Did you know celebrities and social media super users get paid to hawk products and services to their followers? Maybe you’ve even been approached by one. The conversation goes something like, “Give me free stuff and I’ll give you a shout out.” Now, with the right influencer, this is a great deal. But a majority of the time, it’s a bum deal for you.
Never never never blindly agree to one of these offers. No matter how many followers the influencer claims they have. Here’s why:
- Total followers means nothing
- Engagement is more important
- You need to know their audience are your potential customers
- Is the exposure you’ll receive worth the service you’ll provide
- Thanks to social algorithms, one post will only reach a small portion of their followers
- Their followers may not even be real
Don’t Give upon Influencer Marketing
It can be tempting to scrap the whole idea of influencer marketing. Especially if you’ve been burned by one of these fake influencers. But if you do this, you’re missing out on a great opportunity. Fake followers and likes will cost businesses $1.3 billion this year.
Research Your Influencers
Create your own internal vetting process. Do your research and ask potential marketing partners to provide data proof of the performance of their social media accounts. If they refuse to do this, stop right here. No need to go further with this person.
Look at the Data
Once you have the cold hard numbers, take a look at their engagement. Let’s say they have 250,000 followers. But the majority of their content gets less than 100 likes and zero comments. This should raise red flags. It is likely that the majority of their followers are fake accounts.
Look at their Content and Audience
Next, you’ll want to take a look at their audience. Compare the demographics with your customer demographics. If they don’t match, could this be a new Avenue for your business? If you are comfortable with the potential audience then you’ll want to look at the content. Make sure their posting style and voice blends well with your brand image. Check out their other sponsored posts. Are you ok with being featured in a similar manner?
Look Out for Too Many Branded Posts
While you are checking out the content, keep tabs on how many branded posts are made. Too many and yours will get lost in the noise. You also need to decide if you want to avoid influencers who post content for your competitors. This can potentially be an advantage if done correctly.
Create a Whitelist
Once you approve an influencer, put them on a whitelist. This should be a shortlist of approved people. Keep this list small and manageable. This will help you manage your influencers and maintain control of your social reputation.
Have a Contract
The days of a handshake are over. Have a contract with all details agreed upon included. This will come in handy for the next tip.
Set Performance-Based Payments
In the beginning, brands were starry-eyed and naive. They threw large sums of money at influencers upfront. The landscape is changing and you have negotiating power. Propose a more fair and balanced payment system. Base your payment on the performance of a particular metric. For example, you could base it on clicks, or referred sales. This will ensure you get the performance and benefits promised.
Track the Performance Metrics
Don’t just pay for posts and then stop paying attention. You need to see if your investment paid off. Do you have more positive mentions on social media? Is the influencer’s audience responding positively to your product? Are your sales increasing? If there is no change in your awareness, reach, or sales, then maybe this isn’t the right influencer for your brand.
Seek Out Influencers
Often, the best influencers are the ones who aren’t trying to be. You can use a social media tracking tool to find potential influencers for your brand. A good place to start is with people who already fans of your brand. They will lend a level of authenticity to a sponsored post. Narrow down potential profiles to those who have a real audience in the 10,000 range. These are micro-influencers. They tend to have a more focused, relevant, and engaged audience.
Try Influencer Marketing for Your Brand
As you can see, this is a legitimate and viable marketing avenue, you just need to proceed with caution. By following these tips you can set your company up for success with influencers. If you have questions or still feel confused about the whole process, don’t be afraid to reach out. I have experience on both sides of the influencer relationship. I’m more than happy to help you evaluate and select potential influencers.