Did you hear about the Peter Thomas Roth eye cream that sold out after a TikToker shared a video of the product working wonders on her skin? In case you missed it, check out this article. If it wasn't already clear that potential customers respond well to regular people sharing experiences about products, the 6 months worth of inventory clearing out of Peter Thomas Roth's warehouses was an overwhelmingly indication that money should be invested into influencer marketing. After being conditioned to put money into Facebook and Instagram ads, it can be scary to step into another realm of marketing. Here are our best tips and tricks for finding the perfect influencer at any budget.
Figure Out Your Budget
Like any advertising, influencer marketing is going to cost you. Analyze your marketing budget and see how much money you can redirect to influencer marketing. If you don't have any advertising dollars to spare, never fear - you may be able to trade product for a post with a micro-influencer. What's a micro-influencer? We're glad you asked.
There are two types of influencers: micro-influencers and macro-influencers. Macro-influencers have >50K followers and micro-influencers typically have 10 - 50K influencers. There are some micro-influencers who are under 10K that are extremely affective at advertising because they've built a strong, tight knit community in their following. Macro-influencers will not create a post for a product; they will always expect payment. Some micro-influencers are willing to post only for product, especially if the product aligns with their mission. Generally, the more followers an influencer has - the higher rate they will expect for their services ... which is totally fair! People laugh at influencers, but good influencing is pretty hard work.
The other factor that will affect how expensive an influencer's services are is their engagement rate.
What's An Engagement Rate?
An engagement rate is the average amount of engagement (likes, comments, shares, saves) that a user gets divided by their follower count. Engagement rates matters when it comes to influencer marketing because it reveals how much their audience actually cares about the content the influencer is posting. When you reach out to an influencer asking to collaborate, they'll often send you their media kit - which will include information such as their engagement rate and past brand collaborations. Always, always, always double check the engagement rate an influencer gives you. Use a website like phlanx.com/engagement-calculator to make sure the numbers on their media kit aren't inflated. We ran our profile through this calculator, and we were quite pleased to see that our engagement rate beats Kim K's.
Another thing engagement rates can do for you - they will reveal if an influencer has paid for followers. If an influencer has 20K followers, but they're engagement rate is .04% ... those aren't real followers. You can normally figure this out by tapping on a couple of their posts. The like and comment numbers will be very low, not matching the followers number.
Also, be on the look out for fake engagement. Yup ... there is so much fake to watch out for. If all of the likes and comments are from accounts with usernames like "@afg000324" that lack profile pictures, those aren't real comments. Another form of fake engagement is a bunch of influencers joining an "engagement pod" where they all comment on each others posts to up each other's engagement rates. If none of the comments are from people who look like they could be your potential customers, this is NOT the influencer for you or your brand.
How to Find Influencers For Your Niche
First, start by looking through niche hashtags that relate to your brand. If we were looking for an influencer to help us sell our Ultimate Guide to Growth on Instagram, we would start searching through hashtags like #Instagramgrowth2021, #instagramhacks, #instagramtipsandtricks, etc. As you look through users who are active in those hashtags, search through their posts to see if they've done any brand collaborations before, and check out how well they've gone.
By Influencer Marketing Platforms
There are online platforms who make it their job to compile lists of influencers that will match perfectly to your brand. Some of the top platforms are Grin, CreatorIQ, and Upfluence. Influencers will create profiles on these platforms, and you can browse through them. Check out this article from Influencer Marketing Hub about their ranking of top influencer marketing platforms.
By Checking Out Other Brands
Look at other brands that would have a similar budget to yours. What influencers are they working with? Would their influencers be a good fit for your brand? Are influencers tagging that brand in their posts but not getting noticed by that brand? Maybe you could be the one to hire them.
By Checking Out Other Influencers
Accounts in the same niche tend to follow each other, and the same is true for influencers. If you find an influencer you really like, but they simply don't match your brand, check out what other influencers are interacting with their content. Your perfect match might be hiding in the comments section.
The Most Important Characteristic to Look For in An Influencer
The most important thing you need to ensure is that an influencer's followers are made up of your brand's ideal audience. It's really that simple. If your audiences aren't made out of the same types of customers, you aren't going to be a good match. If an influencer has 30K followers, but they're all into heavy metal rock, they're probably not going to buy your pastel sunglasses if that influencer posts about them.
If you need help wading into the waters of influencer marketing, don't worry - Media A La Carte does that too. Reach out here.