Getting an influencer on board with your brand is an important tactic to generate sales.
It may surprise you that the strategy is much older than it seems. Celebrity endorsement of products on television commercials has long been a popular practice for more than 75 years.
People are always looking for credibility, so when they shop for a product they want to invest in something they can trust to do the job. That’s where influencers come in.
Today’s influencers are mostly individuals who have gained a high following on the internet and social media channels. They are the respected authority figures to the general public, and there are influencers that specialize in hundreds of different niches.
Who is an Influencer?
There are many kinds of influencers out there on the internet. An influencer is generally an online authority figure who has a respectable following.
An influencer’s followers often shape their interests and opinions on what the influencer believes or likes. So,
when an influencer endorses a product because they like it a lot, their followers will want to try it, because there’s a better chance they will like it too.
That’s how influencer recommendations increase your sales.
An influencer can be any of the following people:
He or she may be a career TV or movie actor, musician, or professional athlete. Some individuals become celebrities if they make history or do something remarkable, such as Susan Boyle’s star-making performance on Britain’s Got Talent TV show.
Keep your eyes open for celebrities in the making. Thanks to the power of smart device video recording and sharing, an ‘average’ individual can become famous from anywhere. You never know when the next video might go viral.
2. Social Media Personality
Not too far off from a traditional celebrity, a social media personality is likely an individual on social media who has gained a large following and some degree of fame through the platform.
They could have regional, national, or international recognition.
A writer who specializes in writing blog posts about various topics of interest on a regular basis. They may post on their own site, or be a guest blogger for another website.
Blogger influencers carry the double benefit of attracting audiences with SEO keyword strategies as well as being viewed as an authority figure in their subject.
This means if you partner with them, you also get a content marketing boost for your brand.
4. Lifestyle Brand
Some influencers aren’t even a person, they’re a brand. A lifestyle brand is well known and considered part of the audience’s lifestyle.
They may have been around for a long time, or perhaps only a few years, but all of them have one thing in common:
They’re really good at what they do, and now consumers view them as an expert authority on their niche.
They typically endorse positive lifestyle choices and partnerships with non-competitive companies for good public relations. They may also sponsor certain community events or nonprofit organizations.
If your business becomes a lifestyle brand, then you’ve hit the golden business milestone.
5. Thought Leader
This is an individual or company who is recognized for their well-seasoned expertise on a particular subject.
Thought leaders typically have decades of experience in their professional field. If you’re searching for in-depth advice about something, the thought leader is the go-to guru for you.
Thought leaders often speak at conferences, webinars, and public events for businesses and universities. They may also have their own website and social media accounts for people to easily get in touch with them for future bookings.
5 Questions to Ask That Will Help You Find an Influencer
Now that you know a little more about who or what an influencer is, it’s time to find one. You know that influencers are important … but how do you pick the right one for your product? Here are five questions to ask yourself to help get you started.
“Are They Relevant?”
When you need an influencer to boost your brand, it’s strategic to find one that fits your niche in the marketplace.
You can find the best food influencer in the world, but it won’t mean a hill of beans if they review coffee beans and your product is pasta sauce.
Throwing spaghetti against the wall is not the solution in your search for the right influencer. You’ll have a lot more success with an influencer whose area is relevant to your product theme, such as Parmesan cheese or traveling to Italy.
Go ahead, get creative with it. That’s the fun part.
“Who Do They Reach?”
Before you start your search for an influencer, it would benefit you to take a crash course on how to read the reach numbers.
Unique visitor numbers may look attractive, but don’t be fooled. It’s not about how many followers they have.
It’s about who the influencer is talking to and whether they fit with your target audience. Your niche is not going to make much impact otherwise.
A good clue to learn about an influencer’s reach is to find out what their strongest platform is.
A food influencer might have a powerful impact on Pinterest, for example. An influencer who regularly reviews travel resorts will probably have their strongest following on Instagram, while an influencer who demonstrates beauty products in their videos is more likely to be a YouTube celebrity.
Figuring out what kind of social media platform fits your niche the best is half the battle of finding the right influencer for your product, as each one attracts a type of audience that’s a little different from the others, to begin with.
“How Engaged is the Influencer?”
This is another good question that shows how influence is not just about the numbers.
Pay attention to how frequently the prospect replies to viewers’ or visitors’ comments, and how quickly they get to them.
Keep track of the influencer’s audience, too. Who likes to follow this influencer?
Try to summarize the audience into a persona (or two or three, if need be.) For example, “NFL Frank” is a young male high schooler who is interested in sports, video games, and bodybuilding.
So, he probably follows influencers who talk about famous football stars, sports equipment, protein supplements, and video game news.
When looking at an influencer’s audience, try to learn about their activity patterns. How many of them return followers, and how many of them are new?
What’s the percentage?
How frequently does the audience post, comment, and share the influencer’s content?
Their engagement with it signifies the future engagement of your brand.
“What is Their Frequency?”
Engagement is connected to frequency, so it’s no surprise that the amount of frequency is the next important question to ask yourself.
How often an influencer posts content has everything to do with the return rate of visitors. Who wants to read two-year-old content, anyway? Time marches forward, along with new ideas and relevancy.
Write down what times of the day the content gets posted, and how many “likes” were on it at that timestamp.
A notable influencer recognizes that real success does not happen overnight. It takes multiple visits for a consumer to click something on a website and stay there on the page.
That means it takes time to build ideal return visits, and a successful influencer knows this well.
“Are They Authentic?”
People are constantly searching for authenticity these days. While it may seem silly to ask yourself this question, (after all, they are an influencer) you can’t afford not to. Spend time checking out the influencer’s content before making a decision. Are their blogs engaging and relatable?
How do they mention a product or brand?
Do they talk about it in a meaningful way, or do they just chuck the product review out there?
Does their content read like a long-winded sales pitch, or more like an honest conversation? Authentic influencers talk about their niches in a caring fashion and their content is highly shared by their viewers, because they care too. They have found a product that really works, and they can’t wait to tell everyone about it.
Passion is Important for an Influencer
The next time you need an influencer to promote your niche, try asking these questions of yourself. Just like promoting your brand in any other type of media, you’ll need to go in with a strategic game plan to find the right influencer.
Despite the obvious public attention that comes with the territory of these things, remember that influencer hunting is not a popularity contest. It’s about engaging with your target audience in a meaningful way. You’re passionate about your brand, so why not your influencer?
They’ll talk about your niche in a way that will give everyone something to get excited about — and generate more meaningful sales as a result. What can be better than that?
With these tips under your belt, finding the right influencer will hopefully be a much easier process — and your influencer will become a regular promoter in the process. Good luck out there!
Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. If you want to find more articles by Patrick, you can find them on his personal blog or in Sunshine Behavioral Health.