In many ways, influencer marketing is already a well-established practice; 84% of marketers planned to include influencer marketing in their strategy this year. Yet when I speak to brands, it is clear that they are spending millions on influencer marketing without the tools to make educated decisions and run effective campaigns.
Until recently, choosing an influencer for a campaign required spending an inordinate amount of time on research to extrapolate unhelpful data and vanity metrics, like the number of followers or amount of likes per post. These indeterminate factors are supposed to help marketers decide where to allocate a big chunk of their budget towards an influencer marketing campaign.
While no marketer would ever run a traditional digital campaign without obtaining meaningful information about the audience it’s trying to reach, brands are becoming so eager to work with an influencer that they are willing to overlook the fact that they may not even be reaching their target audience.
As influencer marketing matures, advertisers are beginning to compare its results with traditional advertising, and technologies have emerged to help brands ensure their campaigns are successful. But it all begins with selecting the right influencer.
Think of the influencer as a marketing channel
You would never advertise in a magazine without knowing who reads it. You would never buy a TV spot without knowing who watches the show. Why would you spend money with an influencer without ensuring their audience is a good fit for your brand?
A classic example is advertising bikinis. For years, advertisers would find a beautiful model, have her wear their bikinis and publish the ad in magazines. The natural inclination is to do the same with Instagram models. Unfortunately, many Instagram models have a significantly male audience, and that audience isn’t buying any bikinis.
Picture credit: HYPR
Kate Upton has millions of Instagram followers, with plenty of engagement, but an overwhelmingly male audience with interests including gaming. Choosing Upton to promote the app ‘Game of War’ was a great choice – but asking her to promote women’s goods may not be such a great choice.
Start by finding influencers that reach your target demographic and influence your vertical. Is the audience the right age? In the right location? Of the right gender? Using these questions to make your selections will ensure you pick influencers that can make an impact for your brand.
Don’t be blinded by vanity metrics
Don’t let irrelevant metrics like the number of followers or likes on a specific post cloud your judgement. Those metrics mean nothing for your campaign because they neglect to take into account the context and timing of your campaign. Are 2 million followers from two years ago going to make any impact on your brand?
There are three key factors you should be paying attention to: reach (how many people are likely to see their post); engagement (what percentage are likely to engage with it); and virality (are fans sharing the influencer’s content?). At HYPR, we use an algorithm that relies heavily on these factors.
Make sure you pick someone who influences your vertical
Verticals refer to the topics that an influencer actually influences, and it is important to pay attention to influencer verticals. If you hire a music influencer to promote a tech company, unless the audiences are aligned, it’s likely your bottom line will suffer. Remember what happened with Alicia Keys and BlackBerry?
The factors for choosing an influencer revolve around a distinct objective. With influencer marketing, you want to reach the right people at the right time. So, when choosing an influencer, make sure your choice is targeted to the folks you want to reach. Using these three tips, you’ll be able to ensure that.