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How to Choose the Best Influencer For Your Brand

How to Choose the Best Influencer For Your Brand

If you’re a business owner on social media, it’s pretty much a given that you’ve heard of influencer marketing. With the popularity of platforms like Instagram and in more recent years TikTok, more business owners are flocking to this advertising space.

Are you one of those business owners? If so, this article is the right place for you. We’ll discuss how to choose the right influencer to represent your brand. 

We’ll answer the following questions: 

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What is an influencer?

An influencer is a person on social media who posts content that’s usually focused on a certain industry (makeup, fashion and fitness are just a few examples) and has a voice that resonates with the target audience of that industry. In other words, they have the ability to “influence” consumers into purchasing products that they use. 

Influencers often gain followings because they are seen as a trusted authority in the niche they occupy on their platform. Influencers are paid to sponsor brands, endorse products, and represent companies in long-term partnerships.


Are influencers still a viable marketing channel?

Yes, they are. The days of traditional celebrity endorsements have passed. Plus, influencer marketing is more cost-accessible for smaller- and medium-sized businesses. 

However, one issue with influencer marketing is oversaturation: the sheer volume of users on social media platforms has led to a surge in influencers, meaning audiences are overwhelmed with choice. Your brand will have more businesses to compete with who are also vying for the attention of an influencer’s audience. This is where the idea of niches comes into play: if you find your influencer “niche” you’ll be able to target consumers more effectively. 


Do people trust influencers?

Consumers follow influencers that post content related to their interests. There are all sorts of influencers out there, so it isn’t hard to find a select few that they can resonate with. Because of this “relatability” factor as well as the fact that the person may be seen as a specialist or expert in their field, consumers are more likely to trust influencers over celebrities when it comes to advertising

To put this into perspective, a report by Morning Consult found that 72% of Gen Z and Millennial respondents follow influencers. The report also found that 50% of millennials trust influencers for product recommendations, compared with 38% for their favorite celebrities.

This is why it’s a worthy marketing channel: when you find the right influencer to promote your products, their audience—and hopefully your consumers—are likely to pay attention. 

Trust also depends on the audience you’re trying to reach: how often are your target consumers on social media? Do they engage with several platforms, or just one? What’s the average age of your target audience? Take the time to ask yourself questions about your target audience before your jump into influencer marketing. Depending on your audience, the investment may not be worth it.

Related: Learn how to market your ecommerce business with our comprehensive guide.


What are the levels of influencers?

Before you reach out to influencers, it’s helpful to categorize them by their following. These numbers vary, but here’s a general breakdown of the levels of influencers:

  • Nano-influencers: 1000-10,000 followers. 
  • Micro-influencers: 10,000-50,000 followers. 
  • Mid-tier influencers: 50,000-250,000 followers.
  • Macro-influencers: 250,000-1,000,000 followers.
  • Mega-influencers: 1,000,000+ followers.

The larger a platform an influencer has, the more they’ll charge for a sponsored post or endorsement, so keep that in mind on your search.


What to consider when choosing an influencer

There are several factors that you should consider on your search. Let’s dive into some of them.

Understand your target audience

If you’re not sure where to begin, your target audience is a good start. Before you even look for influencers, create buying personas for your target audience. Consider the demographic, geographic and behavioral characteristics of your desired consumer. Understanding your target audience will lead you to work with the right influencers—those that have sway over your preferred market.

Ensure the influencer is relevant to your target audience

Does your selected influencer’s audience align with your own? If so, they’re a good choice. Analyzing their content will help determine this. 

Choose your niche or desired reach

Your niche is the specific area of the market that your brand exists within. Research influencers who fall in your niche so you can best reach your target audience. 

If you want to reach as many people as possible in your niche, try to work with an influencer who is mid-tier or above. 

Check followers and engagement rates

Research the levels of influencers if you want more information on how following impacts an influencer’s pricing. 

The engagement rate is a metric that measures how often an influencer’s followers engage with their content. This includes views, likes, comments and shares. Audience insights are typically available for every post.

An influencer’s engagement rate doesn’t always increase significantly if they have more followers. It’s actually more difficult to have a higher engagement rate with more followers—an engagement rate of 1% to 5% is generally considered good. 

Smaller influencers can often have high engagement rates, which you wouldn’t necessarily assume based on their follower count alone. 

Make sure their content aligns with your brand

As you research influencers, consider your own brand. The person who endorses, promotes and demonstrates your product will be representing your brand. Choose an influencer who posts content you want your brand to be associated with. 

Check how much the influencer charges

To get an idea of pricing rates, reach out to several different influencers you feel are a right fit for your brand and campaign. They usually have contact details in their bios, or links to their management companies if they have one. 

To ensure you get a response back, send a professional email (or direct message if they are a smaller influencer and don’t have visible contact details) containing information on your business, details of your campaign, what you’re hoping to achieve, a timeline for the posts and your budget. If they are interested, they will respond with their rates. 

