Yes—you, me and the entire city of Calabasas have the power to influence how others behave*. And while the term influencer carries a degree of better-than-thou-ness, the truth is that the free market of social media all but neutralizes it. Each and every one of us with a social media presence can wield the power of persuasion, whether that means squashing a parent’s political posts, Boomeranging a slurp session at a new noodle house or placing a (sponsored) water bottle near a (sponsored) yoga mat. Multiply this by an estimated 2.62 billion social media users worldwide, and you have both a blessing and a curse for brands. Sheer volume alone makes courting an influencer a herculean task.
So, how does a brand select and woo the right influencer? When I formerly served as a director of social media, I always began the selection process with a simple question: what are we hoping to achieve? Because if a brand lacks a goal and just wants a name, there’s no end game; plus, why court a Bieber or a Beyoncé—and spend beaucoup bucks—unless he or she can help you meet a specific goal?
So, first thing’s first—get clear on your goal. Need more content? Find a vlogger whose videos are syndication gold, and then promote the heck out of them—they’ll get more eyes and your feeds will overflow (#winwin). Want to up your Instagram followers? Court a ‘grammer whose taste and photographic eye complement yours, and who has a loyal following. (Notice I said loyal, not large—often the sweet spot for brands is somewhere between quaint and massive.)
And sometimes, just sometimes, a partnership needs little more than a how-do-you-do before the magic happens. Case in point: a recent giveaway co-hosted by HGTV star Brian Patrick Flynn and our client Trex®. Not only does Brian speak the same home-improvement language as Trex, but he’s insanely savvy in the social space. (Have a look at his IG stories.) So simpatico was this pairing that all Trex had to do was share the campaign hook, along with a timetable of deliverables, and then get out of Brian’s way. Why? Because he was the expert—the native—in this space. And while the partnership felt right from go, it also produced stellar results for Trex, including over 1200 email captures, a 14% lift in Instagram followers and 127,000 impressions.
With outcomes like this, it’s not surprising brands are relying more and more on influencer marketing, and with loftier aims. I mean, there are two billion others who they’ve yet to meet—why wouldn’t they court the lot of us? At Karma, our job is to help clients strike a balance between paid and organic tactics, and when and if the time comes to pull in an influencer, explain why kindred trumps a Kardashian.
* With apologies to every parent reading this, this statement has zero bearing on the tiny humans in your home, whose behavior you fail to influence on the regular.
Jen Green is an associate creative director at Karma, who won't name her preferred social media channel out of fear doing so will impact her influence.