Here is a list of the five Cs to pay attention to when choosing and building relationships with the top social influencers.

Clarity

You need to study in advance to be good at this. Certain factors need to be considered for your choice of influencer to be clear. If you don't get these right, or if you make a bad match between the influencer and your product or brand, and you'll probably have just wasted your money.

The points below are a solid start:

  1. Relevance: What is their target audience and what content do they utilize to reach them? What do they like? Where do they live? What's their age and how do they relate to your values?
  2. Engagement: Do they have an active community reacting and responding to posts? Are their followers engaging by sharing their personal habits and actions? According to David Farkas, CEO of Upper Ranks, shares don't always equal engagement anyway.
  3. Authenticity: Do they post authentic content? Being genuine increases awareness which results in higher influence.
  4. Frequency: Are their posts often enough?
  5. Reach: Besides unique visitors, examine their channels on the social media and take the above into careful consideration when deciding whether they are suitable for your brand.

There is no difference from the rest of the PR campaigns: clarity results from straightforward objective setting. It will also make sure that appropriate deliverables are met. Ask for data, likes and shares, and reach from similar campaigns in the past. You can also ask for case studies from their previous work with other brands. This way, you'll get something substantial to use in your own campaign and learn things for other campaigns in the future.

Collaborate

Begin with exploring the optimal way to connect with your chosen social influencer. Is it through their blog, via email, the social media or an agency? Show professionalism. According to Chase Sagum, VP of Marketing at Bestcompany, "If it's an option, propose a face-to-face meeting. Try to establish team play from the very start."

Whenever possible, share their posts on the social channels of your brand. Keep in touch for the entire project duration, asking for sincere feedback and advice on improvements. Truth be told, they have better insight on their audience than you and could offer you some important tips regarding your target market.

Conflict Awareness

If you represent a food brand, and you have found an influencer that fits brilliantly with you, then the chances are that other food brands will be after them as well. Do some research and speak honestly about your definition of a conflict. If, by any chance, they are also posting about a competitor, how will it affect credibility? In fact, their credibility may gain from it, and everyone will win if genuine content is ensured. So think hard about requiring a non compete of any kind.

Confidence

Brands should trust the social influencers they select to cooperate with.

You are required to provide them with a straightforward and concise brief, and then to entrust them with the independence needed to implement it so that it resonates with their audience. By letting them create genuine and captivating content, you increase the chances of a successful connection with their audience.

The same rules of trust and confidence apply regardless of whom you are choosing to work with, influencers or long-term brand ambassadors in support of a specific service or product.

Courteous

Give credit to influencers when they mention your brand in their posts, regardless of it being planned or not. Show courtesy, by acknowledging the value of their work and pay them accordingly. Consider brand experiences and brand trials. You should know that if you continue to invest in relationships with influencers, new opportunities for both parties could come up.

Published on: Jun 16, 2016
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.