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Brands are projected to spend a whopping $15 billion on influencer marketing in 2022. Influencer marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing techniques to help brands connect with their audience. Why? Because people tend to trust influencers and their content about the product more than companies.
According to this study, 63% of their participants between the ages of 18 and 34 trust what influencers say about brands more than what brands say about themselves.
Collaborating with an influencer to scale your business is a smart move, but there are a few things you should know. Let’s dig right into some of the best practices for better influencer-brand collaboration.
First, choose the right platform that fits your product or service
As we know, a major part of your social media strategy is selecting the right platform. Selecting the right platform depends on a few factors:
- Your goals: Do you want to drive more traffic to your website, drum up sales or encourage more engagement from your audience? Some social platforms encourage engagement and conversation, while others encourage views. This can help you identify the platform you should focus on when looking for an influencer. For example, if your goal is to encourage engagement, I recommend TikTok where the average engagement rate per post reaches 5.9% while it’s only 0.83% on Instagram and 0.13% on Facebook. Let’s say you’re selling B2B products or services, LinkedIn will be the most suitable platform to build brand awareness, drive website traffic and generate leads.
- Your target audience: You should also consider demographics like age, gender and location when choosing a platform. Adults between 24 – 34 years old, for instance, make up 31% of Instagram’s audience, while 24% of TikTok’s global audience were women between the ages of 18 and 24 years are more likely to be on TikTok. Facebook is the top-visited social media platform in the U.S., while Twitter is the most popular social media in Japan if we exclude LINE, a messaging app founded in South Korea. Do your research before selecting the platform. Back up your decisions with demographic data, rather than being swayed by the current trends.
- Where the competitors are: It can save you time seeing how the competitors are performing, what things they did well, what things they dropped the ball on and learning from their mistakes.
- Identify if the influencer is well-known on the platform: You might find an influencer with more than a million followers on TikTok while having little or no presence at all on YouTube. So, validate that the influencer has a highly engaging audience on the selected social media channel(s).
Related: How to Succeed Using Influencer Marketing and Brand Collaboration
1. Choose a relevant influencer
It is essential to choose an influencer that addresses the same target audience as you do. For instance, when marketing a fitness product, a suitable influencer could be someone who shares educational content about health and fitness or workout videos. Relevancy is a crucial part of selecting who to partner with to build trust with your audience and provide advice and recommendations from experts with authority in the field.
You should also keep in mind that there are different types of influencers out there and that you can expect different results from each. There are four main types of influencers when it comes to their follower base:
- Nano-influencers: 10,000 followers or fewer.
- Micro-influencers: between 10,000 and 100,000 followers.
- Macro-influencers: between 100,000 and 1 million followers.
- Mega-influencers: 1 million or more followers.
If you aim to raise brand awareness, relevant mega and macro-influencers would fit nevertheless. Although micro and nano-influencers reach fewer people, they are more likely to inspire action. Micro-influencers can have a greater impact on followers’ actions than celebrities can. One study suggests the reason for this is that audiences usually find them more trustworthy and relatable than celebrities.
2. Validate the followers
To know whether an influencer is a perfect fit, you first need to pay close attention to their followers. If you have a business account on a social media platform, chances are you have come across those accounts that pretend to be like real ones by collecting fake followers and engagements. A simple but effective test to see if the influencer you want to work with has fake followers or not is to select some of their followers at random and notice how they engage with that account.
Check on their profiles to confirm that they are not fake and that they look like your customer profile. A fake account can be easily detected, a typical one would normally hold zero number of posts or very few ones. The fake follower would most likely follow thousands of accounts while having a significantly lower number of followers. Sometimes the account has no profile picture or a vague profile description. All these criteria are red flags that they are fake accounts.
You can also check the influencer’s previous posts. If you find only a few engagements (likes, comments, shares) then don’t be deceived by the high number of followers. This influencer most probably bought fake followers. A good exercise is to chat with the influencer about previous successful campaigns’ they’ve worked on.
Related: What ‘Authenticity’ Actually Looks Like in an Influence-Marketing Collaboration
3. Give influencers room for creativity
The content delivered to the audience should be authentic. The best way to do this is to analyze the influencer’s previous posts as a reference point, and work together on how the content will look, the constraints you have and the things you expect to achieve without dictating and letting them do the talking.
4. Monitor engagements and track campaign results and outcomes
One of the core pillars of social media marketing is listening and engagement. Social media listening is identifying and assessing what customers say about the brand, brand mentions and the trends around a company. It will allow the company to measure the campaign’s success, know what worked well and avoid future mistakes.
It is really important to track the impact of influencer marketing by using social media listening tools and not depending only on data supplied by the influencer. There’re many social media listening tools like Brandwatch, which helps marketers understand their audience, track conversions and monitor brand mentions.
If influencers drive website traffic, you have to set up Google Analytics to measure the campaign performance KPIs like the number of visitors to your website, pages per session and bounce rate. Ultimately, if you’re selling a product online, you should track sales in real-time. An easy way is to give each influencer a discount coupon to share with his/her followers so you can easily detect the source of each transaction.
Are you ready to collaborate with an influencer? When in doubt, refer back to these pointers before you commit.