Twitter Parties: What Are They And Why Should You Care?

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By Courtney Moser

Let’s address the digital elephant in the room before we begin here. Twitter parties aren’t actually “parties.” There’s no music, cocktail attire, appetizers or even alcohol. That said, they’re still fun and beneficial to brands, bloggers and consumers alike.

What is a Twitter party?

A Twitter party is a live chat with a designated time to connect and share thoughts and expertise on a topic via Twitter. So, for example, an athletic brand promoting their event would say “Join us this Friday at noon for a Twitter party to discuss the latest fitness trends.” There are many reasons to host a Twitter party, from launching a new product to pumping up a brand campaign to increasing your social value.

Usually, the party is hosted by an expert in a field representing a brand, company or website. There’s also often a blogger, thought leader or small business accompanying that brand to offer more value and different points of view. A question-and-answer Twitter party format is popular because it’s an easy way to promote the brand, incorporate influencers and increase engagement.

Every Twitter party typically has an assigned hashtag to help the brand and participants track the conversation. To get involved, all you have to do is tweet using the hashtag – ask questions, get answers, share experiences and even give advice. After the party is over, other users can still view and search your hashtag on the platform.

Why should you care? Branding, Reach & Consumer Connections

But what’s the benefit of these parties? Good question. One goal of Twitter parties is to achieve a trending hashtag, which is basically free advertising for your blog or brand. And if a Twitter influencer retweets your information or insights, your social media reach could suddenly expand to include a whole new set of followers and potentially loyal consumers (is your target audience on Twitter?). At the very least, Twitter followers will be retweeting, liking and replying to your posts—resulting in greater awareness and improved engagement.

By setting objectives and measuring metrics such as reach and engagement, you can see the value of Twitter parties firsthand. With 320 million users on Twitter, the platform offers a great way to share messages and connect with consumers in real time. Plus, 80 percent of Twitter users are on mobile devices, making it a convenient, on-the-go form of social networking and marketing. Twitter is also a top network internationally, with 79 percent of its users living outside the U.S., and 35 languages supported.

In short, a Twitter party is beneficial to everyone involved:

Brands/Advertisers: Connect with your consumers, expand reach, assert yourself as an industry expert
Influencers: Promote your blog, networks and expertise to a brand’s fan base
Consumers: Get direct answers to your questions from industry experts

Forget just a win-win situation: Twitter parties are a win-win-win. To learn more about how influencer marketing strategies, such as Twitter parties, can help you increase your reach, contact the Find Your Influence team today.

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Influencer Marketing Best Practices: Always Work With Kids & Animals

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By Courtney Moser

 

“Never work with kids or animals.”

It’s time to turn that old adage on its head. In the world of influencer marketing, it’s advised to ALWAYS work with kids and animals. The critique that led to the outdated phrase above – that you can’t control them – is actually a benefit. Kids and animals make your campaign more messy, yes, but also more fun and authentic.

Take Loni Edwards and her dog Chloe, for example. Chloe is a mini Frenchie with a big following – more than 123,000 on Instagram, in fact. She has worked on influencer marketing campaigns with a variety of brands, including Budweiser, Vogue, Martha Stewart and PetSmart.

Edwards says of her dogs’ fame: “Pets generate these warm, happy, fuzzy feelings… Brands are starting to reach out because they make people genuinely happy, and they want their ads to make people happy.”

Chloe’s Instagram following is impressive, but nowhere near the top: There are many pet profiles on the platform with more than a million followers. After all, who doesn’t want to unwind by looking at dogs or cats in hipster glasses and scarves? Even the infamous Grumpy Cat has the opposite effect of grouchiness by spurring smiles.

The target audience for these pet campaigns is certainly alive and well: 65 percent of U.S. households own a pet. And, pet industry spending predictions for 2016 hit more than $60 billion. From digital product endorsements to Super Bowl ad spots, pets are often the star of the show for a reason. They have a universal appeal in our crazy, controversial world.

Kids, similarly, evoke positive emotional sentiments by way of cute humor and innocent insight. Mom bloggers are some of the original powerful influencers, and they often include their children in campaigns – from photos of them enjoying a new snack bar to modeling a certain brand of clothes to quoting their priceless reactions to an experience. Kids give the real scoop on everything – offering a breath of fresh air and much needed authenticity in the world of marketing.

