PR and Influencer Marketing: How to choose the right influencer for your brand
When it comes to choosing the right influencer for your brand, knowing where to look and what to look for can be difficult and time-consuming – especially as social media networks appear to grow and evolve every day.
If you can partner with one or more powerful thought leaders whose voices and opinions align with your brand, you’ll not only receive additional online impressions, you’ll also develop real and trusting relationships with members of your target audience – leading to raving fans, repeat customers and ultimately, authentic brand ambassadors.
However, choosing an influencer to partner with online requires significant research. To achieve the best results – and get a return on your investment – you’ll need to dig deep into social media networks, monitor audiences, track trends and outline possible threats in as much detail as possible. And once you’ve found the right influencer for your brand – whether they be niche or mega – you’ll need to put together a PR strategy in order to maintain a strong relationship and keep up appearances.
Five steps to find the right influencer for your brand:
Do your research
Before delving into social media’s enormous web, explore your own social circle for influencers, experts and thought leaders. If they’re already following your brand’s story online, it will be much easier – and possibly much cheaper – to engage and partner with them for a promotion.
If you need to look outside your immediate social circle, begin by searching hashtags on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Identify the most likely hashtags to be associated with your brand and look for popular users who use them. Once you’ve found several relevant digital influencers, follow them so you can monitor their activity. You don’t want to rush into a partnership, so take some time to learn a bit more about who they are and what their personal brand is trying to achieve.
With media monitoring services like Meltwater, finding relevant influencers for your brand is really simple. You can monitor the online conversations about your brand and identify users into three categories: average, niche and mega. Your average users are members of the general public, while niche influencers are thought leaders with small-to-medium sized followings, and mega influencers – often celebrities and public figures – have hundreds of thousands to millions of followers.
Monitor their audience
Once you’ve lined up several options – and you’ve followed them on social media – monitor their audience and join in the conversation. You want to measure how strong their engagement is to ensure they’re worth the long-time investment.
Quantify their likes against how many followers they have, and see how responsive their audience members are. Do they comment? Do they ask questions? Does the influencer reply to questions? The more an influencer engages with their audience, the greater their relationship with consumers – and the greater their relationship with consumers, the stronger the trust and ability to influence their decisions.
Outline possible threats
Look into an influencer’s branded partnership history. Have they ever wounded a brand by leaving negative comments on their Facebook page or profile? Have they built a good relationship with an enterprise, only to change their mind about a brand halfway through a campaign? If you sense any danger, it might be worth looking elsewhere. Remember, it’s about mitigating risks and putting steps in place to avoid making mistakes.
Make sure you get what you pay for
Once you’ve established a relationship with an influencer, you want to ensure they’re aware of your goals and expectations. It could be worth outlining a formal agreement or providing them with specific content to share or promote. While you want them to be authentic and post organic material, it’s important to remember that you’re paying for their services. At the end of the day it’s a business transaction between two parties.
To ensure you’re getting what you paid for – and prove ROI – measure the results with media monitoring services like Meltwater. If you’re not achieving what you set out to in the beginning, consider ending the relationship on good terms.
Establish and maintain a good relationship
Social thought leaders are called influencers for a reason – because they have the power to influence consumer thinking and decision-making. With this in mind, it’s vital to maintain a positive relationship, even after a campaign or promotional period has ended. Stay in contact with digital influencers and continue to be a part of their community’s conversation. You never know when you might need them again, or what damage they could do to your brand if left unattended and ignored.
About the author:
Mimrah Mahmood is the Asia-Pacific Regional Director of Media Solutions at Meltwater, where he helps numerous organisations break down media data (social, print and other), to create meaningful insights; build progressive and scientific frameworks to track efforts in PR and marketing; build road-maps to improve communications plans; and identify opportunities and threats that arise from competitors. As a leader within a multi-award winning company, Mimrah is a proud advocate of better measurement practices in PR, Brand and Strategic Communications. You can connect with Mimrah on LinkedIn https://sg.linkedin.com/in/mimrah
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