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In my opinion, the most crucial part of an influencer program is finding the right partner. According to the Small Business Blog, over 37 million global influencers are on Instagram, Tik Tok and YouTube. That’s a lot! Influencer marketing has been around for a decade, and brands and agencies partner with them because they have an uncanny ability to sell. The reason? Authenticity sells.

Studies show that over-the-top advertising no longer moves consumers to purchase, and brands are becoming more strategic in advertising efforts. So, if you’re thinking, maybe it’s time to get started, but you need to know where to start, that’s easy. Look at your next campaign.

The last blog discussed that influencer plans should always be tied to your overall business strategy and whether you seek awareness or conversions. Once you know, choosing the right influencer for your campaign will be easier. Let’s break down the three categories you should focus on when selecting an influencer.

The first priority should always be the influencer’s niche, or focus, if you will. Basically, what kind of content does the influencer create? How does the influencer label themselves? For example, “mommy bloggers” hold an overwhelming share of influencer content across social media platforms. These content creators are well-known for giving mothers advice on how to raise children through their own experiences. The influencer niches are endless: fitness, foodies, fashion, automotive, sports and so much more.

Before partnering with an influencer, ensure they are the right fit for your brand. For example, it would not be wise to contract a fashion-forward influencer for a campaign with your automotive brand client. Now if you can show me how an influencer styling a floral maxi dress complemented by Tory Burch sandals can drive customers in-store for a 25% off brake repair promotion, I am all ears.

Ask yourself how this influencer represents the brand’s purpose, core values, vision, etc. Also, consider how long an influencer has been in the influencer marketing business; I am sure you already know that the more experience, the better. Sorry newbies.

Now we come to the age-old question among social media marketers globally. What is better, reach or engagement? Well, it depends on the goal of your campaign. For instance, if your campaign focuses on awareness (gaining new customers), you may want to partner with an influencer with a higher following. Conversely, engagement may be more important to you if your campaign focuses on creating excitement for a product; you could end up partnering with an influencer with a smaller following.

You may be surprised that influencers with a lower following have higher engagement rates, and influencers with a higher following generally have lower engagement rates. Why? Well, imagine how hard it must be to interact with thousands of accounts whenever you post. And remember, just because an influencer says I have “x” number of followers does not mean it is true. One simple click on their followers’ page could show that most are bots.

Finally, let’s talk about diversity. A scary word for some brands but a winning formula for others. A little off-topic, but when I was a kid, my dream was to become a sports reporter. The ignition for my dream was the late, great Stuart Scott, who passed away from appendiceal cancer in early 2015. Growing up, he was one of the only African-American men I remember seeing on SportsCenter. His catchphrases and the way he described sporting events were one-of-a-kind. All he needed was an opportunity, and now many sports reporters today use some of the same slogans that made him famous.

I mention this anecdote to affirm consumers want to see themselves in your brand. According to Statista, 61 percent of Americans believe that diversity in advertising is essential. Let me be frank, representation is not just about race; it includes gender, age, disabilities, and so much more. Intelligent brands recognize this and use diversity to their advantage – not to check a box but to understand all sides of the human experience.

Stay tuned for the third installment of our Citrus influencer blogs. But you don’t have to wait until then if you’re ready to start now. Just reach out to us today.