Choosing an Influencer as the face of your next campaign is more involved than scrolling through your social media platform of choice and picking the first person you see with the right number of followers and an image or video that you think looks great! You’ll need to set the right goals for your marketing campaign, determine your target audience, and choose an Influencer that matches the voice of your brand.
There are only so many hours in the day for an Influencer to post, after all. And with a rise in long-term Influencer-brand partnerships— nearly half of marketers want to work with an Influencer long-term and almost all (96%) of Influencers want to work with brands on an ongoing basis— choosing the right Influencer to partner with is more important than ever.
Here’s a breakdown of the Influencer vetting process to ensure you are partnering with the best Influencer for your next marketing campaign.
Choosing the Right Influencer for your Influencer Marketing Campaign
With so many Influencers to choose from on a variety of social media platforms (and new platforms popping up every day— here’s looking at you, Clubhouse), it can be overwhelming to try to find the right choice. Let us help you with a step-by-step guide to finding your Influencer.
Step One: Determine Your Goals
Before you can even begin to vet Influencers, you first need to determine the goals of your influencer marketing campaign. The most common influencer marketing goals are:
- Increased brand awareness
- Increased traffic to your website
- To reach a previously untapped demographic
- To widen your audience by increasing exposure
- Improved conversion rates
- Increase customer engagement across platforms
- Gain customer insights by monitoring engagement patterns
The Influencer or Influencers you choose to partner with will depend on the goals of your campaign and will determine which influencer marketing tiers your ideal partners fit into. Are you looking to increase brand awareness as much as possible? Then you’ll want to partner with a celebrity (mega) Influencer. Are you planning to improve customer engagement across social platforms? Then partnering with a selection of micro Influencers will be a better fit for your campaign.
Step 2: Monitor Influencer Metrics
Now that you have clear goals in mind, it’s time to take a look at Influencer metrics to see if they are a good fit for your campaign.
The metrics to track while vetting Influencers include:
- Follower growth— the most successful Influencers never stop growing, it’s important to track steady long-term organic follower growth to ensure they have an engaged audience.
- Engagement— the mark of a truly great Influencer is a high & consistent engagement rate across their content. Engagement is calculated by the summation of likes/reactions, shares, saves, direct messages, comments, etc., and are great signs that your Influencer has an active, attentive audience.
- Content— it’s important for Influencers to be active on their platforms creating a strong mix of sponsored and organic content. Influencers that have more sponsored than organic content consistently will start to alienate their audience and lose credibility.
- Brand Safety— once you’ve found a potential list of Influencers to partner with, it’s imperative to complete a brand safety vet to ensure that what is underneath the hood of the Influencer account is of the highest quality. A few items to dig into are: location of Influencer followers, type of Influencer followers, and relevancy of comments.
Step Three: Align Values and Voice
Just because an Influencer has a large audience and a lot of content in their feed doesn’t automatically make them the right match for you. Step three in the Influencer vetting process is picking Influencers who promote values that align with your company values, and whose social media voice is in line with your brand.
Nothing sticks out like a sore thumb on social media more than a branded post by an Influencer that is totally out of line with their typical style of posting. Attentive followers can spot an inauthentic branded post a mile away, so keep the focus on the campaign message and partner with someone who matches the values and voice of your brand.
Are you running a quickly growing tech startup and looking for an Influencer to help spread the word? Partner with individuals who are fully ingrained in the tech industry whose followers are more likely to be interested in your organization. Is your company a personable lifestyle brand? Then you’ll want to partner with an Influencer known for their authentic audience engagement.
Source: @jevendovey on Instagram
Step Four: Vet for Brand Safety
When conducting a brand safety audit, this is your chance to make sure the Influencer of choice is legitimate. It’s important to take an approach where you are using third-party services as well as including a human touch. A multi-tier approach is extremely important for you to understand the Influencer’s full history before you start your partnership.
Beyond analyzing followers, you need to carefully examine things like comments on a post to explore relevancy to the context of the post. Once you’ve established a relationship with an Influencer, brand safety encompasses everything that revolves around maintaining brand image— how the Influencer uses their social media accounts, how they represent themselves, who else the Influencer works with, and ultimately anything that would affect a consumer’s view of your brand.
Brand safety measures in influencer marketing can include many steps of the process from reviewing content already on the Influencer’s account before partnering to ensure a good fit with the brand to identifying past brand partners and how it was received by their audience, was it an authentic match, did follower engage with the sponsored post?
When working with Influencers, there are established guidelines and expectations to make sure that the engagement and partnership is authentic, and not allowing things like purchased likes, click farms, or other unethical tactics.
An Influencer brand safety audit should include:
- Follower location analysis: Is this audience relevant to this brand?
- Type of followers: Are the followers active? What’s their demographic? Are their accounts real?
- Relevancy of comments: Do comments have common themes? Do they match the post?
Brand safety vetting is important to campaigns, but even more important for long-term brand-Influencer partnerships. Since these audits or screening processes can be time-consuming, for long-term relationships with Influencers, they are worth the additional time and effort to avoid issues later on.
Before you head off to pitch your chosen Influencers, here is our crash course in Influencer Marketing ROI 101 to help you get the most out of your next campaign.
Questions about how influencer marketing can turn into ROI?