Before reaching out to a potential social media influencer, you’ll need to consider the Rs of influence:
Relevance: The influencer is sharing content and developing a following relevant to your business and the particular market segment you want to target.
Reach: The number of people you could potentially reach through the influencer’s follower base that would bring value to your business.
Resonance: The potential level of engagement the influencer can create with an audience that’s valuable and relevant to your brand.
When determining whether an influencer is a good match for your three Rs, you’ll need to ask yourself a couple of important questions.
Who are you trying to influence?
Most marketers have no trouble coming up with a high-level answer to this question: you’re trying to influence your customers, prospects, and the broader industry community. But your influencer campaign can’t be all things to all people: as in all types of marketing strategy, a meaningful answer requires greater focus and a clear understanding of your goals and your audience.
Perhaps you’re trying to influence people who work in a specific job function—social media professionals or community managers who tend to spend significant amounts of time on social media every day, for example. Or maybe your goal is to influence decision-makers in a particular vertical—maybe government or finance leaders who tend to place deep trust in recommendations from their peer network. Or, you could be trying to target a specific consumer segment, like millennials looking to buy their first home.
These are three very different groups, and an effective influencer marketing strategy requires you to speak to the right people using the right tools (and, in this case, the right influencers), just like you do in all of your other marketing work.
Looking at a very specific marketing niche, for example, a recent survey from public relations firm MWWPR found that influencer marketing is the most effective way of marketing spirits to millennials, along with earned media. According to the report, 54 percent of Millennials share branded content from spirits companies when it is posted by a social influencer, and 93 percent usually try a new liquor after someone recommends it to them. For any liquor brand looking to expand into the millennial market, those numbers should be hard to ignore.
Who do your customers, prospects, and community trust?
For marketers, the key requirement for true influence is trust. Your audience must trust and respect the opinion of the influencers you partner with. Without the trust component, any lift in results will be superficial and you’ll struggle to see a tangible business impact from your efforts.
Working from a clear idea of exactly who you’re trying to influence, take the extra step to find key opinion and thought leaders whom your audience already looks to as sources of meaningful information. These people are already influencers—and partnerships with them can drive real impact.
Keep in mind that your audience demographics play a major role in determining which influencers will be the most trusted in your marketplace. Data from Twitter shows that people aged 45 and up view more traditional household name celebrities as preferred influencers, while millennials prefer digital content creators.
There are plenty of tools to help you identify people with large and engaged networks talking about topics that matter to your audience, including followerwonk, Traackr, Klout, and Hootsuite. But remember that reach alone does not indicate a powerful influencer—you also need the other two Rs: relevance and resonance. Watch for engaged followers—that means plenty of views, likes, comments, and shares, all from the precise follower segments you’re trying to reach.
A huge follower count is meaningless without evidence that those followers are paying attention, and a smaller follower count can be very powerful if it’s a niche area and the potential influencer is a recognized leader. Markerly, a network that connects brands with influencers, recently found that partnering with “micro-influencers” can provide much better ROI than trying to snag a big celebrity. Their analysis of 800,000 Instagram users found that the influencers with 10,000 to 100,000 followers offer the best combination of resonance and reach.
Credit: Christina Newberry via https://blog.hootsuite.com/