Discount Tire, for example, created an influencer marketing YouTube campaign in celebration of Father’s Day. They gave influencers questions to ask their kids about road trips with Dad. In the video “Our Kids Tell Us About Their Dads,” the little ones answered in funny, honest ways – like saying that Seattle and McDonald’s were their two favorite trips with Dad.

Whether they know it or not, kids have power: it’s even said that kids influence up to 80 percent of household purchases. Parents always have their children top of mind, and using kids in influencer marketing campaigns appeals to family life and what matters most. From laughing at the silly things kids say to cooing over a new baby, consumers appreciate the realness that they bring.

To learn more about influencer marketing best practices, visit the Find Your Influence blog.

P.S. For the ultimate campaign cuteness overload, we suggest working with puppies AND babies… at the same time.

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Why is Listening to Your Influencers So Important?

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By Courtney Moser

Every now and then, it’s important to remind ourselves of Ferris Bueller’s wisdom: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it.”

Life does move fast – and the business world is even more accelerated. Between deals, deadlines, changes and campaigns, there’s often little time left for analysis and reflection. But influencer marketing is best when brands and influencers take the time to listen to each other and collaborate. A successful influencer marketing campaign is aligned with the following best practices:

  1. Build manageable campaign deadlines
  2. Set campaign goals to measure success
  3. Fully integrate your influencer marketing
  4. Pick the right social platform
  5. Find the right influencers
  6. Communicate frequently
  7. Provide feedback to your influencers
  8. Scale, and repeat

A large part of finding the right influencers, communicating frequently and providing feedback to your influencers is listening. It comes down to knowing who you’re working with – who you’ve enlisted to represent or promote your brand – and how they do business. Tied into the necessity of listening is the importance of acknowledging your influencers skill set and knowledge within your overall campaign strategy.

“The best conversationalists always start with listening… as do the best marketers,” according to this article.

There’s a reason you’ve partnered with influencers: they bring something to the table that your brand needs for a successful campaign. Not only do they have the attention of your target audience, but they are likely well versed in blogging and social media best practices. In this instance, they are the experts, and you can learn from them.

As this Forbes article says: “Influence isn’t just having a lot of followers. It’s also driven by expertise and credibility on subject matter and the relationship between the influencer and his or her followers.”

When is the best time to post on Instagram, for example? Is your campaign hashtag catchy and shareable enough? Ask – or at least be open to – feedback from your influencers, just as you provide feedback to them. Listen to your influencers’ ideas and suggestions because they are the ones who are “in the trenches.” And in this campaign setting, their success is your success.

What have you learned from your influencers? Which best practices do you prioritize when it comes to influencer marketing? Share your thoughts and expertise in the comments below!

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Demographics Versus Psychographics: Motivating Your Audience

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By Courtney Moser

Do you know who you’re talking to online?

Unlike an in-person conversation, it isn’t always clear who your message is reaching on the internet. Putting a face to that digital name can be extremely helpful for marketers and brands trying to cultivate an authentic connection with their consumers. To do this, we typically look at demographics.

“Authenticity comes from research – really clearly identifying who your target audience is,” Jamie Reardon, founder of Find Your Influence, says. “Dialing in on demographics can help you determine which influencers reach your target audience.”

Audience demographics are the age, gender, ethnicity, location and other statistical data of consumers. It’s the hard facts behind those names online – information you may gather for an email campaign or target marketing purposes. In an influencer marketing campaign, we typically look at demographics to determine which influencers can help us reach the right audience. Contrary to popular belief, however, demographics don’t provide the full story.

To understand your audience and how to motivate them to click or purchase, you should look at psychographics as well. In the simplest terms, “Demographics explain ‘who’ your buyer is, while psychographics explain ‘why’ they buy.” Both demographics and psychographics can help your brand create buyer personas to better hone in on your audience and market more effectively – and ultimately find the quickest path to conversion.

“Marketers are used to thinking and speaking in demographics … But psychographics, which measure customers’ attitudes and interests rather than ‘objective’ demographic criteria, can provide deep insight that complements what we learn from demographics,” as this Harvard Business Review article said.

