Influencer Marketing – finding the perfect match

Influencer marketing is a relatively new channel in Kenya, so it’s a challenge for both brands and influencers. Our research found that two thirds of marketers consider finding relevant influencers to be the biggest challenge in influencer marketing. Influencers don’t have a platform for personal branding, which makes the selection process a tedious one.

Although it sounds daunting, the benefits of working with influencers far outweigh the challenges. It’s an opportunity to gain market share by moving first to leverage the power of great content and storytelling.

We’ve come up with a few steps to make the process of finding the right influencer for your brand a little bit easier:

1. Define your objectives
One of the biggest mistakes that happens when choosing an influencer is looking at audience reach as the only measure of influence. Many brands fail to consider things like competency and relevance, so they don’t get the most out of influencer engagement. While celebrity and macro-influencers can give a great initial push, micro influencers are great for amplification, conversations and positive brand mentions. They are content creators and they know how to engage audiences. But they may not be fluent in digital jargon and KPI’s such as cost-per-click. So, while brands need these digital benchmarks to show success, it would make sense to include some qualitative measurements too. Identify your campaign goals, but make sure to include metrics that focus on the influencers’ strengths – engagement, creating content and time spent with the brand.

2. Understand the context
We seek out influencers because they’re specialized in a specific subject area or category. But great content and high engagement rates don’t matter if it’s outside your brand’s scope. Mapping out the context that’s relevant to your brand will help you find an influencer with the audience that you are targeting. There are standard categories like food, fashion and gadgets, but you need more detailed criteria to find the strongest match. At Tandem, we classify influencers into categories based on three factors: reach, relevance and resonance.

3. Find the story
The trick with influencer marketing is to make the content seem as authentic as possible. Brands often make the mistake of producing their own content and using influencers as a distribution channel. Research shows that sponsored content works, but as soon as savvy customers smell a whiff of “ad” they get suspicious. Influencers are most effective when they develop content in a style that resonates with their followers. It’s all about finding the balance between the message you want to put out and the content that customers want to see.

4. Research
The most time-consuming part of influencer marketing (if done right) is actually finding the influencer. Influencers can create a positive story around your brand and possibly increase brand preference among your followers. But it won’t work if it seems forced, so take your time and really put some thought into it. Don’t settle for choosing the most popular influencer in a field – dig deeper. Look into the influencer’s platforms, content, tone of voice and overall personality and make sure it fits with your brand.

Bonus tip:
When you’ve shortlisted potential influencers, it might be helpful to share a summary sheet about your brand. You can include things like impressive media content and highlights, insights into your brand’s reach and engagement, and other metrics. This will show that the relationship would be a two-way-street, where you promote the influencer as much as they promote you. It will set the stage for a trusting, mutually beneficial long-term partnership – which is the best kind.

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