Whether you’re building an influencer marketing campaign with YouTubers, bloggers, Instagram influencers, or an emerging social channel like Vine (“Viners”) or Snapchat (“Snappers”), the first step to getting started is picking the right influencers who are the best match for both your brand and campaign goals. The concept of finding an influencer to drive more traffic and sales to your brand may seem secondary, but in many ways it’s tantamount to the success of the campaign (also see our post on 5 questions to ask yourself when choosing an influencer).
Before you get started with your first influencer marketing campaign, it’s important to know who your target audience is: where do they live online, what content are they consuming, and what social channels are they engaging with? Demographics for YouTube influencers, bloggers, Instagrammers, Pinterest, and Snapchat all skewer differently so it’s important to understand your target audience in order to determine the best channels.
Instagram and Snapchat are the hot, emerging social platforms of choice for marketing to Millennials, but Millennials also spend a huge amount of time on YouTube, so you may want to start there. Additionally, each platform has it’s own strengths. For example, some capabilities such as adding tracking links are available on YouTube and blogs, but are unavailable on Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat.
Once you’ve determined your KPIs and budget, you’ll want to find the most pertinent influencers to work with. There are many powerful free tools available to aid your search, however most of the best tools for searching and finding influencers are paid (e.g. Open Slate for YouTube or Group High for blogs). SocialBlade is an excellent free tool to find top channels on YouTube, Instagram, and Vine, but requires more manual allocation of resources and effort.
You can also find a plethora of information just through basic Google searches. Blogs and YouTube both offer native discovery options either through a blogger’s blogroll (similar blogs followed by an individual blogger – often in similar categories), or on YouTube in the “Related Channels” box. The latter often surfaces channels in similar categories with similar reach.
Review influencer’s content in depth to make sure there’s the right alignment with your brand. Check to see which existing brands and products they talk about and link to. Check out what they’re presently sharing on their social channels. And be realistic about the size of the influencers you’re looking to partner with. If you’re an upstart fashion brand, don’t expect celebrity bloggers to want to partner at a fraction of their quoted rate. Note that if any of the influencer’s content directly contradicts your brand message, you’ll want to keep looking (also see our post on 5 ways to collaborate with YouTube content creators).
One of the best indicators of an influencer’s audience engagement is both the quality of the content and their fan engagement. Each influencer marketing platform (YouTube, blogs, Instagram, et al.) act as their own crucible, vetting out the best content producers. These channels and creators rise to the top because of an acute understanding of their audience and a consistent production of exemplary content. Their audiences are inclined to share their content; as a result, these creators are the ones who rise to the top of their publishing platforms.
The best influencers tend also to create the best branded and sponsored content for influencer marketing campaigns. Again, this stems from their intuitive and inherent understanding of their audience and their unique ability to share their voice. They are able to integrate brands and sponsorships with a high degree of dexterity. This uncanny ability lends itself to exemplary influencer marketing campaigns, exceptional engagement, and brand messaging that resonates well with consumer audiences. So when vetting influencers, ask for previous examples of branded and sponsored content to see how well they were able to integrate the messaging, and whether or not their audience received it well.
Once you’ve found the content creators for your influencer marketing campaign, you’ll want to build rapport. After initiating communication, engage through social media channels with the influencer (like Twitter, Instagram, etc.). This will built authenticity for both the campaign and brand messaging. Often when an influencer shares and introduces partnerships on social channels before the branded content initiative, it can help mitigate any reactions or preconceptions their audience might have to sponsored and branded content.
Mediakix builds strategies and campaigns around top social media influencers. We work with top fashion, home, design, lifestyle and food brands to drive engagement, sales, new customers and brand awareness through new and emerging social media channels.