The popularity of influencer marketing has exploded in recent years. Common belief is that the influencers‘ opinions can shape the perceptions of their followers. Though marketing campaigns constantly change, the followers‘ faith and trust in the influencer remains consistent. Online customers are known to trust the recommendation of individuals within their network or social circle.  In fact, 84 percent of customers trust the recommendation of an influencer even when it‘s clearly a sponsored promotion. The wrong selection of an influener can be detrimental not only to sales but also to the positive image of the product. Here are some tips on how to choose the right influencer for your product or services.

Know your platform

When you think of an influencer, also think of a platform. Decide which platforms host your relevant target audience and choose an influencer active on these particular platforms. If your audience engages most on Instagram, choose an influencer on Instagram. Although many of us simply assume that influencers reside on Instagram, surveys have demonstrated a burgeoning community of influencers on Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Don’t just spend

Budgeting is an important part of any campaign. Sketch out an idea of how much you are willing to spend and how much revenue you anticipate on earning. If you’re not ready to move forward with a large budget, consider alternatives such as micro-influencers.

Know your targeted audience

The right influencer is not necessarily the one with the highest number of followers, but one your target audience will trust. It might seem attractive to have a big name influencer talking about your brand but if it isn’t the right match, the results will be less than impressive.

For the best results, analyze your audience. See who they are followers and research their interests. Do the influencers with whom they engage accurately represent your audience and help reach your objectives?

Authentic content

When choosing the right influencers for your brand, check their content. Influencers who post more personalized content rather than the usual review are generally more trusted within the audience. In addition, you probably want an influencer who does not post 5 times a day since it may drown out your brand’s voice.

Acknowledge the risks

When you choose an influencer, you have to remember that they have their own persona and are not your employee. There have been many cases where social media personalities have made controversial statements. Brands associated with these personalities, aware of the associations made by audiences, understand that these partnerships cannot continue. Avoid bad press. Follow your influencer and have a plan in place. Better yet, research your influencer and analyze whether there is a pattern of controversial posts or statements.

Know them before you approach them

There’s a simple way to understand whether the influencer is a right fit – just check on them. Google and other search engines are useful here. A simple search will bring to light any past controversies but also past achievements.

Think about the engagement

The engagement of influencers’ followers indicates the depth of the relationship between the opinion leaders and their followers.  The key elements of social media engagement are conversations (comments/replies), amplification (shares) and applause (likes, favorites and so on.)  The size of the audience (reach) is not the determining factor for how to select an influencer. There are many tools available to grow audience numbers but if this audience does not interact with the influencer, it would suggest that the audience would not respond to product promotions.

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