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March 1, 2017

How brands can identify the right influencers

By: Jamie Sanders    Brands are often faced with the challenge of coming up with strategies to break through the noise and reach their target audience. Celebrity endorsement is a popular strategy. Celebrities are often sought after influencers by many big brands as a means of achieving a popular status for a product or service, as they are thought to hold the utmost influence.

But are celebrities actually as influential as we may think? Attaching a celebrity name to a product or brand surely brings about a sense of notoriety and has vast reach when it comes to brand awareness, but at such a large scale, is the right audience being reached in the most effective way?
Tim Burke, CEO and Co-Founder of a marketing intelligence platform Affino, discusses in a recent article that celebrity endorsement may not resonate in a meaningful way when the audience is so widespread.

Burke argues that the “real benefit lies in the long tail of niche influencers and small, tight communities that in aggregate resemble and operate like one big influencer.” These niche third party story tellers give marketing and PR professionals the potential to reach an audience in a real, authentic way and to maintain an ongoing dialogue to develop and strengthen brand loyalty.

In other words – move over Katy Perry, a new breed of influencers are taking over! These are bloggers who have built an engaged audience by creating and sharing content on their personal blog and social media channels.

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So, how do you identify the right influencer? Consider these three steps:

Sharing is caring. Look for an influencer who is active at least 2-3 times a day on 1-2 social media channels. If a blogger goes dormant for days on end, then it’s likely that they have a less engaged audience.

It’s all about influence. Take a few minutes to do your research and read through previous content. Do they have any comments under their posts? Do their social media channels have both comments and responses? Great influencers are experts at generating discussions online, and a testament to that is when their content is consistently talked about, shared, and reposted – this is also considered earned media.

Authenticity is key. Focus your efforts on people who produce authentic content that really resonates with audiences, prompts discussion, and is shared often.

Having an understanding of your chosen influencer – knowing exactly who they are reaching on an in-depth level and how engaging they are with their audience, will help ensure a successful partnership.

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