In the world of advertising and influencer marketing, finding the right voice for your brand is both essential and crucial.
Essential because you need to get your company's name out there, and who better than a face that's familiar to many people. Crucial, especially in today's age of social media, where almost all brands need a representative that consumers can relate to and lean on.
Influencers are people that around 49% of customers trust and rely on for guidance and direction, and it's they who will bring in more success for your company. They have a strong reach and can be defined by their large following and social influence in their respective fields.
But with so many bloggers, marketers, speakers, analysts, journalists, and even academics gaining in popularity nowadays, it's become rather difficult to choose the best influencer to represent or endorse your brand for a pre-agreed on price, compensation or commission.
So, how do you pick them?
In this blog post, I’ll share seven steps to choosing the right influencers for your brand.
1. Have a strategy and plan in place
Even before you choose an influencer or spokesperson for your brand, have a strategy in place that’s well-thought out and written down. In fact, this will help you settle on your final choices.
Begin by specifying the target market to go for, then plan out a way in which you’ll best advertise and promote your brand and messages in the market using your distinctive brand voice.
When you want a celebrity or influencer to star in your commercial, it's best that you already envision what he/she will do and say in it before you begin actually working with the star.
If you want the influencer to be prominently featured on your company website, start designing your webpages to accommodate that and work out how the spokesperson can fit into it.
While doing all these preparation work, ensure that whatever advertising strategy that you're planning on using will fit and accommodate more than one voice.
Avoid tailor fitting your commercials, ad campaigns, and more for just one influencer if possible. This because your desired influencer might not agree to partner with you. And if this happens, you'll have to start from scratch again.
Be as versatile as you can be with your marketing strategies and decisions. This is a smart move to prevent losing money or wasting time in the process. Think about it, what if the influencer you’re planning to work with suddenly vanished from, say, Instagram just like it happened with Instagram Influencer Jessy Taylor whose Instagram account got deleted accidentally?
Good thing is, Taylor got her account back but what will your company do were your preferred influencer to suddenly go absent on social media? Ensure your influencer marketing plan is versatile enough to accommodate such surprises. It’s, therefore, probably best to have multiple influencers on call, with a marketing strategy in place that is as flexible as possible.
2. Learn from your competitors
Nowadays, it's rare to see celebrities and influencers lending their voices to only one brand. Usually, the most prominent influencers endorse multiple companies and brands at a time, and some of them might be your competitors. You may need to spy on them to see what’s working.
In this case, try to learn from how your competitors partnered up with an influencer you're eyeing to enlist as the voice of your company. There are loads of platforms you can use to reverse engineer how they made use of the influencer's name, face, and voice online.
Based on your competitor study and findings, formulate a similar or better approach that can possibly emulate and even trample the positive results of your competitor's.
To learn from your competitor's influencer marketing campaigns and re-engineer and exceed their success, manually research their campaigns and impact:
I. Find the footprints. For example, if you want to look at the influencers for a certain brand, type on Google the search parameter: site:instagram.com “BRAND NAME”. It will help you find out those Instagram posts for that brand.
II. Weed out the results. Not all of the Google results above are posts from influencers. And some influencers will not always tell their audience that they are paid influencers comissioned by a certain brand.
Check out the following to weed out non-influencers and identify the right influencer for your brand:
- The number of followers.
If the followers are low, then it is not an influencer post. Here’s a sample:
Photo Credits: Instagram user wliec4SkmD
The two post above have only 6 likes and the account has only 14 followers respectively so it is definitely not an influencer.
- The number of likes.
The post below has 600 likes. It’s not that much but if you are a small cosmetic company looking for multiple influencers, this one might be a good candidate:
- You can also Google top lists of influencers.
HubSpot also has listed influencers in different niches you can check out
Furthermore, try to get insight into what it's like to partner with a particular celebrity or well-known influencer you think would be a good fit for your brand.
Find out their price, work ethic, how they perceive your products and services, how they’d like to work with you team, and so on. Although this is more 'behind-the-scenes,' all of it is important as it will give you an indication of how lucrative a deal with this person will be.
If an influencer is rude or difficult to work with, for example, the outcome of a partnership with them might not be good. You could end up disagreeing too much and losing money working with them.
3. Gauge their social media presence
Social media is very important when looking for the right ambassador for your brand. How much they post online, what they post online, and how they interact with their followers (and haters) are all vital factors to take into consideration when you're looking to form a partnership with a celebrity or influencer.
Firstly, if their social media profiles are more or less aligned with your brand philosophy, then you'd know this is a good person to have promoting your business.
How often the influencer posts online can also make the difference, because this frequency will tell you how often your brand will be mentioned by them and be seen by their followers.
For example, if you are in the food industry, Jamie Oliver and Brad Lau are some of the most well-known food influencers on Instagram. The question you might now have is how you are going to choose between the two of them?
