The rise of social media influencers has given this dynamic new weight: powerful endorsements and trusted faces are no longer the domain of big celebrities and media personalities. Average people have built strong communities of followers who engage regularly with their content and take their recommendations seriously.
To give you an edge in planning your next move on social media, we’ve written this guide to walk you through important considerations when working with influencers.
1. Choose a Social Media Influencer with a Relevant Audience
Every social media influencer attracts a different crowd of people. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to choosing an influencer to promote your products and services, which is why it’s important to be diligent in choosing one for a partnership.
Likewise, a partnership simply wouldn’t work if your brand didn’t align with the kinds of content they create. A fun, upbeat blogger mom would probably be a great pick for snack items or family life insurance—less so for necrological services.
The only proper way to decide on an influencer that works well for your brand is to watch their content. Are they sponsored by businesses related to yours? Does their content speak to the marketing personas you’ve developed? Can you imagine them endorsing your brand?
Think carefully when choosing an influencer. Foreknowledge and preparation are key to making the most out of your marketing spend.
2. Remember that Engagement Goes Both Ways
Most brands look at their prospective social media influencers’ engagement rates when making their selection. This is a sound practice: since followers can be bought, average engagement per post is often a more reliable metric when assessing the value of a potential partner.
It pays to know, however, that engagement on social media goes both ways. Businesses have begun to recognize that there’s a lot of value in an influencer’s ability to build relationships with their target audiences—more value than user-generated content, per some studies.
For a social media influencer to deliver the returns you’re after, they’d need to have a proven track record for engaging with their own followers. Two-way communication keeps audiences hooked for longer, and makes their content (i.e. your product endorsements) more relatable.
Just make sure this happens organically. If an influencer only replies to their followers when a brand endorsement is involved, expect them to lose goodwill along the way.
3. Tailor Your Content to Fit Your Influencer’s Vibe
There are a handful of ways that a social media influencer can build their branded content. They could be left to work totally independently (such as when brands send out samples and ask for an honest review) or work based on strict messaging guidelines (like when influencers sign endorsement contracts).
However the shape of your arrangement, be sure to mind the gap in tone between your brand and theirs. When done right, influencer marketing should result in a seamless marriage of two entities: your product should look perfectly natural in your influencer’s content, and they should be a fine complement to your existing brand voice.
When you’ve chosen the right influencer, go the extra step and share resources about your brand identity and values—all written to match their level of energy. This gives them a clear idea of what your brand is truly about, and how they can best communicate it to their own audiences without sounding like a corporate sellout.
4. Track Your Results
Influencer marketing is an extension of social media marketing. You could think of each of your influencers’ posts as your own for the purposes of tracking your campaigns’ success.
Platforms like Instagram recognize this fact as well: their Sponsored Posts feature allows brands to track the performance of endorsements as if they were run from their own respective accounts.
Accessing the data is the easy part, but it gets tricky when you start analyzing it to see if it’s doing well. You’re starting with a different frame of reference (i.e. your own posts’ performance), meaning the numbers your affiliates hit may be wildly different from what you’re used to.
It’s good practice to come up with a series of 7-day averages for your influencers’ posts. Take their total weekly engagement each week in a month (great if you can see it, but if the sums are hidden you could try asking) to get an idea of how an average post of theirs does. Then look at their previous sponsored posts to see how much better or worse they do on average.
Getting familiar with a social media influencer’s metrics before starting a deal lets you set smart targets, and then evaluate success later on.
5. Be Human When Talking to Influencers
Our final note on working with social media influencers is to approach them like people. Take what you know about B2B marketing or communication and set it aside for a moment, because influencers are often ordinary people.
Writing as yourself and not your brand is a good way to connect, and may improve your chances of getting a reply from your influencer of choice.
Likewise, it’s a big help when communicating your brand values: explaining it as one person to another keeps your descriptions grounded and allows them to form a clearer idea of how they might pass the message along to their followers.
Finally, forming a personal connection is a great step toward securing a long-term relationship. While getting mentioned once or twice is a good way to build a little bit of brand recognition, you could aim for the goal of becoming their trusted choice for a specific product.
Social media influencers have changed the game for B2C marketing, and businesses would be wise to see where they could fit into the trend.
If contacting social media influencers is outside of your comfort zone, or if you’re having trouble deciding if and how they might fit into your broader marketing strategy, our experts at Igloo are ready to step in and lend a hand.
As an award-winning digital marketing agency based in Dubai, we specialize in helping businesses in the UAE unlock the full potential of their online presence.