How to Choose the Right Influencer for your Brand

The influencer market has never been more saturated. From your standard foodie influencer to your niche farm wife influencer, it seems like there’s a creator for almost anything. According to Business Insider, brands are projected to spend $15 billion on influencer marketing by the end of 2022 as the strategy continues to see a return. Influencer marketing can be an easy way to elevate any campaign or strategy, but there is an arduous process in choosing the right influencer for your brand — looking beyond engagements and followers and digging deeper into who this influencer is and what they stand for. The best influencer for your brand will be a creative partner who aligns with your brand values. Here is the step by step process for selecting the perfect influencer to fit your brand needs:

1. Define Objectives

Before you even begin your research, save some time by narrowing your scope. If the purpose of this partnership is to supplement an existing campaign, what are your campaign objectives? If the objective is to reach new audiences, you will need to research who you want to reach and then which influencer can make that connection. Or maybe you’re more focused on elevating a specific metric — if engagement is most important, consider a nano influencer program, which boast a highly engaged following or working with a video creator to promote views. It’s questions like these that will help you refine your list before you even begin your search. Planning can prove to be successful once you move onto the more tedious task of finding the right influencer.

2. Choose your Influencer

Now that you’ve narrowed down your search and have specific objectives in mind, sifting through influencers is easier. You know what you’re looking for and who your intended audience will likely trust. As you create your shortlist, audit your choices to ensure that your selections align with your brand values. Here are some quick tips:
  • Engagement rate and followers: Thousands of followers look great but if they’re not engaged, what value does this influencer really provide? Ask potential creative partners for their success metrics — you’re looking for a 2% to 3% engagement rate. This shows that their content keeps their audience involved and engaged, making them a strong ambassador for your brand or product. Using tools that are readily available, like the Facebook Brand Collabs Manager, could help narrow down your search and provide important metrics about an influencer. This tool could help you match audiences, topics, and other important criteria.
  • Audience: If you’re looking to attract a specific audience, analyze the influencer’s content for who they’re talking to. When in doubt, ask for the influencer’s following demographics. This can help you and the influencer determine if you’ll have a compatible partnership.
  • Content quality: Stellar content is only good with top-notch storytelling. If you’re looking for an influencer to eloquently tell a story about your brand, review their past posts to understand their voice. Experienced photographers and videographers are amazing at piecing projects together, especially when they add their own artistic twist into the mix.
  • Blogs/Websites: Beyond their social presence, do they have a larger digital footprint in the form of a blog or website? Usually, this is where you can see what the influencer is truly about.

3. Perform Outreach

Now that you’ve audited your influencers and know them better than the back of your hand, it’s time to make your choice. Some essential questions to ask yourself when choosing:
  • Can I see them representing our brand?
  • Will the partnership and content come through seamlessly?
  • Will their audience accept your brand? Or, would it be a stretch for your product to appear on their grid?
While these may seem like a no-brainer, it’s usually questions like these that determine whether the partnership will be compatible. If you feel confident enough about your selection, it’s time to get in contact. It may seem like you did a lot before even getting to the outreach phase. The last thing you want is to be blindsided by an incompatible partnership — or worse, one that could come with extra baggage. After all, the influencer you choose will be an extension of your brand. You want to ensure that it’s the right one.

4. Use COVID-19 Best Practices

2020 has been a whirlwind of a year for all of us. There’s no denying that. The coronavirus pandemic impacted almost every industry out there, including influencer marketing. Not only has it been a tough year to tell stories and create content, but the social space has new purpose and motives. For the 2020 influencer, it’s been a year of learning, re-adjusting, and re-creating, but for marketers, it’s been the year to innovate and put new processes in place. While influencer marketing may seem impossible to get done during a pandemic, with the right tools, you can still make some magic happen:
  • Be courteous to others: From a business perspective, the push is there to get our brands back out there. From a human perspective, 2020 has brought upon some new challenges and changes. When initiating outreach, always remember that some influencers might be more up for collaboration than others. Some may just need a mental break. And others are probably ready to jump straight into work.
  • Change up processes: What worked pre-pandemic, might not work now, such as contract language. We recommend including new parameters into your contracts and reviewing with your lawyer to protect you and the influencer during these still uncertain times.
  • Go virtual: In the new era of all things Zoom, video calling is a great way to get to know your selected influencer before the project. Take the pressure off of an on-the-ground production team by sourcing an influencer in the market you’re looking to feature, especially if you’re a DMO. Not only do you save on travel costs, but your influencer will likely know local safety rules and what’s open.
Take your time and, most importantly, choose wisely. When you take the appropriate steps to find the perfect influencer, everything else will fall into place.  
Vanesa Montalvo

Vanesa Montalvo

Sparkloft Media is a social-first creative agency, driving growth through engagement.