If you are active on any social media platform, you probably know at least three social media influencers. In fact, you might even follow them.  You know – those well-known people whose fashion sense, cooking skills or travel diaries are just out of this world. You know the people I’m talking about!

Graphic by Liz Roncevic

What Makes a Social Media Influencer?

And you might be wondering, what differentiates the average social media user from an influencer. You will see that social media influencers are people, much like you or me.  There may not be too much that is different at first glance. However, these influencers possess an important skill set that many people do not have.

The mark of a social media influencer is their large following that they’ve attracted by properly branding and marketing themselves.  In essence, there’s a lot to learn from the influencer population. And pair them up with the right brand and BAMMM! Miracles can happen!

Graphic by Liz Roncevic

One of the best things about using influencer marketing is that it’s very easy to find someone who could have a positive effect on your brand.  Many times these potential influencers may not even know that they have such authority or that they could sell it. Find yourself an untapped social media influencer and you may have just landed on a gold mine.  And for very little cost to you!

Look at it like this.  An influencer’s followings are a guaranteed market. They offer exposure over quite a large audience in addition to having a say in what people do or buy.  However, even though an influencer may have a large following, it is important to know that there are things you still need to consider. For example, an athlete might not be the right fit to advertise Huggies diapers.  And a chef might not be the right person to market hair dye. Proper evaluation is needed to choose the right influencer.

Choosing the Right Influencer

The influencer you choose will be the face of your brand, so make sure to pick the right one. Getting someone who is active on social media is an absolute must. In essence, the more an influencer posts about your product or service, the more clicks you will get (and the more sales you make). A potential influencer whose social media pages are inactive will not really do much to boost your brand image.

Photo by Sara Kurfeß on Unsplash

In addition, and as previously mentioned, you need to consider what the influencer does and whether it will complement your brand or product.  There are certain trends we typically see with business’s influencer choices. For example, restaurants and food products mostly choose food bloggers as influencer marketers.  Hotels typically use travel vloggers, celebrities and models. Clothing brands choose models and celebrity influencers. Fitness products and athletic brands usually choose professional athletes to complement their influencer marketing strategy.

It’s essential that the influencer’s audience fully resonates with the company, brand or product.  There should be a connection and feeling that the influencer and product “click”. Cristiano Ronaldo fans might find it strange if their soccer hero were to advertise the Kylie Jenner lip kit, for example. Fining an influencer who clicks with your brand is the first step.

Tip: Be aware of which influencers you choose.  Celebrities and public figures with a lot of negative press could end up doing more harm than good to your brand.  In many cases, consumers could avoid a product if it is associated with someone they do not like.

Be Clear About Your Goals

When you reach out to the influencer, make sure you are clear about what you want. Have a sit-down or conference call to strategize on how to best boost your brand’s sales and clicks.  Keep in mind, the influencer you are consulting with probably know more about social media than you do. Be sure to be respectful and openminded to their ideas and suggestions because they are the experts here!

Tip: Be realistic with your expectations.  Although many social media influencers have huge pulling power, carefully assess each marketer individually!

Have a Plan

Come up with a script or a plan of action for the post or video.  Convey key points to your influencer so that they know what to focus on.  Fill them in on product features and other important aspects of your brand, product or company.  

Tip: Send the influencer some samples of products or invite them to your business to check it out. Make sure the presentation of your products and business is excellent.  (example: If you have a restaurant, you might want to offer your influencer to stop by for a (complimentary) tasting of some of your best dishes. Make sure the seating, food, and other table elements are “post ready’!)

Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

Although you will want to tell your marketer when to post, they should be aware of the best times to reach their following.  It’s important that you be clear about the frequency of posts, but try to do this without micromanaging. Remember, you hired this person because they are the social media experts, not you!

Your social media posts should be as natural as possible.  They should not seem forced on the audience. But if you do your due diligence prior to hiring, it is likely you will have chosen an influencer who will fit well with your brand.  Ultimately, this shouldn’t be a concern. (Example: if the influencer is marketing a car service, like Uber, they could show themselves using Uber instead of just repeatedly telling people to use it.)

Photo by Alexa Suter on Unsplash

Another thing to keep in mind- do no overdo it and post too much!  It is important to monitor and analyze the results of each of your efforts.  There are many tools to do this, and you should be hypervigilant about thorough analysis.  

Over-posting or not thoughtfully planning posts could result in the loss of followers.  But, if you follow the previous steps, this is another thing that should not be a concern.  If you have chosen the right person for your influencer marketing efforts, they will surely know how to engage their audience effectively.

Keep in mind, apart from influencer marketing, there are many other ways to market your brand, product or service.  If you’ve read this article and don’t feel influencer marketing is for you, you have many other options. But with its growing popularity and range of possibilities, influencer marketing could be the tool that stimulates the growth your business needs.  And we wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it’s done that for you!

About the Author: Liz Roncevic is a digital marketer and the founder of Bizmap LLC, a digital marketing agency in Parsippany, New Jersey. Bizmap has been providing SEO and web design solutions to clients since 2017.