While influencer marketing is more popular than ever in today’s market, the idea has been ingrained into society even before the days of social media. Back in 1944, the two-step flow of communication reasoned that opinion leaders (influencers) share their beliefs, ideologies, or thoughts with individuals (followers) who are consequently impacted by them. When this theory is applied to the consumer market, individuals tend to value the thoughts of influencers when buying products they recommended.
Importance of Influencers
“Consumers are seven times more likely to trust someone they follow on social media over a traditional celebrity,” according to an article recently published by Adweek. This statistic speaks to authenticity, voice, and engagement, which are staples in choosing individuals to represent any brand.
With more than 6.7 million bloggers online, PR practitioners have an extremely large pool of influencers to choose from, which often can be thought of a as a double-edged sword. Before jumping in, businesses need to have a clear vision of what they want to achieve out of putting their brand in the hands of an influencer. Whether it be a product review, giveaway, or another form of promotion, practitioners need to have a clear vision of what a partnership with said influencer will accomplish.
Choosing the right influencer to represent a brand is a crucial decision. In order to do so, it is vital to keep in mind the following factors while “vetting”: Voice, Engagement, and Tangible Results.
Identifying the voice of a potential influencer to represent a client is necessary for various reasons. What does their voice say about them as an online presence? Do they pride themselves on professionalism, or are they more laid-back? An influencer’s voice speaks directly to who their audience is. Target audiences can vary far and wide with niche interests, meaning that choosing an influencer also means choosing who you reach.
When identifying an influencer’s voice, also reflect upon what platforms the influencer dominantly uses. Are they a YouTuber who posts demonstrational videos, or “Insta-famous” posting the latest trends and must-haves? With each social media platform also comes different urgencies from audiences. Without understanding how each platform operates, a brand may end up not reaching its intended audience, and the brand’s voice may not be heard.
Following and engagement on social media work together to ensure that an influencer’s content is being read, recognized, and captivating audiences. Services such as SEMRush and Cision are highly useful tools to gauge how audiences are actively engaging with an influencer’s content. A strong number of Unique Viewers per Month (UVM) in tangent with a strong social media following makes for an influencer who would be an asset to a campaign.
While an influencer’s following may be impressive at first glance, it is in the best interest of the brand to dig deeper and spend some time exploring their social pages. Are followers commenting, liking, or sharing content? Or is the influencer speaking to an empty room? While the numbers may look good on paper, engagement speaks volumes to an influencer’s impact on their following.
Prior to setting out on an influencer search, a brand must have a clear vision of what it is they want to gain from the partnership. Do they want to grow their social following, bring awareness to an issue, or increase sales? These goals should impact the influencer being sought out. In doing so, tangible results can be achieved.
When partnering with an influencer, try to envision more opportunities down the road. Followers recognize when an influencer is passionate about a brand and continually works with them, further reinforcing their message.
Interested in learning more about influencer marketing? Stay tuned for upcoming blog posts about Influencer Marketing and how it can benefit your brand within your target audience.
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