You’ve seen them out in the streets, by the poolside, and on the beach, striking poses and taking selfies with fresh coconuts and cocktails. Influencers are seemingly everywhere! Many of them are painfully annoying, whereas some are actually very, very good at what they do.
The question is, how can you go about finding the perfect social media influencer to represent your brand online? Someone who fits the bill perfectly and will generate a positive buzz about your brand, rather than risk making it look terribly silly?
In this article, we’ll share some tips on how to get started…
What is an influencer, really?
To the uninitiated, an influencer is a jobless poser who makes far too much money online doing cartwheels in free clothing. However, there’s much more to it than that. An influencer can come in many forms:
- In the shape of a blogger,
- A social media user,
- A content creator,
- An industry expert,
- Thought leaders,
- And celebrities.
Using whatever medium or platform they specialize in, influencers will create content and host industry discussions, amassing a large following and using their platform to promote various products or services.
For example, a typical Instagram influencer who specializes in health & fitness would typically create high-value content with easy workouts and healthful diet plans. Once they gain enough notoriety, brands can approach them and ask them to be brand ambassadors or to promote and review their products to their audience.
An industry expert or thought leader on the other hand would likely spend their time on LinkedIn and Twitter, sharing titbits of entrepreneurial advice or hosting podcasts where they dive deep into their specialist field – whatever their industry might be.
While influencers come in many shapes and sizes, in this article we’re going to focus specifically on social media users.
What’s the difference between an influencer and a celebrity?
Celebrities have long been brand ambassadors for big names. It seems like every other month there’s a new perfume or cologne advert with a famous actor swooshing their hair in a raunchy, black-and-white short.
With that in mind, surely celebrities and influencers are one and the same? Not so.
Influencers are essentially micro-celebrities who are very famous in their specific niche. For example, a streamer in the gaming community will almost certainly be recognized at a Comic Con expo, however, as soon as a true celebrity shows their face, the influencer will be left in the lurch.
But, don’t let that put you off. Striking a brand-ambassador partnership with a celebrity is a pipe dream for most businesses. However, finding niche influencers with a large following (aka your audience) is entirely possible and can be exceptionally profitable – when done right of course.
How to find the right influencer to represent your brand?
So, how can you go about identifying a key influencer in your niche to represent you?
First, you really need to understand your long-term business goals. What do you wish to gain from hiring an influencer?
Not only that but you have to deep-dive into your target audience and figure out the best platforms to locate them on and what kind of influencer they will most likely resonate with (the last thing you want is to hire one who none of your prospective customers like).
Once you’ve conducted plenty of audience, competitor, and market research, you can then move on to the hunt:
Start with hashtags:
You should be up to date with the current trending hashtags in your industry anyway, however, exploring them on social media can help you identify any trending influencers who are active at the moment. If you find someone with a huge following and you like the sort of content they produce, you can send them a direct message and discuss your options.
Then there’s the manual approach; using Google to conduct your research in order to track down the top trending or ‘up and coming’ influencers in your industry.
Seek out bloggers:
Using Google you can search various focus keywords that relate to your brand, products, and/or services. In doing so you can shortlist a few top blogging websites in your industry and see if you can strike up any kind of deal or partnership. Additionally, the top bloggers may already have a relationship with some trending influencers for you to consider.
Explore the influencer marketing platforms:
There are a number of influencer marketing platforms that essentially work like gig websites where you can find lists of profiles with the appropriate details such as niche, # of followers, and so on. If you are struggling to find an influencer you like, you could have some luck with such websites.
Add information to your website:
Another thing worth considering is adding a bit of information to your website. Just as some websites might have a “Careers” or “Write for Us” button, if you are in the market for an influencer, you could always advertise the fact on your website. Just be mindful that doing so will likely result in a lot of communication with people who really are not well suited to the role.
Conclusion: Are influencers worth all the hassle?
As you can see there’s quite a lot of work involved with finding an influencer to represent your brand. Now the question is: are they worth all the hassle?
If you get this right, plan accordingly, and manage to strike a deal with an influencer who is quite literally perfect for your brand, then it is entirely worth it. The best brand-ambassador partnerships can yield exceptional results.
However, it is a long and tiresome process and you also run the risk of A) never finding the right fit or B) throwing your lot in with an influencer who may end up causing more harm to your brand in the long run.
So, give it some serious thought before you assign any old influencer to your brand. It is a huge and highly important decision that must not be rushed.
If you are struggling to find an influencer and you can’t seem to find your feet with marketing your business through social media, we recommend seeking out a social media marketing agency in Dubai such as OnlineMarketingGurus. They will be able to help you start growing and monetizing your audience while keeping an eye out for the perfect influencer to join your ranks!