So, we’ve covered the basics of influencer marketing: what it is, why it works and why you should care. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and learn how to make some influencer magic actually happen. Your next lesson: how to find and lock down the right influencers for your brand. Sharpen your pencil (or better yet, fire up your digital note-taking device) because Influencer Marketing 201 is officially in session.
PHASE ONE: RESEARCH PREP
Before you start googling, familiarize yourself with the three Rs: reach, relevance and resonance. This is the holy triumvirate of influencer marketing, meaning you should only consider influencers who meet expectations in all three arenas.
When it comes to reach, consider how many potential customers you would like to see your influencer’s content. Bigger is usually better, but keep in mind that connecting with mega-famous influencers comes with its own set of challenges, like dealing with agents and scaling compensation to their needs. Plus, you just might catch a big star on the rise by roping in a lesser-known influencer.
Without relevance, reach means little to your brand. Boasting a massive follower count doesn’t mean the word is getting out to the right people. If you’re looking to capture the attention of middle aged luxury travelers, @thefatjewish probably isn’t the right influencer for you.
Resonance is the third and final requirement your influencers should meet. Are their fans picking up on the content they’re posting? Even if the influencer has the reach potential and relevance you desire, if no one is engaging with their content, they won’t do much for your brand.
PHASE TWO: ACTUAL RESEARCH
With the three Rs in mind, it’s time to start hunting for influencers. There’s no need to overthink it: Google is your best friend during this phase. (Unless, of course, you’d rather streamline the process with social listening tools, which you may need to reach into your pockets for.) Get as specific as possible and you will eventually see further than the tip of the iceberg.
A few tips: don’t limit your search exclusively to people on social media. Research relevant bloggers and writers and check out their social media presences via their websites. Also, look through pertinent hashtags to see who is posting engaging content that might align with your brand messaging. Think outside the box and you’ll quickly start stocking up on your own tips and tricks.
PHASE THREE: RECORDING AND ANALYZING YOUR CANDIDATES
Record information about your potential influencers in a weighted rubric. Not only will this help you stay organized, but it’ll also provide you with a simple formula to analyze and prioritize your wide-reaching data. When creating your rubric, consider follower count, average engagement, quality of engagement, writing skills and photography skills. Have additional priorities? Add them to the rubric!
PHASE FOUR: REACHING OUT
Now that you’ve assessed your candidates and narrowed it down to your dream influencers, it’s time to reach out. Calling or emailing them is ideal, but if they don’t publicize their contact information, use a contact form or social media to get their attention. Whether you get a response from the influencer themselves or their agent, you’ll want to draft up an official written pitch. Since many influencers sift through a flood of brand emails every day, it’s in your best interest to make yours visually appealing in order to set it apart from the rest. After they say yes, send them a contract negotiation and you’re well on your way to giving your brand the royal influencer treatment.
Sleep on this and get your brain ready for Influencer Marketing 301. Next stop: working with your influencer(s) to execute branded content.