Influencer marketing is the use of popular content creators to promote a product or brand to a specific audience. These content creators are paid to showcase the brand to their loyal audience of viewers, readers, or followers.
While most brands don’t have strong legions of fans (with the exception of beloved international brands like Apple, Coca Cola, or Nike), there are plenty of people on the internet who do – influencers.
These influencers make it easy for a brand to reach a specific customer demographic on a specific channel through a voice that the audience already trusts. Their following can vary from a few hundred people to over a million, but their value lies in having a trusted opinion on a specific topic or niche.
The types of influencers can range from a local mom who runs a popular FaceBook group for other moms to mega celebrities with millions of followers.
The choice of the influencer is fundamental to correctly convey the message we want our brand to give and to reach a target audience that is interested in our product. Choosing the wrong influence won’t give us the desired results, isn’t cost-efficient on time and money, and it can even be counterproductive; we risk introducing ourselves to an audience that isn’t interested in our product or doesn’t see the value in it, thus generating negative feelings towards our brand.
So let’s see what are the main aspects to consider when choosing influencers to work with.
We tend to consider the number of fans or followers as synonymous with quality and efficiency. Is that true and are channels with more followers more useful to your project? In reality, it isn’t always so.
First of all, it’s a good idea to check how many of those followers are real and not a result of buying fake follower packages or BOT actions, which only serve to distort the profile’s vanity metrics and are not real potential buyers.
After that, we need to decide the purpose of our influencer marketing campaign. If we’re a new brand focusing on building brand awareness by reaching the largest number of users, an influencer with a large audience is certainly more suitable.
After building brand awareness, the next step is conversion – the more we want to refine the target audience, the more we need to carefully research the influencer that’s closest to our ideal client.
Some projects yield better results if with micro or nano influencers. Of course less followers are reached compared to famous names, but it gives greater credibility on the part of the target audience. Another aspect to be evaluated is the ability of the person’s communication and their knowledge of the facts about a specific topic.
Take for example Cristiano Ronaldo: Can he succeed as an influencer for pressure cookers? It risks passing for advertising that interrupts the use of the content. There is a serious problem in terms of authenticity; the public doesn’t recognize the message as a truthful one. If instead we choose a housewife who posts stories about her everyday life, shares advice on household chores, or shows dishes cooked by herself, we can have 2000 potential buyers even with an audience of 3000 followers!
Another thing to consider is the kind of message and value we want to associate with our brand or product.
A message sent by the wrong person can become harmful to the company and to its reputation on social media. We must therefore have a clear idea of what and how we want to communicate with our consumers in order to decide if a particular influencer is the right person who can make it part of their own history. Collaborating with an influencer also means being related to their values and with what they have promoted in the past.
Consider a company that produces organic food that promotes healthy lifestyle, sustainability and respect of the environment and of animals – collaborating with an influencer who promoted a fur coat in the past could generate negative feedback of inconsistency and mistrust in the brand’s true values.
Finally, to be able to choose the right influencer, it’s also important to analyze the audience that follows this particular profile – their demographic, geographic location, and interests.
Let’s imagine a company that sells fitness products that wants to target women who are passionate about fitness ages 25-35. There are two Instagram profiles with almost identical followers count, engagement characteristics, and features different fitness products.
The profile of the fit model A publishes only photos of her in bikinis, in the gym with flamboyant pants, and even doing chores in bikinis. Then there’s model B who publishes more or less the same photos but in the captions, she provides very useful suggestions to her readers; she gives advice on exercises while at the gym and shares recipes along with photos in the kitchen. Collaborating with model A allows the company to target 30% of women and 70% of men who are mostly drawn to the bikini photos. Model B, however, has an audience that’s 30% of men and 70% of women who are really passionate about fitness and who see value in the tips and products that she shares.
Here’s another example: in the world of tourism, we have an agency that organizes exclusive and expensive trekking tours. For brand awareness, they decide to invite influencers and journalists to take part in a tour to promote it to their followers and readers. In this group includes a travel blogger that is well known for guides on traveling with children and a journalist that has been published in magazines known worldwide. The result, however, despite the full coverage, was not the one hoped for.
Why? Although they’re one of most followed bloggers in the travel sector, the family travel blogger targets an audience that travels as a family with children who generally tries to reduce costs and tackle activities that are not too demanding yet fun for their children. As for the journalist that has been featured in well-known magazines – they undoubtedly did a nice report on the area visited, generating their audience’s interest to visit it but it wasn’t an article that advertised the travel company itself. They didn’t share the name of the agency itself, running the risk that in the process of customers searching for information to visit that area, they’ll find the competitors of the company who has made this investment!