Influencer Marketing: How to Find the Best Digital Fit
April 7, 2017
Over the past few years, I’ve watched many New Orleans-based digital influencers grow into something bigger than they were even imagining.
These locals have created social media channels and blogs that represent various aspects of the city—food, music, culture— and have enticed not only tens of thousands (or more!) of New Orleanians, but people across the globe.
What’s best about these digital influencers? They’ve gained the trust of a niche audience based on the content they provide. And in PR, working with partners who have established these strong relationships – and finding a perfect fit for our client’s brands— is key.
According to AdWeek, Influencer Marketing “opens up a new channel for brands to connect with consumers more directly, more organically, and at scale.” Rather than seeking traditional advertising, consumers can now look to their most-trusted digital media personality for suggestions on what to buy or where to travel. YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and additional social platforms are becoming the go-to for many looking for inspiration, advice or to actually purchase a product.
So how do you choose the best digital influencer to represent your brand?
- Define your brand objectives. Identify your overall campaign goals and objectives to keep in mind when looking for the best influencer. In addition to including quantifiable goals on campaign reach and frequency, consider qualitative goals that are important to your brand like content creation and audience engagement.
- Determine your influencer criteria. The first piece of the puzzle you’ll need to determine is what focus area your influencer will cover. Many influencers are niche, covering specific items like food, fashion or music, while some are a bit broader and cover lifestyle and culture. Decide what fits your brand best based on the audience viewing each influencer’s posts (and be sure your brand would fit into their content!).
- Engagement. An engaging influencer is extremely important when marketing your brand. Look for someone who frequently comments, likes and shares their content. This is an indicator of a dedicated influencer—and one that has gained trust of their following by being easily accessible through their platforms.
- Reach. Many marketers make the mistake of assuming that large number of followers = large reach = perfect fit. A brand or product will not see a great return if the influencer is not reaching your defined target audience. It’s better to have a smaller reach with more engagement to ensure the product is getting in front of the right people.
- Frequency. Similar to traditional advertising, it can take multiple exposures of a product or brand to create awareness. Digital influencers who post content regularly and frequently enough to grab the user’s attention tend to keep users and see more content shares.
- Authenticity. My favorite. You can tell when someone cares about a brand. Digital influencers who have a smaller ratio of sponsored content tend to be more trusted and appear more authentic. And although some bloggers or influencers only do sponsored content—you can tell which influencers are the best fit based on who really cares about the products they are promoting. For me, I’d want an influencer to tell me NO if they didn’t like my product. As an influencer, you can’t like everything, but you should only put your name behind products and companies that you do like.
- Research. It’s now time to review a variety of digital influencers and determine the best fit for your brand based on the above criteria. Read through past social media and blog posts to ensure the influencer’s content is in-line with your brand’s overall message strategy.
- Create the Story. If you send an influencer your product, opportunities are endless. Give your digital influencer an outline of your brand and the story that you want to tell with this product. What are you looking to tell your target audience through this influencer, and how would you like the story displayed through social images, blog posts, etc.? Create message points and outline a few story ideas for your influencer to have a clear picture of how to properly represent your brand. They’ll appreciate the guidance!
Our world continues to grow more and more infatuated with the digital space—and social media is the main attraction. Digital influencers have found a way to use this popular avenue to market not only themselves, but other brands to reach niche audiences they have created.
It’s our job as public relations professionals to do the proper due diligence and find the correct influencer for our clients—one that is engaging, authentic and reaches the proper target audience. We must craft the story that we want them to tell and ensure our message is portrayed through the eyes of the influencer.
Check out some of my favorite local influencers:
These two chicks have it going on. Check out @BabesandBeignets to see what Maggie and Alessandra and up-to in the city (and beyond!).
For Fashion and music lovers, follow @TheMonochrOmen for awesome style tips and playlists.
For health and fitness, @MilliganMovement is great inspiration.
Emily Reimsnyder is an Account Supervisor at Bond Moroch.