Let’s take a look at how to go about solving this quandary:
i) Gauge them according to the number of followers.
Obviously, using this metric, Jamie has the most number of followers. So, what else should you measure and gauge?
ii) How often do they post?
Both of them post regularly on Instagram, but Jamie has more likes and comments in his posts.
iii) Do they respond to their followers?
It’s good that they both have good number of followers and posts on Instagram, but it is much better if you’ll get an influencer who actually interacts with their followers.
So, check how they respond. Or you can add in your contract with them that they should respond to comments in their “influencer” post for your product, as well.
When gauging influencers’ social media presence and engagement, tools like Inbassador.io can help you understand the “influence power” of the social media stars you’re eyeing.
4. Choose the most appropriate and relevant influencer for you
You have to choose among those who are most relevant, both professionally and in your field.
Now, this might be a bit discriminatory because many people, no matter how big or small, can be great voices for certain brands. But to really stand out in this cut-throat advertising marketing game, you have to reach for the skies and get those who are really influential to a lot of people.
Your chosen influencer can have legions of fans and admirers, many of which should be your potential customers. Enlisting the right influencer is thus a surefire way to get noticed by their audience and spread more awareness if the voice of your brand aligns with the influencer’s.
If you’re brand is about fashion and beauty, for example, you might want to consider influencers such as Lele Pons who has a massive following of people interested in fashion, beauty and related topics.
But the selection process doesn’t end there, you must check if her values and beliefs are in line with the values of your company. Picking the right influencer for your brand is not just about the number of followers, it’s about the relevancy too.
The wrong choice can have far-reaching negative publicity and consequences.
5. Negotiate a fair deal
Investing in an influencer to promote your brand is quite effective, and you should do whatever it takes to make the influencer happy. Afterall, they are lending their name and voice to your business, and it they are a celebrity or very influential personality, that could hold a lot of weight.
However, there will and should be limits to the compensation you offer them. A good partnership between a brand and an influencer is when a fair agreement is reached.
There has to be equal contribution (and possibly retribution) from both parties for it to be an effective and lucrative deal. If not, you risk losing a lot of money in the process, which is never good for any business.
Photo Credit: marketoonist.com.
Before closing the deal, both the company and the influencer should carefully negotiate terms of partnership in order to have a fair and equal partnership.
Elaborate the necessary terms of the deal—what does the influencer have to do in terms of advertising? How often will they have to post about your business? etc.
When that's out of the way, talk about compensation—how much will influencer get out of this? Will there be retribution if the influencer violates the terms and conditions? And so on.
Get all these things clearly spelled out and have discussions about them to ensure everything is clear. This will ensure that no one will be financially harmed if things don't go as planned.
Below is a sample of a non-disclosure agreement you can go through for inspiration:
6. Ensure the influencer is your customers too
Nowadays, authenticity is doubly important, especially since it's a lot easier now for people to expose you for being ingenuine and fake.
So, when you're choosing an influencer for your brand, it helps if the influencer is already your customer. Or, in the beginning stages of your partnership, you can turn them into one.
It's no longer enough that a prominent personality is fronting your ad campaigns and starring in your commercials. The influencer marketing your brand has to know what they are telling people to buy. That can only happen when the influencer themselves is a customer of your business.
A good example is Jennifer Lawrence, who is currently the face of luxury fashion label, Dior. As a marketing strategy, the fashion house always dresses her for her many events, especially for the red carpet. But at the same time, Lawrence is an actual customer of the brand, often spotted sporting a Dior handbag when she going about her private life.
That type of authenticity demonstrated by Lawrence has resonated with customers, who know full well that the voice of the brand actually understands and likes what she is endorsing.
7. Listen and incorporate some of the influencer’s ideas
Finally, don't be afraid to collaborate with your potential brand spokesperson. When you're choosing out of various celebrities and influencers, find out which ones might have their own ideas. The more the campaign has a little bit of both, the more authentic it will come out.
Celebrities and influencers aren't just mannequins or toys that will bend to your every whim. They have their own ideas on how they will sell your product or service to other people. And when their own ideas are appropriate and incorporated into the influencer marketing campaign, the influencer will be more comfortable and confident singing praises of your brand.
Just take a look at Tommy Hilfiger's brand when they teamed up with Jelena Noura "Gigi" Hadid, an American supermodel and social media influencer.
In 2016, the premium clothing company started co-designing seasonal collections with Hadid and had her walk on their runways during Fashion Week. As a result, the Hilfiger brand saw a 22% increase in revenue in 2017, becoming one of two major American fashion brands (the other being Calvin Kelin) to see a significant rise in business sales in that year.
Whoever will be the voice of your brand is sure to make an impact on your company. So, choose them wisely. Use the tips above to get the right celebrity or influencer for the job!