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7 Steps to Influencer Selection Success That Flows From a Strong Strategy

by Ashley Butler

Published in: PRNews Influencer Marketing Guidebook

Influencer marketing should be a staple in any social media strategy. Traditional models of disseminating content no longer work in today’s always-on, digital landscape. Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have enabled a swift rise in the everyday user’s ability to cultivate a following—blossoming into what is now known as the influencer landscape. Any influencer marketing program begins with a strong strategy, which should include goals and objectives, target audiences, content themes and guidelines, as well as key performance indicators. All of these elements should directly inform the influencer selection criteria. Doing your homework upfront to identify the appropriate people to partner with is critical to success. The participants not only reflect on your brand, but also directly impact the performance of the program. Following are seven influencer selection tips for developing effective partnerships and content that send your brand’s message to the right people.

1. Build a Long List of Influencers Once you define your influencer parameters, consider using tools such as GroupHigh, TapInfluence and IZEA to tap into influencer databases. h ese tools can help you parse the digital landscape to get access to influencer names, social footprint, personal performance metrics and contact information.

2. Apply Reach to Your Selection Criteria To build a loyal influencer network, brands should start first by evaluating candidates based on reach, which is defined by the audience size. Consider the following categories:

  • Celebrity: well-known superstar with mass reach and a high price tag. Celebrities tend to be effective due to their audience size, but tend to have a less engaged audience. A recent study by influencer marketing platform Markerly surveyed 2 million social media influencers, showing that as follower base increases, engagement rate decreases.
  • Macro-influencer: has a large following simply from building their online personal brand. Also known as a taste-maker, macro-influencers have a significant presence and are often approached by brands for sponsored posts. These folks have a distinguished voice and brand aesthetic and speak to a niche topic such as veganism, military life, or shoe fashion. If you can dream it, there’s likely a group of influencers talking about it.
  • Micro-influencer: someone with a following of less than 10,000 and an engaged audience. Like macro influencers, micro influencers are building an online following by sharing specific content that speaks to their audience.

3. Categorize Your Influencer List Based on Relevance Relevance measures the contextual fit for your brand. With a large list of influencers, assess who would be most relevant to your audience based on your brand. This can be done through applying brand personas to determine who is appropriate to engage with based on the categories and topics they are discussing. Whether you’re looking for a food blogger, fashion Instagram star, or a moneysaving centric Facebook feed, define the appropriate buckets for your organization and campaign’s purpose and then slot influencers into those categories based on their content themes, persona and audience engagement. Find people who naturally connect to your mission, topics, product or service.

4. Identify the Level of Engagement to Determine Resonance Focus on influencers who have a committed and engaged following as this is a strong indication of authenticity. A strong influencer posts content that is consumable, likeable and often commented on. As they say, it’s not how many friends you can count, but how many friends you can count on to create engagement and build brand awareness.

5. Vet the Content As many followers as they may have, sometimes an influencer’s content doesn’t fit your brand. For example, does the influencer have a strong following and post beautiful photos that would speak to your audience, but also employs controversial commentary? Might not be a good fit. Be vigilant when vetting content for profanity, highly political posts, obscenity, and competitor mentions, otherwise your campaign could quickly backfire.

6. Personalize Your Outreach Approach Once you’ve selected the right partner(s), tailor your invitation for participation to what you’ve learned about them. Did you choose this person because she or he is making amazing #avocadotoasts every day? Make that a part of your outreach strategy. You’ve worked hard to select influencers who fit the mold, now use that research to solidify the relationship.

7. Have a Plan B and C Cast your net wide initially to account for influencers who decline to participate, which could be as high as 80% depending on the ask. There are many factors that play into influencer participation including, level of effort of the request (are you asking for a video or a text-based tweet?), turnaround time (influencers have personal lives too; make sure the production schedule allows for at least a week or ideally two) and content topic (is it sensitive in nature?). Just like your brand on social media, many influencers follow a strict strategy and content calendar in order to build an engaged follower base. Your organization may or may not it into their plan. There’s a science to selecting influencers. Align the evaluation process to your overall social media strategy to ensure you identify partners who will elevate your brand message, rather than dilute it. Once you’ve found a handful of good social media mavens, nurture the relationships to ensure it’s the start of a long-lasting and authentic partnership.

Quick Keys to Selection Success

  • In Build a long list of influencers
  • Consider reach of network
  • Categorize for brand relevance
  • Understand audience engagement level
  • Vet their content
  • Personalize your outreach to partners
  • Have a backup plan


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