselves on social media have partnered with an influencer that appeals to their goals.
However, companies need to make sure they pick the right influencer for their brand. To this end, they need to do their due diligence and carefully research the influencer, including their previous work, their followers and engagement levels. All it takes for a brand to ruin all that hard work is for their influencer to be outed doing something socially unacceptable by an outraged mob.
To help, 13 experts from Forbes Agency Council dive into the list of essential things any company should remember when engaging new influencers as brand ambassadors.
1. Make Sure Your Brands Align
Alignment of the influencer brand to your brand is key. Look beyond followers and social engagement. Make sure that the influencer and your brand are a natural fit and align. Would this person truly use your product or service? Being genuine will come across and yield better results than more followers that won’t engage. Align, align, align. – Andre Filip, ELA Advertising
2. Look For Shared Values
One of the most important aspects of identifying and engaging with an influencer partner is having shared values. By identifying a like-minded influencer, you’re more likely to achieve an authentic representation of your brand and genuinely engage with their followers due to on-brand messaging and tone of voice, as well as passion displayed from your influencer partner. – Tripp Donnelly, REQ
3. Lean Into Their Experience
Remember that influencers understand their audience better than anyone else. To maximize the value of your influencer partnership, lean into that expertise and let the influencer portray your product or brand in a way that they know will drive engagement. Your creative brief should be a guideline for the influencer to develop content, not set in stone. – Aliza Freud, SheSpeaks, Inc.
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4. Ensure An Authentic Connection
When identifying and sourcing people of influence on behalf of our client partners, our agency always ensures that there is an authentic connection between the talent and the brand. Without a true interconnection, we feel the consumer can “read between the lines” and the fans or followers of the influencer will not engage with the content. – Joey Hodges, Demonstrate
5. Follow These Three Practical Tips
First, don’t fall in love with a big name. Smaller microinfluencers will be more cost-effective and often deliver better results. Second, the influencer doesn’t have to be your target, but their audience does. Make sure the influencer audience matches your target consumer. And third, be extremely clear about expectations — from content deliverables to performance. – Danielle Wiley, Sway Group
6. Be Honest About Your Objectives
Before you start, be clear and honest about your objectives and your criteria for choosing a certain influencer: reach, authenticity, creativity, brand fit, passion. Remember that you can buy reach, but not necessarily relevance. Most importantly, find the right match! If you’re a family vacation brand, you want to make sure that your influencer isn’t mainly about parties, drinks and going wild. – Lars Voedisch, PRecious Communications
7. Check For Meaningful Engagement
First, check that they have meaningful engagement with their followers in addition to the number of followers you’re seeking. Also, ensure that your brand aligns with all of their posts and takes on issues. Next, make sure you have something special to offer the influencer that will interest him or her. Finally, connect to see whether there is mutual interest in sharing information, stories, etc. – April White, Trust Relations
8. Be Clear About The Business Opportunity
My top tip to remember when reaching out and engaging with an influencer is to be clear about the business opportunity you have to offer early on. Ensure the influencer aligns with your brand, and when reaching out for partnership, be clear and concise about the value proposition you offer. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc
9. Check For Fake Followers
Check for fake followers. There are a handful of apps that can show you metrics on this, too. It’s usually a dead giveaway if their engagement rate is less than 2%. Do they have 100K followers and five comments on each post? Was there a sharp increase of 5K followers one day, and a steady decline ever since? If they buy their audience, what will they do for you? – Kelly Samuel, Kelly Samuel
10. Find Influencers Who Use Your Product
Try to find influencers who already use your product or service. This way, all the questions on whether or not your values align and whether they are the right fit get answered automatically. It’s an ideal situation, of course, but if you have such an opportunity, don’t hesitate to leverage it. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
11. Analyze Their Past Content
Analyze the type of content they’ve shared in the past and how professional their posts and communications are with their audience. It helps to see if they’ve shared similar content in the past, how it performed and what they had to say about it. – Kathleen Lucente, Red Fan Communications
12. Look Beyond The Numbers
Many people focus on the number of followers and don’t consider microinfluencers. Especially in the business-to-business space, niche influencers are, generally speaking, the best option. Sometimes it is better and most cost-effective to hire 10 microinfluencers instead of a big one. – Stefano Mongardi, TheWebMate
13. Consider Meme And Motivational Accounts
Instead of influencers, you should collaborate with meme and motivational accounts. Firstly, they have a way better post reach than influencers. You can create a good piece of content and get it viral using those accounts, resulting in a much better ROI. Secondly, they are way cheaper — for the price of one influencer you can probably get four or five such accounts to promote your content. – Vishal Jain, Sunshy Group Of Companies
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Author: Expert Panel®, Forbes Councils Member