Keep in mind that the price may vary depending on your campaign and the content required: for example, one picture post endorsing your product will cost less than a video or a campaign involving several posts.

The platform matters

Instagram, TikTok, Youtube and Facebook all offer different benefits. The types of ads on these platforms vary, too. For instance, TikTok and YouTube are limited to video. Depending on your target audience and desired reach, you may want to execute a combination of social media campaigns in order to maximize brand visibility.

You have to decide what you want your campaign to do: do you want it to go viral? Does your campaign include an “always-on” ad? Do you want it to reach as many people as possible? Do you want potential customers to get redirected to your website?

On each platform, it helps to go through an influencer’s content and analyze the posts that performed well. Write out the reasons you think some sponsored posts performed better than others, and apply that to your campaign.

Craft a strong outreach message

You’ll likely have to reach out to several different influencers before you make a deal with one. Create an outreach message that is personalized to each one and will capture their attention (or the attention of their managers) and make them want to work with you. Make sure you include how the partnership will benefit the influencer and the brand. You want them to represent you because they believe in your product or service. 

As part of your outreach strategy, send free PR to an influencer so they have time to decide whether they like your product. An influencer who is more picky with their endorsements and only promotes products they genuinely use or enjoy will seem more trustworthy to their audience, which is beneficial for you. 

Another important part of outreach is interacting with their posts yourself through your business’ social media account. This includes liking and commenting on posts. This will convey a sense of long-term interest, and shows that you put effort into engaging and getting to know them before formally reaching out.

Look out for red flags

Before confirming a partnership with an influencer, do your research. Look into any past controversies and decide whether it’s worth it to pursue a partnership with that influencer. 

Make sure you work with someone who always discloses ads and sponsorships. It’s against the law to post an undisclosed ad, and you don’t want your brand associated with any violations.

Other red flags include:

  • Inconsistent communication
  • Increasing rates or changing the terms of your deal out of the blue
  • Unusually low engagement rate for the amount of followers they have (this can indicate they buy followers)
  • Unusual amount of “bots” in comments—you can identify these through spam comments (another indicator that they may be buying followers)
  • Their follower growth rate is oddly high
  • Using filters or alteration editing on sponsored posts (this could mislead customers and misrepresent the products they are selling)

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The importance of engagement rates

Make sure you analyze engagement rates before signing anything. Engagement rates indicate the level of success an influencer has on a given platform. Low engagement rates mean fewer people are interacting with their content and are less likely to be “influenced” as a result. 

You want increased brand awareness and sales. An influencer with high engagement rates will reach more followers—and potentially people who don’t follow them—who may be influenced to buy your products. The more people that interact with the influencer’s posts, the better for your brand and the influencer: it’s a mutually beneficial agreement.

Keep in mind when an influencer has a high engagement rate, they have the power to charge brands more.


Five promotion strategy ideas

Need help executing your campaign? Here are a few tips.

1. Send influencers your product for free

Sending products to influencers you’re interested in starting a partnership with can help you immensely. They should only choose to represent your brand if they truly enjoy and would use your product, outside of being paid to promote it. You’re also putting your brand in the spotlight by sending them free products.

2. Pay for a sponsored post

Start with one sponsored post. In a sponsored post on Instagram, for example, you could send the influencer instructions on what to write in the caption and what kind of photo to post. They can adjust the copy to match their “voice” so it doesn’t come off as inauthentic. They’ll send the post to you for approval, and you may have some feedback. Once it’s been adjusted to your liking, they’ll post. Always make sure these posts contain a mention of “ad” or “sponsored” in order to meet advertising guidelines.

3. Offer promotion codes

One way to pique the interest of your audience through influencer marketing is to partner with an influencer to offer discount codes for your products. This promotional discount could lead to more website traffic, sales and increased brand visibility.

4. Execute cross-channel campaigns

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket: nowadays, there’s so much choice out there and most influencers operate on more than one platform. Implement campaigns across more than one social media channel. It’s an ideal way to increase brand awareness and reach the maximum number of potential customers. That goes for working with more than one influencer, as well.

5. Give influencers creative freedom

You can provide your influencer partner with the outline and goals for the campaign, but to truly blend in with the rest of their content and come off as authentic as possible, you should allow them creative control. If they feel something doesn’t align with the way they speak to their audience, they should be able to change it. Plus, you’re paying them for their unique expertise: they have their own brand and have successfully built their content to serve their audience, and you want to use that to your advantage and trust their knowledge.

As long as they meet the targets for your campaign and highlight the USPs you provided, they should be able to personalize the campaign to make it authentic. They’ll most likely be executing all creative aspects in terms of photography, video and direction. 

Their followers will be more likely to be interested in your brand if they feel the influencer is being honest in their endorsement. 


Use influencer marketing to boost your business

Choosing the right influencer is crucial when it comes to growing brand awareness and reaching your target consumer. When you do it right, it can make a big impact on the success of your brand. 

Interested in streamlining your ecommerce and in-store business operations so you can spend more time on marketing your brand? Talk to an expert about Lightspeed Retail today.

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