How to choose the perfect influencers for your organization

Does your message require a big name to make a splash, or would a relevant expert provide a better fit? Here are the crucial questions to ask when planning your influencer marketing campaign.

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Influencer marketing is all about building relationships with mutual benefits.

Brands can partner with influencers who have a loyal following of people that trust their opinions and recommendations. Through collaboration, the brand gets exposure to a new audience and the influencer gets to provide content that they know their network will appreciate. It should result in a win-win for everyone.

For your campaign to have the best results, it’s important to pick the right influencers.

How do you know who to look for and how to find them?

Top places to find partners

Research different social communities like Facebook and LinkedIn Groups that focus on relevant topics to see who consistently contributes ideas and content. Use social media listening tools to follow keywords and trending hashtags and get familiar with potential influencers that talk about topics of interest.

Take advantage of your own network by asking existing customers and clients who they follow and engage with. It may be beneficial to see who your competitors interact and partner with as well. Dive into media platforms within your industry and consume articles, blogs and podcasts to find out who is being interviewed, quoted or used as a source. Some thought leaders may have their own network of followers that are worth targeting.

Industry events are great places for influencers to gather and learn about the latest trends, try new products and interact with peers. Make it a point to network and make connections with different people at events.

How to identify the right influencers

Much more goes into picking the right influencers than simply finding people who have a lot of social media followers. It takes time, dedication and research to identify the ones that are worth the effort of building meaningful relationships. Remember, the type of influencers you want to reach have credibility within their communities. If they share something with their network, it’s because they believe in it and they know their followers will also benefit.

Keep these three tips in mind when researching influencers:

1. Find influencers who share similar values.

Avoid a mismatched partnership. The influencer you choose to associate with should be someone who shares like-minded values and tone of voice. Do their ideas and how they talk about them align with your brand? Research the kind of content they create, promote and share on their channels and who else might be a partner.

It isn’t just about what they are saying and doing now. Look through an influencer’s historic activity. A key part of preserving your brand is upholding a good reputation. Don’t let an incompatible influencer relationship poke a hole in it.

2. Look at the important metrics.

Don’t let large follower numbers fool you. A following made up of 500,000 people doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is paying attention. An influencer with only 5,000 followers may have a tighter-knit group that has a higher engagement rate. A good way to evaluate engagement is to measure click-throughs. If links are included in social posts, how many people are bothering to click? Read the comments and type of feedback the influencer typically receives.

3. Research different types of influencers.

“Influencer” isn’t a one-size-fits-all description. There are many different kinds, and depending on the goals of your campaign, one might be better for you than another. Here are a few different types of influencers:

  • Micro-influencers have a smaller reach and typically boast anywhere from 1,000 to 50,000 followers within in a niche community. Their network often demonstrates a high level of trust and engagement.
  • Expert influencers are thought leaders in their industry and may include executives, bloggers or even members of the media. They are viewed as credible sources and their following looks to them to learn about new trends, industry advancements and their general perspective on relevant topics.
  • Celebrity influencers usually have more than 500,000 followers and are broader in their interests and content dissemination. Teaming up with a celebrity influencer will most likely come with a price tag.

Influencer marketing can maximize the reach of your campaign. If you put in the work to find the right one, initiating an influencer partnership can add tremendous value.

Do you have an influencer marketing success story to share? Let us now in the comments.

Megan Snyder is marketing and communications with JConnelly, PR firm in New York. A version of this article originally appeared on the JConnelly Blog.

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