Would you choose Shawn Mendes to be the face of your big data company?
Sure, he’s got an impressive 50 million followers on the ‘gram.
He can sell out stadiums and arenas, yet the question is, how much authority does he have in the big data world?
Nada. (No matter how many times he calls me Senorita).
According to Linqia, 86% of marketers use influencer marketing today and over 92% have found it effective.
When it comes to how to find influencers that are perfect for your brand, there’s a definite knack to it.
We’re delving into the do’s and don’ts of influencer marketing to make sure you’re putting your time and budget into the right influencers to boost business and drive revenue.
WHAT IS AN INFLUENCER?
As consumers, we’ve got trust issues.
Hard-hitting marketing messaging isn’t enough to convince your average consumer anymore.
We need proof. And who better to prove it to us than a celebrity we admire, trust and respect?
Yes, brands have been using celebs to promote products for yonks. But, the rise of social media has switched this up, a fair bit you could say.
92% of marketers cite Instagram as the most important network for influencer marketing. It makes sense. It’s easily digestible, sharable and has more than 1 billion active users, with the average user spending 55 minutes per day scrolling, commenting and interacting.
Here’s a snapshot of an influencer:
- A user who has established credibility in a specific industry, has access to a huge audience and can persuade others to act.
- Has the tools and credibility to attract many viewers consistently and can motivate others.
- Can be anyone from a blogger, to a celebrity, to an online entrepreneur or expert in the field.
But not just any old influencer will do. You need to pick the perfect one for your brand.
Let’s take a look at the types out there.
Celebrity endorsement is a powerful thing. We live in a celebrity-obsessed world, with 24/7 exposure to their social media musings, pictures and videos. It’s fairly basic psychology, hitting all the aspects of social proof that would make Robert Cialdini proud.
It boils down to, “I want to be like them. If the celebs are doing it, I want to do it too.”
Fess up, we’re all prone to a bit of celebrity admiration.
- THOUGHT LEADERS
These guys are the industry experts. They’re the journalists, academics, industry leaders and professional advisors. Their value is rooted in credibility due to qualifications, position, experience and knowledge.
Put simply, we believe them because they know things we don’t.
- BLOGGERS AND CONTENT CREATORS
Bloggers and content creators will most likely have a specialised niche. This means they don’t communicate to the masses, but have nurtured a community who are looking to them for topics they’ll find interesting.
Think of them as industry experts, but with valuable marketing know-how.
Micro-influencers are smaller-scale personalities who promote brands.
They usually have between 1,000 to 10,000 followers, share posts that are in partnership with other users/brands, and tag brands that are in the photo (even if it’s not a partnership post).
If you can see them tagging brands in photos, it’s usually a sign that they’ll consider promoting a brand on their Instagram page.
Here’s why you should strongly consider harnessing the power of micro-influencers.
THE DO’S AND DON’TS
A seemingly endless supply of influencers can be found across multiple platforms. But don’t dive in straight away, your task is to be choosy.
And we’re here to help.
DO CHOOSE AN INFLUENCER THAT ALIGNS WITH YOUR BRAND
An influencer needs to enhance and protect your brand, not confuse it. All of those building blocks you’ve put in place to form your brand need to remain intact, not get obliterated by a wildcard influencer.
Here’s a checklist:
- Tone of voice and brand personality. Does your influencer fit your brand’s characteristics and the way it speaks? For example, if you’re a young, cool beauty start-up don’t choose a stuffy corporate bloke as your influencer of choice.
- Target audience. Do your audience know and relate to the influencer? If he or she is irrelevant to them, you’ll want to steer well clear. Even if they’re a global superstar (think of Mendes and the big data).
- Values. Do they share the values of your brand? For instance, if you’re a vegan clothing company, don’t go for someone who’s known for their meat-eating ways.
I mean, Justin can be lovin’ it with MacDonald’s all he wants, but your vegan audience wouldn’t be sold on his involvement with you at the same time.
DON’T CHOOSE AN INFLUENCER WHO ISN’T INTERESTED IN YOUR BRAND
This is pretty important. If a post is ingenuine, your audience will be able to tell.