How can you use demographics and psychographics to improve your influencer marketing campaign and motivate your audience? Hubspot provides an excellent example of how you can break down this information and use it to your advantage to build buyer personas.

Demographic information:

  • Female
  • Age 45
  • Married with two children

Psychographic information:

  • Wants a healthy lifestyle, but doesn’t have much time
  • Big fan of Pinterest, browses online in the evenings
  • Favors quality over economy

As you can see, both demographics and psychographics offer a lot of valuable marketing insight. Although acquiring demographics has typically been easier, the ever-advancing internet is putting more psychographic data in reach.

Today’s analytics can help you pinpoint the reasons consumers are searching, reading or buying specific things. Interviewing existing clients and asking them about their likes and needs, and purchasing thought process, is also a good way to gain more psychographic insight. After all – if you know who is buying, don’t you want to know why?

Please share your thoughts on demographics and psychographics in the comments below. And feel free to reach out to the Find Your Influence team with any questions.

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Why Negotiating With Influencers Is Hard (But It Doesn’t Have To Be)

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By Courtney Moser

What is it worth to you?

In business today, we can get so caught up with strategy, plans, cost and deadlines that we lose perspective. But, the idea of value should always be top of mind – especially when working with influencers. Both brands and influencers should ask “What is it worth?” when entering into a campaign agreement.

After all, everyone has a job to do. Some brands expect influencers to work solely for free samples or get frustrated when they don’t accept the first payment offer, but remember: this is their business, too. What is their work worth to you? What value are you offering them?

As this Entrepreneur article says: “Producing unique, interesting and relevant content for a campaign involves a great deal of work and effort. When pitching influencers, agencies should bear this in mind and propose something that will benefit everyone involved.”

When brands and influencers respect the others worth and business, negotiating becomes a whole lot easier. But let’s back up – before even entering into negotiations, make sure you’ve done your research and chosen the right influencers for your brand. Once you’ve identified the influencers you’d like to work with, reach out and introduce your brand – remember, influencer marketing is a relationship, and this is setting the stage for it.

Discussing influencer rates can be tricky, and there are no set rules. Many influencers evaluate and determine rates on a case-by-case basis, but some will have media kits with a list of prices.

“Be prepared — and respectful — of what their rate might be. If it falls within your budget, great; if not, it will help determine what caliber of blogger you can partner with. While an A-list influencer is most likely not willing to do a sponsored post for $300, a newer blogger might gladly do so and reach the niche audience you are so lusting after,” as said in this Small Business Trends article.

Following are a few tips to keep in mind when you start negotiating a brand-influencer agreement.

Outline strategy and goals: Let the influencers know exactly what your brand wants to accomplish with your campaign. They are the content and social media experts, and hopefully, your professional partners. It will be easier to work together if you have a clear understanding and visibility from the start.

Determine expectations: This is as simple as it sounds – what value are they bringing to the table? What do you expect them to produce? Discuss all factors of content and promotion, including what will be created, when it will be published, where it will be shared, and so on.

Prioritize communication: Throughout the introduction and negotiation process, keep communication at the core. This will help to prevent any future misunderstandings once the campaign begins.

Still have questions? Contact the Find Your Influence team for further campaign guidance.

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Broader & Louder: Content Amplification With Influencer Marketing

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By Courtney Moser

“Can you hear me now?”

This simple phrase made infamous by a phone company years ago illustrates the frustration many brands face online today. The internet is so cluttered – with companies, consumers, blogs, social networks, readers, advertisers, you name it – that standing out and being heard can seem impossible. What used to be an opportunity (connect with your customers anywhere in the world!) is now a challenge.

The solution for this challenge is ever evolving. Just when it seems like we have the answer (Google! social media!), there’s a software update or algorithm change and brands are once again lost in the digital hustle and bustle of progression. But, this isn’t a glass-half-empty kind of article. There are plenty of emerging opportunities for companies to be heard.

Influencer marketing presents a powerful way for brands to partner with individuals who have an influential voice online – whether that’s in a specific blogging community, a niche market or on specific social channels. This updated form of word-of-mouth marketing can help brands increase reach, awareness, affinity and even intent to purchase – while connecting with consumers and engaging target audiences.

