Signs to Watch When Selecting the Matching Influencer for Your Brand

November 21 2022

In the last two decades, digital advancements have drastically changed the way people select products and services. Newspapers, magazines, TV news and press releases are all still relevant and valuable forms of communication, but social media platforms have had an explosive impact on an entire generation and offer more contemporary tools to connect with your audiences. From the original Facebook – now Meta – to the newest trend in BeReal, the world of social media is changing at a rapid pace making it difficult to keep track of the latest developments. Ads, posts, Reels and stories have diversified the avenues in which companies can publish content to promote its message and expand opportunities for engagement.

To develop a strong brand presence, you must combine traditional and digital media efforts through an integrated communications model. One example of this involves user-generated content, which provides reassurance from existing customers and enhances your brand’s credibility with the use of positive reviews and testimonials. Over time, social media personalities emerged and have become small-screen celebrities to their loyal followers by sharing specialized expertise in creative and persuasive ways. These influencers have stellar reputations as trusted product-testers whose pragmatic feedback has the potential to position companies ahead of their competition. Matching the right influencer for your brand is a natural next step to effectively increasing brand awareness, building trust and boosting sales. While influencer marketing has technically been around for centuries, it has evolved rapidly in the last decade thanks to social media, providing a more well-rounded and persuasive approach to move people to action.

selecting the matching influencer
Matching the right influencer for your brand is a next step to increase brand awareness

 

If you’re wondering how to find the best fit to represent your brand, take Ghidotti Communications’ SAME process of strategy, auditing, message mapping and engagement into consideration when you follow the steps below.

Understand Your Relationship Goals

Developing a clear content strategy will help you discover and maintain a meaningful following of potential customers. Before you approach a high-profile influencer, identify what you’re looking to get out of the relationship and what key performance indicators (KPIs) will help you know you’re making the progress you desire. Consider some of the following: 

  • Are you seeking to extend your reach and grow brand awareness across the state, the country or the globe? 
  • Would you be satisfied with casting a wider net for greater familiarity of your brand or would you prefer to sacrifice reach for loyalty? 
  • How well do the influencers’ followers match up with your key audience(s)? 
  • Has the person had any brand partnerships in the past or engaged in partnerships now?

Defining your specific goals will streamline the matchmaking process and help lead you into a strategic partnership with a macro- or a micro-influencer.

Macro- vs. Micro-Influencer 

Depending on your answers to the questions above, you can further narrow the field by follower count: a macro-influencer’s following exceeds 100,000 people while a micro-influencers’ following is between 10,000 and 100,000. The benefits of having a celebrity macro-influencer promote your brand are their recognizable status, established trust and broad reach. If your company already exists in a variety of geographic areas, appeals to a wide age range and delivers a product or service that isn’t limited to a particular income, a macro-influencer could be the right choice to boost your brand’s sales.

If your company fulfills more of a niche need, a micro-influencer might be a more compatible match. This is also true if your business is on a more restricted budget. Where micro-influencers generally charge $100-500 per post, a macro-influencer’s post may run upwards of $10,000. A word to the savvy negotiators: consider teaming up with micro-influencers as some will accept compensation in the form of a trade. Strategically partnering with an influencer whose followers align with your brand’s target audience will potentially garner a greater ROI as you’re reaching those who will be most receptive to your brand’s messaging.

No matter which type of influencer you choose, this partnership is a direct extension of your brand. Ensure that you select someone who exudes passion in their content, shares your brand’s values and whose voice matches the tone and character of your existing messaging.

Recognize Your Audiences’ Ambitions

When selecting the right influencer, you should be able to draw relevant parallels between the content creator, their followers and your brand. For a truly effective match, your audience must be able to recognize a bit of themselves within the content your influencer creates. This could manifest in a depiction of similar interests, industries, stages of life, geography or shared dreams and goals. When an unfamiliar product or service is surrounded with bold claims, people seek someone familiar to trust for guidance.

