Whether it's an athletic match that poses just the right amount of challenge to help you take your game to the next level, or a romantic match that will love you in spite of and because you have a penchant for large amounts of chocolate and Jane Austen remakes, finding the "perfect match" is never easy.
In the world of marketing, which is equal parts competitive sport and connection, it's no different. And the difficulty is most pronounced when trying to pair your brand with the prominent voice of an influencer. A well chosen and well placed influencer can attract a whole new audience, solidify trust with an existing base, or accomplish some combination of the two. An influencer, however, that isn't a good fit can yield a poor ROI, confuse your audience, and set your brand back a few paces.
As someone who's been on both sides of the relationship, through helping clients like Cooking Fever and Promax find their ideal influencers as well as through being an influencer for brands like Verizon, Chase, and AT&T, I've learned that there are seven keys to matching your brand with the perfect influencer.
1. Identify your audience.
Your dream influencer is best used strategically. Ask yourself, in which area is your reach limited? Strive for specificity, of both platform and demographic, when deciding. Are you trying to boost your Instagram following, connect with fitness enthusiasts, or create a viral YouTube video?
2. Do your research.
If you identified fitness enthusiasts and Twitter as the demographic and platform you want to target, use appropriate metrics to find the superstars of that domain. In this example, you'd look primarily at the number of total followers. Different platforms will have different metrics. For a popular blog, you'd consider both the number of subscribers and the level of engagement with individual posts, while for Facebook, you'd hone in on the number of page likes.
3. Use David and Goliath.
Though niche influencers can tell a more elaborate story and allow you to really speak to a target audience, big shots can exponentially amplify brand visibility. When working with Cooking Fever, our social media and digital PR agency used both the "Kardashian factor" (quite literally) and YouTube prodigies like Rachel Levin and Logan Paul. A combination of the two helped increase Cooking Fever's organic reach by 359%.
4. Check compatibility.
Statistically speaking, the influencer may be the best choice for the demographic and platform you want to target, but this doesn't guarantee that their values are in alignment with your brand. Their popularity might come hand in hand with a tendency to swear or make sexist comments, which might have fueled their rise on social media but be ill-suited for your customer base. That said, there's room for idiosyncratic quirks.
Don't be afraid of embracing someone who is colorful. It's their spontaneity and authenticity that make them an attractive and entertaining presence on the web. Anyway, despite the use of relationship references in this article, you won't actually be marrying them, which brings us to our next key.
5. Establish a professional relationship.
You may need a contact person to coordinate with your influencer, but you shouldn't need a handler. There's a big difference between a quirky personality and an irresponsible one, and an influencer who's unable to be punctual, is rude to your staff, or is unreliable with communication might be more trouble than support. A good practice, when vetting an influencer, is to refer to their past campaigns and ask those who've worked with them whether their experience was positive or negative.
6. Find common ground.
Chances are that your influencer will have a strong voice. They will also have their own interests and requirements. Though you may provide them with financial compensation or complimentary product, there may also be an opportunity for mutual benefit through finding a shared story or value. It may be that both brand and influencer are interested in empowering women, educating the public about healthy eating habits, having fun, etc. If there's a shared value in the mix, it's one more reason for someone to tune in, follow your brand, or buy a particular product.
7. Don't forget to have fun.
Collaborating with an influencer can be an exciting step for your brand, and yield new connections. From deciding the story you want to tell, to designing the promotional materials, it's a chance to let your brand shine.