Influencer Marketing Essentials Part 3 of 5: Identifying and engaging with your influencers

Simon Elliott avatar

Simon Elliott

When done right, a well-matched influencer offers a great opportunity to help audiences engage with your brand. Our influencer campaigns have evolved over time, and starting to prove a crucial element of the marketing mix. With the 1001 Carpet Care brand, we’ve seen the influencer activity grow our audience not just in numbers of ‘follows’ but with people who genuinely interact with 1001.

Finding a perfect fit

In an ideal world, someone on your team, or even someone in your brand’s existing social media audience, leads you organically to an appropriate influencer – nothing can quite compare to insider knowledge into the finicky and fast-changing online environment. However, that kind of native understanding doesn’t always exist, and it can be expensive and time-consuming to try and create.

You’ll mostly be relying on good old-fashioned research – find your target audience and do a deep dive into where they are online. Start with a big list and then start assessing them on the finer points of compatibility. We asked Alex, our social media and influencer marketing expert, to break down the crucial steps to finding the right influencer:

  • Understand their audience – it doesn’t need to be an exact overlap with your target audience but a scattershot approach using broad interest matches may end up being a waste.

  • Review their content – do they have affinity with the core values of your brand or with the brand perception you are trying to shift toward?

  • Consider their relationships – What other commercial relationships does this influencer have? Are they congruent with your brand values? Has the influencer’s authenticity (as perceived by their audience) undermined by too many brand sponsorships?

  • Ask about performance – How have their activities been performing? They should be able to provide some numbers about results from other brand partnerships.

  • Don’t shoehorn a collaboration – Does it feel natural? You don’t need to produce something exactly like their usual topics – for example, a makeup artist influencer who happens to travel a lot might be a good fit for one of your traveller-oriented products if you’re looking for a more natural-sounding offhand mention – and the influencer can pull off this tone.

  • Don’t forget about those who already like you – Even if they’re a smaller influencer, if they’ve already have used or mentioned your product/service then this should definitely be promising for a future collaboration, as there’s already authenticity to your relationship.

The temptation when choosing an influencer to gravitate toward the person with the highest follower count, but not only can this be the most expensive option, it can also be less effective. Over time, we’ve noticed influencers talking about products that they love, and their audience really believe. If they then start pushing brand they’ve never talked about, surrounded by the word ‘ad’, then it can be a big turn off. Not only will the audience reject the brand in question, but many start to question the authenticity of the influencer.

Trust or Bust

There’s been a lot of press recently about the growing trend and fame of Influencers, and their relationships with brands and their audiences alike. As an emerging channel, brands are still feeling out the boundaries in a landscape that is prone to rapid change and, more recently, government policies.

Audiences are not naïve about the relationships between influencers and brands, and within their expectations of what is or is not ‘real’ there have more and more demands for transparency and authenticity. In research by UM and Campaign Live, 25% of respondents considered authenticity to be ‘very important’ – and that number rose to 40% among 18-24-year olds.

So once you’ve found the right influencers, how should you work with them? Check out Part 4 of our Influencer Essentials series.

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