What’s even more dangerous is that if they don’t actually care or believe in your brand, they’re liable to make mistakes, as BooTea Shake learnt the hard way with Scott Disick.
How likely do we think that Scott was using BooTea Shake to ‘keep up with the summer workout routine’?
At least he remembered to tip a bit out of the top though, right?
P.S. He’s paid between $15,000 to $20,000 per post…enough said.
DO MAKE SURE THEIR FANS ARE INTERACTING WITH THEIR PHOTOS AND POSTS
There’s a reason you’ve heard the term ‘everyone’s an influencer these days’. It’s because it’s easy to slap that label on yourself if you have a fair few followers.
But how much are those followers actually engaging? Is there a genuine trust and relationship there?
Check their photos and see if real users are liking and commenting on the photos.
Things to look out for:
- Are their fans tagging their friends in the comments?
- Are users asking about products in the photo?
- Is the influencer responding to them? One-way conversations are not a good sign.
DON’T PICK AN INFLUENCER THAT’S ON THE WRONG PLATFORM FOR YOUR BRAND
Put simply, don’t put all your eggs in an Instagram influencer’s basket when your audience isn’t there.
B2B marketing agency? Use a well-known B2B blogger with an enviable email list of eager subscribers.
B2C cosmetic company? Get an Instagram influencer and lifestyle blogger on board.
Don’t get swept up in your opinion of the platform. The only question you need to answer is: are my audience there?
Now you’re clued up on influencer marketing options, I’m going to hit you with a hard question…
IS INFLUENCER MARKETING ACTUALLY A GOOD MOVE FOR YOU?
Are you being influenced by influencer marketing sweeping the marketing world?
Technology researcher and strategist, Alexandra Samuel (Vision Critical), talks about how influencer marketing is missing the mark in many cases as it’s not reaching the ‘invisible audience’.
She identifies three groups of social media users:
- Enthusiasts: those who post more than five times a week
- Dabblers: those who post two to four times a week
- Lurkers: those who post once a week (or just lurk without posting)
Here’s the thing. Lurkers make up 52% of social media users and they’re far less interested in being influenced. And they’re unlikely to talk about posts, products or services they’ve seen on social media to family and friends.
On the face of it, influencers will have more impact on the enthusiasts and dabblers.
However all is not lost. It simply requires an even deeper understanding of your audience.
Are your audience big-time lurkers? You can ask your influencer to tailor the call to action to the lurkers in your audience. They’re not going to share. They’re not going to comment. Perhaps a limited edition offer could work instead? This is where you can get creative!
WATCH OUT, INSTAGRAM COULD BE CHANGING
All that being said, there’s change afoot in the world of Instagram that could affect the world of influencer marketing.
You may have seen influencers crying into their superfood smoothies over Instagram’s recent trial in Australia to conceal the number of ‘likes’ a post receives.
Of course, this move has the potential to impact the commercial landscape.
The Director of Policy for Facebook Australia and New Zealand, Mia Garlick, commented that the change was made with the intention of freeing Instagram users from judgment and helping people to focus “less on likes and more on telling their story”.
Hilarious comments from Twitter users ensued. I’ll throw some words at you to sum it up: ‘mollycoddling’, ‘snowflakes’, ‘blood, sweat and tears’.
You get the drift.
Whatever your thoughts on the intent, it doesn’t need to be the end of Instagram as we know it. The analytics and reporting features are still available in the backend of accounts for business users so influencers can still prove their number of post ‘likes’. Although, it’s worth remembering that the readily visible comments, shares and followers still give a strong impression of the sway an influencer has.
The world evolves. Marketing evolves. We all evolve with it.
Now you know how to find influencers that are perfect for your brand. Ready to dive in?
Before you do, read this handy article from Medium, which goes into intricate detail on where to search for your influencers.
And lastly, if our little giggle at Scott Disick’s mistake wasn’t enough for you, here’s a list of the biggest influencer marketing fails you can learn from.