Partnering with an influencer is one of the best ways for a brand to increase their reach across a platform and particularly to a specific audience they’re trying to target. Influencers already speak the language of the space and have a following that respects their tastes and recommendations. Still need proof it’s a good move? Recent research shows that influencer campaigns are generating impressive results across industries.
Before you definitely decide to partner with someone, however, you need to ask a few questions to make sure they’re absolutely the best fit for your brand. Influencers, you should be asking similar questions of brands who want to partner with you, too— but that’s a separate post.
1. Does their audience match your target audience?
First things first: There’s no point in investing time and energy into an influencer campaign if their dedicated following doesn’t match the audience you’re trying to reach. Brand awareness doesn’t mean much if it doesn’t translate into direct action, at least for most brands. Look for someone who operates successfully in the spaces you’d like to be able to speak in; they already know the language of the platform and have the trust of their followers.
2. Forget followers— how’s their engagement rate?
Someone with only 2k followers who gets a 50% engagement rate on their posts is more valuable than someone with 100k followers who gets a .001% engagement rate; their audience is actually listening to what they have to say and taking the time to respond with likes, comments, and shares. A highly engaged audience will pay more attention to what the influencer they admire has to recommend.
3. Have they worked with a competitor?
Decide if this matters to you, based on the capacity of that relationship. If they were one of several influencers taking part in an influencer campaign several months or even years ago, I wouldn’t rule them out if they’re a perfect fit otherwise. If, however, they’re very heavily involved in a partnership with a competitor right now, you might want to rethink the match.
4. How do they present themselves across social media?
If this is an Instagram campaign, don’t just look at their Instagram. Check Twitter, Facebook and any other public social media profile they have to be sure you want your brand represented by all this person has said, to the best of your ability to find it. You should have a portion of your crisis communication plan dedicated to dealing with potential fallout from an influencer or advocate who comes under fire. Most likely this won’t happen, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and scrambling.
5. What are their goals for their personal brand and how does partnering with your brand help them?
The best partnerships help move both parties forward, but you can also look at this in a completely selfish way: If the influencer is as motivated as you are to make the partnership or campaign work because it helps advance one of their personal goals or goals for their personal brand, they’ll put more time and effort into the campaign and both of you will still benefit!