“Partnering with influencers helps get your message in front of a much larger audience and drive conversions, as well as help accelerate buyers’ decisions,” according to this MarketingProfs article.

There are different tactics within the influencer marketing umbrella, with the most popular being content creation – in which a brand gives participating influencers a topic or idea and has them create original blog or social content around it. Content amplification, however, is equally as valuable and actually an easier process. It’s centered around the practical concept of using what your brand has: giving new life to old words, images or campaigns.

With content amplification, you can take impactful brand content you already have, and ask influencers to promote it. Marketing Land refers to these influencers as the “Megaphone” for a reason. With content amplifiers, you can repurpose clever messaging or impactful content and reach new audiences with different methods, across multiple channels.

Your branded content may be a video or article that didn’t get quite the traction you were hoping for the first time around. Or, it may have done so well last year that you feel it deserves to be seen again. Either way, influencers can help you expand your reach by linking to it from their blog, posting about it on social networks, and more.

It’s been found that a small percentage of your content actually generates the majority of shares and links. The takeaway? “Focus 20 percent of your time on creating fewer high-quality pieces of content and the other 80 on promoting that content,” according to Larry Kim in this article. This supports content amplification efforts, and illustrates the value of increasing promotional tactics with influencers – you can save your resources and still make an impact.

“Start where you are; use what you have; do what you can.” Those words from Arthur Ashe were not necessarily meant for influencer marketing, but they describe the opportunity within content amplification. Are you going to take advantage of it?

Learn more about influencer marketing best practices here.

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Building Influencer Marketing Into Your Budget

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By Courtney Moser

Nearly 65 percent of marketers plan to increase their influencer marketing budget this year. And with an impressive 6.5:1 average ROI, why not?

Influencer marketing is said to be the fastest growing online marketing channel, beating out tactics such as affiliate marketing, display ads and paid search. By now, you probably recognize the power and necessity of this tactic for your brand in 2017. The question, then, is not whether you should include influencer marketing in your strategy, but how to build it into your budget.

The first time you incorporate influencer marketing into your budget can be daunting – How much do you need? What should be included? At Find Your Influence (FYI), we recommend outlining your brand goals for the year, along with any planned campaigns you could capitalize on or expand with influencer marketing. Determine if you’re going to focus on driving specific product sales or increasing overall brand affinity and engagement. From there, you can approximate content needs.

Your content needs will vary from blogs to social media channels, and that will greatly impact cost. Hard numbers are difficult to dish out without context here, ranging anywhere from hundreds to hundreds of thousands. For instance – how much will an Instagram campaign cost with one celebrity influencer? This would require a very different budget than partnering with ten micro-influencers for seasonal blog posts.

A brand just testing out the impact of influencers may want to utilize existing content and just ask them to reach new audiences with it. A survey cited in this Tech.co article discovered that 34 percent of brands plan to center their influencer marketing strategy on blogs – while 29 percent will focus on Instagram, 23 percent on Facebook, 8 percent on Twitter 5 percent on YouTube and 1 percent on Snapchat.

At the core of all content lies the creators or promoters – the influencers. Overall, your biggest influencer marketing cost will be the number and type of influencers. If you’ve always wanted to partner with a certain public figure, for example, that one influencer may cost more than 25 micro-influencers. It all depends what you’re willing to pay, what kind of campaign you’ve chosen (are they simply sending out a tweet or writing 800 words?) and what is worth it for ROI (how you’ll measure the output of what you put into the campaign).

So, what should be accounted for when budgeting for influencer marketing? Look at your goals and strategy for the upcoming year. Let’s recap the essential decisions you have to make:

Content: Will you focus on original blogs, social media or repurposed content?

Influencers: What matters most – reach, engagement, content or audience?

Measurements: How will you measure success?

If you’re ready to get started and reap the benefits of influencer marketing, the FYI team can help you organize your campaign and connect with influencers.

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Why Engagement Matters More Than Impressions

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By Courtney Moser

Quality over quantity.

Not to sound like a broken record over here, but if you’re ever pitting quality against quantity — quality wins every time. Within quality in influencer marketing lies content, engagement, expertise and more.

