Before web 2.0 and the rise of social media, influence was exclusive to a privileged few who held unrivalled sway over public opinion. Today, individuals on social media get to pick and choose who and what they listen to and those who once had little chance of being heard can now broadcast their messages across the world.
Influencers are now niche promoters and brand advocates that are active on social media sites and blogs and brands are now naturally hungry to take advantage of this phenomenon. Brands will seek to turn that influence into a marketing opportunity but aren’t always sure how best to go about this.
An influencer is the mutual friend connecting your brand with your target consumers. For influence to take place, the influencer needs to behave authentically and when communicating about or on behalf of a brand. The balance between being seen as an online billboard and someone that is being paid to recommend a product in a credible way is often misunderstood and the value in using influence marketing lost.
There are five key understandings that allow you to define what the right influencer looks like for your brand:
An influencer differs for every brand because, first and foremost, they are a contextual fit. This is the most important characteristic when targeting the right influencers for your brand. The example I always use is that Justin Bieber can’t sell insurance without looking like a fraud to his followers because they are teenager girls who aren’t interested in that.
Defined as the size of the audience or the number of followers the influencer has on a particular platform. Influence describes the ability to affect action from within that audience. When Reach and Context work together, you have success.
This is the influencer’s ability to cause action by their audience. This characteristic comes naturally when you target individuals that are in contextual alignment with your brand and have a far enough reach.
- An “opt-in” network:
Influencers don’t force themselves upon an audience as their followers choose to follow them on particular channels like Twitter or a blog. Thus, their audience is engaged and is there to hear about the topic being discussed. This is why the need for a contextual fit is so important.
Positive engagement is a great indicator that the content is interesting to their audience. This means that something about their content is evoking a reaction and that there is the potential for an action to occur.
Once you understand these, the next step is giving your influencer an image you can best match real influnecers to. Decide on what type of personality you require and if you need an activist, an informer or an authority to best promote your campaign or product. Next pick a genre. Examples include technology, fashion, travel and marketing. Niche this genre further into LSM, geographical position and age group.
Pick a topic that your ideal influencer sometimes talks about on social media or their blog and decide what type of reach and actions you will require from the influencer. Do you want likes, follows, engagement or visual content creation? Always ensure that the influencer is aware of your primary audience and your campaign objectives from the start, giving you the best chance of success.
Always remember that reach is vanity, engagement is sanity and relationships are reality.