Influencer marketing 101: how to choose influencers for your brand’s campaign

Posted by Sara McCorquodale in Influencer Marketing 101

3 years ago

One of the most challenging aspects of planning an influencer campaign is identifying creators who are a good match for your brand. There are so many people to choose from and many may seem like they align with your company’s values, however a canny marketer will never work with talent on face value of their social platforms alone.

The best way to narrow your long list down is to research each person and discover who they are as individuals. Do they have any controversies in their background, views which are incompatible with your brand’s or previous convictions that can be found via Google? For example, CORQ did deep dive research on an automotive company’s ambassadors in 2020 and found that a significant number had drink-driving convictions. The influencers nor their management had flagged this to the brand, but it was an immediate issue for staff working on digital campaigns.

A quick Google can surface the most unexpected information which is sometimes at odds with how the influencer portrays themselves on Instagram or YouTube. However, it can also reveal details which make them even more compelling to your brand and your target market. Many influencers have thriving businesses, dynamically support charities and have inspirational back stories which perfectly chime with culture now. Understanding who an influencer is as a human being – the good, bad and everything in between – will very quickly shorten your long list and result in a better campaign that feels authentic on the influencer’s platforms.

Secondly, review their data. Whether you use CORQ’s flagship discovery enterprise platform or another service, understanding how an influencer’s audience demographics break down will allow you to efficiently target the consumers most relevant to your brand. This is especially crucial for products which are not appropriate for certain age groups – while an influencer may seem to be perfectly representative of a specific demographic, their audience data can be surprising.

Thirdly, review previous brand partnerships and how frequently they work with brands. Some influencers are able to publish adverts every day and experience no dip in engagement but many face negative feedback if they post commercial content. Engagement can drop by approximately one third and a poorly thought out brand partnership can sour the influencer/ follower relationship. After all, people have tuned in for the influencer’s story, not to be served adverts.

Lastly, speaking of the influencer/ follower dynamic, what is theirs? Have they built a community in which they communicate with their followers and their followers interact with each other? Or do they have a feed of nice pictures and an audience who can take or leave them? An influencer worth working with is one who nurtures the relationship with their audience and maintains the peer-to-peer dynamic as much as possible, even as their profile scales.

Talent identification is an ongoing pain point for many marketers – a challenging task that should not be underestimated. However, the more information you have, the shorter your long list will become and the closer you will be to finding influencers who are perfect for your brand.

By Sara McCorquodale, CEO and founder of CORQ, author of Influence: How Social Media Influencers Are Shaping Our Digital Future.