When getting started with influencer marketing the temptation can often be to go after the huge well-known influencers, but this will often be a bad call for several reasons:
- You’ll have to spend big on this, which means you’ll probably be under pressure to show a big volume of direct sales, which may not come in quick enough or at all
- You’ll probably end up choosing an influencer simply because you’ve heard of them/the size of their audience but whose audience may not fit your potential customer profile
- Research from Markerly showed that engagement rate falls for Instagram influencers as their follower count increases, so you’re likely to get less engagement with the big stars
Instead of falling into this trap, I suggest starting small and armed with lots of research. The first step should always be outlining your objectives and what success will look like – not just to you but to your boss/client/whoever you have to answer to.
Once you have your objectives it’s also important to ensure you’re clear on who you’re trying to reach – by this I don’t mean which influencers, I mean your end target audience or potential customer. Key things may be:
- Disposable income
To illustrate this point – Zoella is often hailed as one of the biggest influencers, however, her audience has historically been made up predominantly of young fans, therefore if your product is high value or luxury the chances are her followers simply won’t be able to afford it, so your money would be wasted.
So, once you know the audience you want to target, how do you find the influencers with that audience? Here are some of the steps I go through/tools that I use to find the right influencers for campaigns.
The first step doesn’t involve a tool as such but a simple look at who’s already following you on each social channel. Often, we’ll find that there are several influencers that are already fans of the brand though may not have posted about them – if anything these is the best to work with as they’re clearly already fans of yours so them posting about you would be authentic.
Followerwonk allows you to search people’s Twitter bios and profiles for keywords and filter by different options such as location a URL or min/max followers. This can be useful if you’re looking for influencers that also have a blog or website that they can feature you on too. Just inputting HTTP in the URL box will bring back influencers with sites in their bios too.
Use Instagram’s own search feature to find influencers using relevant hashtags for your brand, this works well especially if you have niche terms that you can use. So, using a broad term like fashion might bring back too many posts however if you have a focus on just eco fashion that brings back significantly less.
Once you find one influencer who feels like a good fit, look at who else they follow, chances are they’ll follow other influencers that are similar and therefore also relevant.
Also look if they’ve attended any events by looking at hashtags on their posts, as that’s another way to find influencers that also attended the event and might be a good fit.
Deep Social allows you to analyse an influencer’s audience so that you can then start to see whether they’re a fit for your brand and the audience you want to target, so you can see things like age range and location.
If you don’t want to pay for a tool like Deep Social, ask the influencer for stats about their audience – they should be able to get these analytics from social platforms or Google Analytics to give you a good indication.
Once you have your shortlist, go through and ask yourself:
- Do the influencer’s values align with your brand’s?
- Can you imagine that influencer talking about your brand organically?
- Do you think their audience would genuinely like your product and be able to buy it (both in affordability and availability)?
- Look out for red flags such as low engagement rates on posts or comments from followers accusing them of ‘selling out’ or just pushing advertising
- Run their profiles through a tool such as HypeAuditor for Instagram to check they have genuine followers and not fake ones
Focus less on the quantity of an influencer’s following and more on the quality and whether they actually look like potential customers.
Finally, monitor performance from each influencer once your campaign is live – how much engagement did their posts about you get, how much traffic did they send to your website, can you link any sales back to their posts? Keep a track of all of this so that for your next campaign you can go back to the influencers that proved worth it and know which ones weren’t the right fit.