While quantity focuses on pumping out a large amount of content to as many people as possible, quality hones in targeted consumers who are engaged and listening. Because of this distinction, we call quantity “impressions” and quality “engagement.”

A higher impression used to be the ultimate marketing goal, but now we’ve seen the light and realized that it doesn’t matter how many people you’re gaining impressions from if they’re uninterested. Times are quickly changing and it’s much more important to connect with the right people – even if that means there aren’t as many.

This is especially relevant when it comes to the celebrity influencer marketing trend. Although celebrities have an impressively large impression number, it’s due more to public status than true interest in what they have to say. Credibility isn’t always there. In fact, according to a recent study, we are “50 times more likely to trust a recommendation from a friend than a celebrity or internet personality.”

Reinforcing the emphasis on quality content and engagement, marketers are turning to micro-influencers to connect with niche audiences and those who are most likely to become customers. Micro-influencers are typically categorized as having less than 10,000 followers, but even influencers with a much larger following can effectively cultivate an engaged audience.

“Influencers in smaller niches may have a much better ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level. This means you should be prioritizing relevance over mass impressions. When you’re searching for the right influencer for your brand, look for higher engagement levels instead of large social following,” reinforces Search Engine Journal.

Ultimately, it all comes down to authenticity and credibility, and choosing influencers who are focused on engagement and creating a true community online. Brands who partner with engaging influencers are more likely to see success in influencer marketing.

What are the business benefits of prioritizing engagement?

More meaningful connections: Influencers with higher engagement are likely closer to their followers, with potential for engaging future brand loyalists.

Increased credibility: Smaller influencers are known for more niche topics or expertise, and often cultivate a trust with their readers.

Higher intent to purchase: A study found that influencers have 22.2 times more conversions each week than regular consumers. Clearly, their purchase influence is valuable.

Social Media Today best summarizes the importance of engagement over impressions in influencer marketing: “You can’t build a loyal consumer base on impressions alone. Impressions certainly form something of a bedrock… But without your audience acting on your content (likes, retweets, shares and comments) there’s very little chance of leveraging that relationship to score leads and converting these to sales. This is why 73% of content creators plan to prioritize creating more engaging content in 2016.”

Have you hopped on the engagement train with us yet? If you have any questions or concerns, the Find Your Influence team is happy to help you get on board. And in the meantime, you can learn more about influencer marketing best practices on our blog.

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What is a Social Media Superstar?

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By: Courtney Moser

Lights, camera, action? More like post, share, go viral (am I right, influencers?).

With 1.6 billion people on Facebook, 400 million on Instagram and 320 million on Twitter, it’s clear that the world of social media is a cluttered one. The digital revolution has given many people a platform and voice, but between all of the posts and noise, it can be hard to stand out. Unless you’re a social media superstar, that is.

A social media superstar is someone who is famous because of their social channels, as opposed to someone who is already famous for something else and has social channels. Did you get that? The superstars’ fame is social-media made.

“Now more than ever, fame is accessible, and it creates a different breed of famous person. You can release a funny photo… You can create a social media account for your adorable pet, or post inspiring or funny videos about your life. You can change the world, if only for twenty-two seconds,” writer Sarah Klegman said of the changing fame landscape.

Social media superstars have not only used technology to their advantage, they’ve discovered an alternative path to fame and earned digital influence. Typically, they have a total reach of more than one million. There’s a wealth of interesting stories of social media superstars, across many different networks such as YouTube, Vine, Instagram, and more. Even if a superstar is famous because of, or known specifically for a certain network, they still have a presence on the rest of them for cross-promotion and increased reach – a great takeaway for all marketers. This Social Media Today article on YouTube celebrities, for instance, said: “No single successful YouTuber is to be found without any of the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.”

What are these superstars doing right? First and foremost, they have a definite target audience. They have a following that connects with them – whether niche or more broad – and it isn’t one sided. Engagement is the next critical aspect to social media stardom. Consistent posting, cross-promotion and responsiveness are all important for high levels of engagement. After all, if you have a loyal follower who constantly comments on your videos or asks questions about your photos with zero acknowledgement or feedback, won’t they eventually just stop trying? Social media is all about connecting and sharing, and superstars only rise up with the help of others.

