From Kim Kardashian to my cats, everyone is an influencer, but how do you determine the right influencer partners for your brand? Start by defining your campaign goals – are you looking for awareness, affinity, actions? Do you need to build trust or convey difficult messaging? Determine which type of influencer you need before you start looking at individual names and this will keep you focused on your campaign goals and guide your selection process.
Influential at what? The word “influencer” has become a vague catchall as the industry scrambles to find a cohesive term people will identify with in a rapidly evolving social media landscape. But there are many types of influencers. On the grand scale there are Traditional and Digital, and we delineate further under each one. *
- Traditional Influencers – These are the influencers we have seen for many decades: Experts (professionals in their field) and Celebrities (famous through film, TV, music etc.)
- Digital Influencers – These are the talent that launched their career on social media, and grew from there. While there are numerous names for the various tiers, for simplicity sake, (and because “nano” and “power-middle” make my eye twitch) let’s break Digital Influencers into three buckets: Top-Tier, Mid-Tier, Micro.
Each type of influencer brings a different set of potential attributes to your brand partnership, and there are, of course, pros and cons and nuances that go along with each, but here is a quick overview to help keep your team aligned on the types of influencers that will likely perform best given your goals and your budgets.
EXPERTS – Need to gain your audience’s trust?
- Pros: Experts with authority on the key messages you are trying to communicate lend credibility to your brand
- Cons: They may not be great at creating content, or have a substantial social media following on their own
- Best Practices: Leverage them for their credibility and share the content you have co-created on your brand’s channels, being sure to boost views with ample paid media
CELEBRITIES – Need to get broad awareness or buzz around a product or service?
- Pros: Substantial reach and name cachet
- Cons: Expensive and may not be great at creating authentic, brand integrated content
- Best Practices: Ensure your brand messaging is in line with their content and conversations, and be sure your initial offer to them is buttoned up (more on this later)
TOP-TIER DIGITAL – Want to be integrated into the content people are seeking out?
- Pros: Great at creating engaging custom content, often create longer form video which can communicate more information or deliver key messages thoroughly
- Cons: Costs can be high, and for campaigns to perform best you need to let talent drive the creative process
- Best Practices: Find past content they have created that has a similar tone to your ideal content, highlight the pieces you love, and let them have creative freedom
MICRO-INFLUENCERS – Need custom assets at scale? Want to test multiple key messages?
- Pros: Custom text and image assets created quickly at scale, niche audiences
- Cons: Smaller reach, some content quality and channel quality may vary
- Best Practices: Leverage multiple micro-influencers to create large numbers of assets, testing different key messages, share on brand’s channels and boost with paid media
As there are many nuances, stay tuned for upcoming deep dives expanding on the pros, cons, and best practices for each type of potential influencer partner in much more detail. Or reach out with your brand’s specific questions!
*Keep in Mind: While there is definitely crossover between traditional celebrities building large social followings, and top-tier digital influencers crossing over to be on film and TV, for the most part, those famous for being actors are not necessarily going to be excellent content creators for your brand (though some can afford teams to help with this), and those digital influencers known for brilliantly creating new custom videos capitalizing on their own antics, expertise or personalities, often fall flat when you hand them a script. For this reason, keeping the traditional vs digital delineation often helps determine the right type for your specific activation.
Photo by Nastya Gepp