How to Source the Right Influencers for your Brand
Influencer marketing is becoming a growing part of many businesses marketing strategies with larger percentages of budgets being allocated to working with influencers every year. Yet, with a greater budget comes greater expectations.
Simply spending more on influencer marketing doesn’t mean greater success. In fact, as businesses scale their influencer marketing programs, it can become more difficult to ensure that all partnerships and collaborations align with your brand.
In this article, we are going to explore how brands can apply simple best practices to help them find the best influencers for their brand and products. So whether you are a big brand looking to maintain quality as you scale your influencer campaigns or you are a small brand looking to get the most for your money from influencer marketing - read on.
Start With the Goal in Mind
All too often marketers get caught up in the excitement of influencer marketing. But just because you feel like you should be working with influencers, or just because your competitors are, doesn’t mean that you should.
Before you start looking for influencers you need to define your ‘why’. Doing so can actually be pretty simple as it should stem from your wider business goals. Here is what the process looks like:
Business Goals > Marketing Goals > Influencer Marketing Goals
Here is an example:
Business Goal: To become established as a thought leader in our niche
Marketing Goal: To create high quality, brand associated content in our niche
Influencer Marketing Goals: To co-create educational content with respected influencers in our niche
Your business goal should act as a ‘North Star’ guiding your decision-making when picking influencers.
Define Your Target Audience
Ultimately, successful influencer marketing isn’t about targeting influencers, it is about targeting their audience.
This is why defining your target audience is one of the most important steps in finding the very best influencers to help promote your brand. Once you know exactly who you are trying to target, you can seek out influencers who have influence over that audience and approach them to work with you.
If you don’t already have a clear idea of your target audience you can find them by assessing customer data, interviewing current and potential clients, and creating buyer personas.
Know Your Brand
Your audience knowledge will allow you to find a list of potential influencers. However, just because an influencer appeals to your audience doesn’t mean they should represent your brand.
Let’s take for example that you market a business that sells luxury watches. Your target audience may be young, career-focused men. Many of them may follow meme accounts, but that doesn’t mean a meme account is the right place to promote your brand or products.
Knowing your brand will help you whittle down your list of influencers. Although influencer content certainly doesn’t have to be an exact match to that of your brand, it should feel complementary in nature. This is especially true when looking to co-create content with influencers.
Use the Right Tools
So, by now you should know what you are looking for. But how do you find those influencers who tick the right boxes?
If you have ever manually searched for influencers in the past, you will know how time-intensive and unforgiving this can be. Using an influencer marketing tool is a smart way to speed up your search and save a considerable amount of stress.
There are lots of different types of tools to choose from, ranging from influencer marketplaces which usually offer a pay-to-post approach to tools that help you quickly search huge pools of influencers based on your criteria.
This being said, if you market a well-established brand you may be able to find some ‘low-hanging fruit’ by finding influencers who already willingly promote or engage with your brand for free.
Start a Conversation
So far we have offered advice for using tools and data to help you find the right influencers for your brand. These methods are a great way to create a shortlist of influencers who may be good partners. However, influencers marketing is ultimately a tool that relies on personal relationships.
Starting a conversation with those influencers on your shortlist will help you get to grips with whether they are the right fit for your brand. This conversation should go beyond the technicalities of your camping and should help you understand whether the influencer’s values align with your brands.
Although financial considerations are an important aspect of these conversations, if the influencer seems exclusively interested in the financial side of the relationship, this may be an indicator that the content will appear far from genuine.
Building a working relationship through conversation is crucial as you need to trust the influencer to represent your brand.
The Right Influencers for Your Brand: Summary
Finding the right influencers is essential to campaign success. In this article, we have offered you several steps to help you build a strong list of potential influencers. However, good influencer marketers know that you need to get to know influencers on a personal level to truly assess whether they are a perfect fit for your business, which is why this is the final and most important step in this guide.