As a digital marketing consultant specialising in both eCommerce and the beauty, fashion, health, and lifestyle industries, one of the most important strategies I’ve learned when it comes to driving visibility and traffic for brands is influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing has seen a huge increase in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. If you’re not familiar with the term, don’t worry — in today’s blog post, I’ll be diving deeper into what exactly influencer marketing is, why it works, and how to choose the right influencers to work with for your brand.
What is influencer marketing?
Quite simply, influencer marketing is the process of brands hiring influencers to promote their products or services through outlets such as social media. For example, popular beauty gurus on YouTube may partner with makeup brands they support in order to drive visibility and traffic towards that brand. Influencers operate independently, creating their own content and integrating a company’s specific advertising specifications into it. Influencers are compensated for this type of promotion based on the size of their social following, the engagement of their followers, and the platform they are using.
Why does influencer marketing work?
It all comes back to the fact that influencers have the power to influence their followers, which stems from the trust and loyalty they have built within their niche community. Unlike advertisements of the past, influencer marketing works because people trust other people more than they trust brands. The success of this strategy can be traced back to its ability to help consumers feel more confident in their choices and avoid the typical skepticism that comes with traditional advertising.
How to choose the right influencers for your brand
Working with the right influencers is the key to any successful influencer marketing campaign. When you partner with influencers who are relevant, authentic, engaging, and well-matched to your brand values, you’ll find that it is a lot easier for your audience to relate (leading to a potential sale) than if you choose somebody randomly or without considering how they fit into the context of your brand.
Researching and finding the right influencers may seem like an overwhelming process, but as long as you know what to look out for (and what to avoid), the benefits for your brand are beyond worth it.
Here’s my go-to process for helping my clients find influencers that they love partnering with:
There are tons of ways to start building a list of potential influencers you want to work with — it all starts with a bit of research. I recommend scrolling through industry-relevant Instagram hashtags, joining influencer marketing platforms, or using a good old-fashioned search engine to find influencers you’re interested in partnering with.
One of the most important things to consider when selecting an influencer to work with is their audience. Is it relevant to your brand? Do they reach a demographic that you aim to sell to? Influencer marketing platforms feature audience demographic tools that can help you identify influencers who have an audience that fits your location, age, and gender criteria.
You may think that follower count is the number you should be weighing the most heavily when partnering up with an influencer, but that actually isn’t the case. Engagement — how interactive an influencer’s audience is with their content — is key when it comes to knowing if your influencer’s audience actually cares about what they are posting. Engagement can also be an indicator that an influencer has purchased followers, if they have a high follower count yet a disproportionate number of likes/comments per post.
When you’re considering bringing an influencer onto your team to represent your brand, it’s always a good idea to review their past collaborations to make sure they haven’t worked with a direct competitor or participated in any kind of campaign that would go against your brand’s ethics or values. In this day and age of the “online detective”, it’s so easy for your audience to do a little bit of background research and quickly identify potential discrepancies between the influencers you work with and what your brand stands for, which can come across as inauthentic. To avoid this potential scenario, take the research into your own hands and vet your influencers thoroughly.
An overwhelming 90% of consumers said authenticity matters when deciding which brands they like and support. For this reason, they look to influencers with a unique and genuine voice to guide their purchasing decisions. Before you pursue any serious partnership with an influencer, take a quick look at his/her content — is it full of sponsored posts and advertisements, or do they share real and personal stories in addition to their campaigns? Do they have a community of followers who seem excited and engaged in the comments? Do YOU like what they have to say and the way they interact with the world? All of these are important indicators of ‘authenticity’ that you don’t want to ignore when searching for a great influencer to partner with.
Now that you know how to identify relevant influencers to partner with, you can start building effective campaigns that help raise brand awareness, increase social engagement, drive traffic, generate valuable leads, and increase sales.