It’s 2022, which means you’re lying if you say you don’t follow influencers on social media. Not only because influencer marketing is huge right now, but also because it seems like every random person we knew back in high school is now earning brand deals and sharing their own personal discount codes. Keep getting that bag, queens (or kings).
In all seriousness, Instagram and TikTok specifically, have become factories for influencers. With the right hashtags, posting schedules and brand alignment, aspiring influencers are able to quickly acquire paid opportunities, and they don’t even have to go viral to do it.
Across all industries, micro-influencers have been dominating the social media space by building trust with niche audiences. Trust is the key word there—consumers trust product recommendations from these smaller influencers almost as much as they trust their own friends and family. Although micro-influencers have been gaining more popularity in recent years, macro-influencers with massive followings still have the power to spread brand awareness to communities at large, so influencers of all sizes can be effective when marketing your business.
As a result of these various benefits, nearly two-thirds of marketers currently use influencer marketing, and 27% more plan to do so in the future (Salesforce, 2021). So, to our fellow marketing friends, if you’re not using influencer marketing as a part of your strategy, you’re missing out. But don’t jump into it blind—here are some of our KM&A-approved tips on finding the right influencers for your brand.
1. spend time self-reflecting
Before you can start looking for people to represent your brand, you need to determine who you really are. Brands have personalities and values in the same way that influencers do, so you will want to ensure that these align down the road.
Ask yourself: What words best describe my brand? Is it bold? Trustworthy? Funny? Complex? Authentic? Purposeful? Be honest. It may make you feel better to say that your brand is bold, but are you truly out there? Have you set any trends, or have you simply been following them?
After contemplating your brand’s entire existence and determining what you stand for (harder than it sounds), then you can figure out who you should partner with.
2. set a goal
As marketers, we live off goals, objectives and KPIs, so it’s hopefully not a surprise that you need to set a clear goal for your influencer marketing strategy. This will determine exactly what type of influencer you need to seek out—whether it be an aspiring chef with 5,000 followers on Instagram or a famous foodie with 650,000 followers on TikTok.
Not every influencer in the social media sea is going to be a perfect fit for your brand, so you need to create some general criteria for the vetting process. This could include their ideal number of followers, location, social media platform(s), posting cadence and personality traits.
You’ll also need to start working on the logistics of your influencer-brand relationship. How big is your budget? What type of content do you want the influencer to post? Do you want them to be a long-term partner or solely part of an upcoming campaign? These details and more will be hashed out later on, but it’s important to have a solid idea of what you want before you dive into research.
3. you guessed it … do your research!
It’s time for some hardcore stalking. You get to spend hours scrolling through social media to find influencers that meet your criteria and can help achieve your goal.
Depending on the number of influencers you’re looking for, this part can become incredibly overwhelming. Staying organized is key, so it will be helpful to create a spreadsheet containing all the data on your prospective influencers.
Don’t stress if you come across someone amazing that doesn’t quite meet your pre-determined criteria. Your influencer marketing goal and strategy will more than likely evolve after you spend time gathering information and inspiration across different social media platforms.
4. reach out & build relationships
Now that you have a spreadsheet full of influencer data, think strategically about which ones you want to contact and start a working relationship with. Narrow down the list of names and meet internally to decide who would be the best fit.
When it’s time to reach out, use a solid pitch. If your message doesn’t stand out, you risk getting lost among the dozens of other brands that are already in the desired influencer’s DMs. Make sure to emphasize why you chose them along with the many benefits of the partnership. If you pitch it right, they’ll probably be just as ecstatic as you are about the opportunity to work together.
At KM&A, we have successfully used these tips to implement influencer marketing strategies for our clients. Want to see how we did it for Joe’s Butcher Shop? Read our case study!
Salesforce.com. (2021). State of Marketing Report, 7th Edition. Retrieved from https://www.salesforce.com/content/dam/web/en_us/www/documents/reports/salesforce-research-seventh-state-of-marketing-V2.pdf.