How to Find an Authentic Influencer for your Brand
Partnering with influencers is starting to become a must for companies and organisations both big and small.
Not only do these partnerships provide authentic content from a trusted source for your brand, but they can also help you find new audiences, increase engagement and conversions, improve your SEO and shed light on a new branding direction you might not have thought of.
After all, 68% of consumers trust opinions from other consumers, and, at their core, that’s what influencers are: consumers who share their stories on a large scale.
But when your brand commits to working with an influencer, the challenge then becomes finding the right influencer to fit your strategy.
Before you commit to bringing an influencer on board for your next campaign, ensure they tick off the essentials listed below.
The first, and most important, rule when it comes to finding an influencer is authenticity.
No one likes to feel like they’re watching an ad, and no creator wants to feel like they’re making one. If you partner with an influencer, it’s best if they genuinely enjoy or believe in your product or brand.
For a great example of this, you need look no further than when the Hawaiian Tourism Authority worked with Instagram travel blogger Jordan Herschel. His travel Instagram is based on taking photos of beautiful scenery from around the world, so a partnership that sent him on shoots across the picturesque islands of Hawaii felt totally authentic.
With influencers, bigger isn’t always better.
It’s often easy to be dazzled by a social media personality who has millions of followers, and assume that, by virtue of that huge following, they’re the right fit. But much more important than the number of followers is the level of engagement.
As a rule of thumb, influencers should have an engagement rate of 2% or more. This signals that they have grown their following organically means you should be able to rely on them to help build a community around your brand.
Respected Thought Leader
An influencer isn’t just a pretty face to put in front of your products.
The best partnerships come from working with genuine opinion leaders who are keyed-in to their audiences and their industries. They can’t be constant promoters who are hocking a different product every second post.
What’s the worst that could happen when you work with an influencer and that is the case?
Well, look no further than Kendall Jenner and her Pepsi fiasco earlier this year.
This should go without saying, but it’s always best to work with people who have good attitudes.
Any influencers you work with have to be open to collaboration, discussion, and feedback on their ideas. If they’re closed off, or unwilling to listen to suggestions, then it may be best to avoid them.
It can also be a good idea to put together Terms of Agreement at the start of the partnership, making clear what is and isn’t acceptable content. Setting clear rules and boundaries is a great way to make sure things never get off track.
Strong Understanding of Their Audience
An influencer needs to have a clear understanding of their audience.
Not only does this ensure you’re targeting the people who might be interested in your brand, it also means that the influencer’s sponsored content will be created in a way the audience can enjoy and engage with.
A True Partnership
On top of being authentic thought leaders, great influencer partnerships stem from being just that: partnerships.
You can’t approach influencers like they’re your employees or somehow beholden to your brand. They’re creators who you can build long-lasting relationships with.
A perfect example of this is Samsung’s continuing partnership with YouTube influencer, Casey Neistat. Over the past few years, they have partnered to create several content campaigns, and this all culminated in a big push for the 2017 Super Bowl.
In each of these videos, you can see that Casey clearly cares, and is genuinely excited by, the Samsung products being featured. He’s not just a salesman cashing in a paycheck.
And that is, without a doubt, the most important part of an influencer partnership.
Read this next: Lessons from an influencer: Lisa Hamilton of See Want Shop