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How to Choose Social Media Influencers

What is an influencer?

Influencers are individuals with the ability to sway or influence an audience. They are power players in their respective fields – whether on or off social media. Their knowledge, status and relationship with their audience means that they have the power to affect purchase decisions and perception of the brands they work with.

 

Why should you use an influencer?

Collaborating with an influencer can help your brand increase its reach, authenticity and, of course, sales. You can benefit from the fact that the influencer has built and maintained a highly targeted following to increase your reach in potentially untapped audiences. You can also build a greater sense of your brand’s authenticity using these partnerships.
Influencers will have cultivated a personal brand and trusted following, who treat recommendations from them like they would a friend’s. An influencer’s trust in your brand is transferred to their audience. Ultimately your goal is to convert sales, working with influencers can be a great way to achieve this. One of the most effective forms of marketing is word-of-mouth, and when an influencer endorses your product, it does just that. In fact, studies have shown that 60% of consumers have been influenced by a social media post or a blog review.

Types of influencers

Once you have decided to get started with influencer marketing, how do you choose which you want to work with? It is a highly saturated market. According to influencer marketing platform, Klear, the number of influencer posts on Instagram nearly doubled to more than 1.5 million posts worldwide between 2016 and 2017. Influencers can be broken down into 3 categories, although the numbers can vary from industry to industry:

 
 

Micro Influencers

Followers: 1k – 10k
Engagement Rate: 25% – 50%
Who they are.
These influencers are your everyday people who have a built a small, but dedicated following. Their followers are interested in their honest opinions, and see their recommendations as one given by a friend.
How they work.
Because of their small but specialised following, these influencers will often create content in return for product. They’re still building up their reputation, and while they will turn down partnerships they don’t think align with their brand, they don’t usually charge a fee.
What they can do for you.
These influencers are a haven for brand engagement. Their small following means that their followers are often highly engaged and their recommendations go further. They chat and joke, and offer a one-on-one feel for their followers, usually taking the time to answer the majority of comments.

Since it’s not appropriate to wear PJs to work (boo) these trousers will have to do.

A post shared by Jasmin White (@healthytwenties) on


 

Macro Influencers

Followers: 10k – 1 million
Engagement Rate: 5% to 25%
Who they are.
Macro influencers are industry professionals or professional bloggers. They have created a reputation for themselves and receive a steady income their social channels.
How they work.
These influencers will usually charge a fee because of their standing in an industry, and while their follower base is larger it is still quite focused. While lower than Micro influencers, they still get a solid amount of engagement.
What they can do for you.
These influencers offer the perfect balance. Although their engagement is lower than micro, their reach is far larger while still maintaining that personal feel. Your brand gets authentic exposure, but they do require some budget as these influencers usually have set fees.


 
 

Mega Influencers

Followers: 1 million+
Engagement Rate: 2% – 5%
Who they are.
Traditional celebs and social media celebrities. These guys are social media royalty and come with the following to back it. Their follower base is broad, but because of the sheer number of them aren’t always interested or engaged.
How they work.
Get ready to put some budget behind these partnerships. These influencers will come with hefty fees for single posts. For example, a Kardashian endorsed post can cost you up to half a million dollars.
What they can do for you.
Exposure. Their follower base means that your product will reach an enormous number of people quickly, but that number may be less effective at engaging audiences. While they will reach these individuals it is likely that most of them won’t be interested. They may get those likes, but it may not be worth the payout.


 
 

Your influencer strategy

Before you start throwing money at Mega influencers, stop to think about what you want out of partnerships. Outline your objectives, your audience and your budget. Are you looking to raise the general awareness of your brand or are you highlighting the launch of a new product? Are you trying to reach as many people as possible, or a specialised group? Do you have the budget to pay influencer fees, or do you only have product?
Different influencer tiers will allow you to hit different marketing goals. Micro influencers are great if you have little to no budget, and to reach a small focused group. Macro influencers may take some budget, but will reach a larger, still focused audience. And Mega influencers will definitely get your product out there, but will take a hefty fee with no promise of it reaching who you want it to reach.
If you are looking to get followers engaging with your brand, Micro influencers are your best bet. If you’re looking for brand awareness, then be prepared to put budget behind a Mega, but keep in mind the broadness of the audience.

Selecting an Influencer

Once you have decided on what you want from the partnership and how much you’re willing to spend on it, you need to find the perfect influencer.  Establish a set of criteria for choosing your influencers:
 

  1. Is their content in line with your brand message?


Choosing just any specialised influencer won’t always work. Each influencer will have a look and feel that needs to align with your brand. For example, while Amber Fillerup and Clemmie Hooper may both be ‘It’ Instagram Mums, their messages are drastically different.
 

  1. How many followers do they have + How engaged are their followers? 


Obviously having a solid number of followers is essential, but, are you looking for awareness or engagement from them? Some influencers may have a large following, but if they have a lower engagement it might not get people talking about your product. For example, Matt Miszczak’s instagram page focuses largely on visually stunning content, which reaches a large number of people, but doesn’t always encourage engagement.
 

  1. What will they create?


Are you looking for beautifully laid out flatlays? Or do you want more lifestyle styled shots? Each influencer will have their own style, and it is important to keep in mind that you will not be able to have creative control over it.  For example, Meghan Rienks is known for her clean and crisp white Instagram page, while Meredith Foster’s posts are far more colourful.
 

  1.  Have they collaborated with brands before?

You can tell a lot about an influencer from the brands they have collaborated with before, from pricing to preferences. Do not assume that just because they are a fashion influencer, they only work with clothing brands. For example, fashion Instagrammer Shelley Anne has partnered with everything from film to music to chocolate.
Look for different types of influencers depending on what message you’d like to convey, and can make even the most uninteresting products fun and dynamic. For example, Rosie Thomas partnership with LG on the launch of their newest fridge took a seemingly everyday object and made it something her followers wanted to learn more about.
 

  1. Who and where are their audience?

Take into consideration the influencer’s audience segments. There are tools, such as Deep Social, that can give you full reports on the age, location and gender of their followers.  This insight can be crucial in identifying influencers who can reach the customer base you want. Just because the influencer may be a certain age, does not mean their followers will be too. For example, Naomi Davis may be in her thirties, but according to Deep Social,  almost half of her follower base is made up of 18-24 year olds.

Finding your Influencers

With so many influencers out there, how do you go about finding the ones that will work for you? The plus side to the over-saturation of influencers is that simply typing ‘Top … influencers’ into Google will give you an extensive list. The downside? They’ll be Mega influencers who will put quite a dent in your pocket.
There are many tools out there, both free and paid like Buzzmo, Kred and Klear, that will do all the work for you. These tools will work great for scouting Mega and Macro influencers – they identify people with high ranking positions within specific industries. But, when it comes to Micro influencers, it will take some scouring and clicking from your end. A great way to discover new influencers is to check out who is following who, as these are often close knit communities.
Once you have set out your strategy and identified potential partners, you need to contact your influencers. Keep first contact fun and chatty, like and engage with their content beforehand, establish that you want to build a relationship. Remember to think of influencer partnerships as long term. Successful partnerships can lead to genuine brand ambassadors, helping both brands develop and grow.
 

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