Peruse the content your potential influencers are creating through the eyes of your customer base. Does it engage you? Is enough of the content shared relevant to you? Influencers are often promoting products for several brands, so you’re looking for a healthy balance between sponsored and organic content. A successful influencer is selective in their sponsorship choices and conveys authenticity in their posts. Keep in mind that a variety of brands supply solutions to an array of pain points. If the sponsored content featured on an influencer’s page supports different elements of a particular lifestyle, find where your brand fits into the story. If you find too many disjointed posts that aren’t cohesive, the influencer’s follower base likely isn’t as engaged and loyal to the content creator, which doesn’t bode well when your goal is to build brand credibility.

Perform a Background Check

Reviewing an influencer’s recent content is a good start, but this relationship is an investment opportunity, and it would serve your brand well to dig a little deeper. Every time our firm onboards a new client, we perform an audit of their assets and review historical data for a more accurate view of their previous efforts. Take inventory of the influencer’s existing content to see how it could grow your business. When coupled with the right influencer, their existing attributes will amplify what your brand has to offer. Performing a thorough background check will provide you with a better representation of an influencer’s success.

Keep in mind that the number of followers an influencer boasts doesn’t necessarily translate to a loyal follower base. As you evaluate their previous content, take several elements into account:

  • Post consistency
  • Quality of posts and caption creativity
  • How often has this influencer added content in the last six months?
  • Overall audience engagement
  • Primary social media channel – does that coincide with your brand & audience?

Audiences respond well to reliability, so discovering sporadic posting patterns will help you to reduce your pool of candidates. The ‘M’ in our SAME process provides another filter with which to view influencers’ profiles. Message mapping is key to developing compelling methods to convey value to your target audience. Assess the quality and composition of their content to include their language and its relevance.

Evaluate Engagement of Your Influencer

Furthermore, how engaged is the influencers’ audience and how responsive is the actual influencer? By adding the number of likes, comments and shares on posts within a set timeframe, dividing it by the follower count and multiplying by 100, you can determine an influencer’s engagement rate and understand how well their content actually performs. An engagement rate between 1-3% is average. KPIs are excellent datapoints to track, but you must also understand what they’re telling you.

Look beyond the numbers to see which posts received the most positive feedback as well as which received the least. An absence of feedback can be just as telling in identifying what’s important to a follower base and how effectively the influencer connects with them on a personal level. Your selected influencer will be forging relationships on your behalf, so they need to align with your brand at a core level. One who shares similar pain points with your audience, reflects their traits and understands how to communicate concisely will expand your reach, increase your touchpoint frequency and have a positive impact on your brand’s credibility.

Key Takeaways

With any relationship, communication is of the utmost importance. When you go searching for your brand’s perfect partner, you must first know your company’s goals and the time commitment you’re willing to devote to support this connection. Ensure you are setting clear, realistic expectations for the influencer and provide them with the resources they need to make this a successful venture. It’s your responsibility to measure and evaluate the results and recognize when it’s time to pivot. Remember: a follower count isn’t everything, sharing the same values gives your relationship a strong foundation and making an effort to know your collaborator and their audience will allow you to find the authentic partnership you seek.

Natalie Ghidotti
CEO, Ghidotti
Natalie Ghidotti, APR, is principal of Ghidotti, a public relations and content marketing agency she founded in 2007 and has since grown to serve a wide range of clients, including some of the region’s best-known brands. Before joining the public relations world in 2004, Natalie served as special publications editor-in-chief at Arkansas Business Publishing Group, where she was editor of Little Rock Family, Arkansas Bride, Little Rock Guest Guide and other magazines for five years. Natalie is a past president of the Arkansas Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, serves on the Executive Committee for PRSA National’s Counselors Academy and has been a speaker for several PRSA International Conferences. She was honored with the Crystal Award from PRSA Arkansas recognizing lifetime achievements in the PR industry.
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