What else sets social media superstars apart? Have you worked with any superstars in influencer marketing campaigns? Share your insight with us in the comments!

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6 Factors to Consider When Choosing an Influencer

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By: Courtney Moser

Ten thousand and one, ten thousand and two… oh, never mind. We’re not even going to pretend that we know how many bloggers and social media users are online today. The total number is overwhelming and constantly increasing! With so many influencers out there, how do you know who to choose for a campaign? The truth is, there are a billion factors you could consider when choosing influencers to work with. A few key metrics will certainly make the search easier, but it’s also important to consider the big picture and ask: “Does this influencer make sense for my brand?”

When evaluating influencers, here are the six most important factors to consider, from the bottom up.

6. Traffic

The most straightforward metric to rely on is blog traffic. If an influencer has a lot of daily visitors, then you can pretty much guarantee a certain amount of impressions. This is a great starting point and a metric that should always be considered, but it’s not the only thing you should look at. Plus, have you learned anything from banner ads? Impressions don’t necessarily mean high engagement or lead to conversions. There are a lot of other factors that comprise the big picture.

5. Social networks

One of the main reasons you shouldn’t depend solely on blog traffic is that influencers span many networks. It’s possible for an influencer to have a low or mediocre blog following, but have a huge social media reach on certain platforms. And social media can lead to high conversion rates. An influencer with an impressive social fan base could easily be more influential than an influencer with high blog traffic – it just depends on where your audience is and which platforms align with your goals.

4. Total Reach

The best of both worlds is total reach. To get this metric, you start by figuring out your influencers’ blog traffic or blog subscribers. Then, you add the social platforms they have a presence on – either combining total fans or getting more detailed insight from the influencers. Finally, calculate total reach and compare to other influencers. Prepare to be surprised: it’s possible for an influencer with an average following on many platforms to have a higher reach than an influencer with one stellar platform.

When you’re looking at total reach and traffic numbers, it’s vital to keep it all in perspective. Numbers don’t mean everything, and “celebrity” influencers aren’t always the way to go. It has to make sense for your brand to be real. As wisely said in this article, “Inauthenticity kills trust.”

3. Engagement

As we said above, it’s not all about numbers (gasp!). An influencer can have a high reach but also a high bounce rate. If your campaign goals are more focused on engagement – if you’re measuring new subscriber comments or promoting an interactive contest – then this metric might be more important to you than reach.

To determine engagement, start with the influencer’s blog. Are people commenting? Does the influencer have email subscribers? These are all questions to ask if you’re considering working with an influencer. Then, move on to the social platforms. Are people commenting, liking, retweeting and sharing? Ask influencers for their engagement metrics to better understand their impact.

2.  Fan demographics

Influencer marketing helps brands reach new consumers – and more importantly, targeted consumers. For the best results, you want to find influencers with a fan base who would love your brand. So, start with your own demographic data — what age groups, location and marital status make up your biggest customer segments? Next, find influencers who have an audience that falls in those specific targets.

If you’re a local brand, be sure to find influencers who have an active voice in your city or state. If your customers are often married with children, parenting bloggers might be a great fit. There are many ways to go about this, depending on how much you know about your segments and demographic data.

1. Content

The most critical thing to consider when choosing influencers is whether or not the influencer’s content, interests and voice match the quality and goals of your brand. Content is king, always. An influencer with a high reach in an unrelated industry is much less effective than a small influencer with a passionate fan base in your industry. Make sure to choose relevant influencers who are developing high-quality content.

This advice from Forbes best illustrates the sum of all six factors: “Just because a person has an impressive number of followers, doesn’t mean they actually wield any real persuasive power. Take time to do a deep dive into the analytics to understand the influencer’s audience. Who are they? Are they engaged? How often? How does the influencer interact with her followers? What do they talk about? Is the relationship genuine? Would your brand make sense in their life?”

And remember: Before you launch a campaign, it’s important to outline specific campaign goals. With the right goals, metrics and content concepts in place, it will be a lot easier to choose influencers based on your campaign needs.

Of course, if you need help finding influencers, we’re available here at Find Your Influence.

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