4 Ways to Find Truly Relevant Influencers for Your Marketing Campaigns

Guest post by Lauren Jung of The Shelf.

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This is a guest post by Lauren Jung, co-founder of influencer marketing company The Shelf.

Influencers have very quickly realized that popularity is considered extremely valuable to brands and PR agencies when they’re choosing who to work with. Due to this popularity-based system, some influencers have taken unethical measures to get their follower counts up. The act of buying fake followers is making it even harder for brands and PRs to suss out real popularity. What’s more, if you’re simply using a popularity-based system to find the best bloggers for your campaigns, you’re missing a big piece of the puzzle. Popularity does not necessarily equate to influence. It really just depends on the brand and the influencer at hand.

So, if straight up follower counts aren’t the most accurate judge of influence, what really is?

Ahead I’m offering four tips to suss out the right influencers for any brand campaign.

1. Get creative (and strategic) with your targeting

In the blogosphere, we’re seeing a huge trend toward lifestyle bloggers that focus on more widespread topics, and exert influence over so many different types of people. This versatility in content opens the doors to so many brand collaboration opportunities. Take HP, for example. As a tech company, you’d expect them to engage tech influencers to review their product and really get the word out. The only problem is that tech blogs are so saturated with competitive products, so HP wouldn’t really stand out. And, in all honesty, these sites are primarily attracting tech junkies that analyze these products all day long, with no intention of purchasing.

In many cases, especially this one, it doesn’t hurt to get a little creative (and strategic) with your targeting. So, HP did just that. They vetted up-and-coming pop star, Meghan Trainor for a #BendTheRules campaign and used her influential fanbase to produce a documentary during her tour. Social media influencers were also vetted to capture behind the scenes and share the campaign with their followers. The influencers involved in the campaign used the X360 to create content for their fans, with their own spin on it, thus positioning it as an incredibly creative tool.

HP also worked with fashion influencers to showcase how helpful their products are for blogging. One blogger, Hollyhoque, shows her readers how helpful the HP laptop is, and suddenly the perception of the brand alters from geeky to cool in minutes. Not bad for an influencer marketing campaign, right?

So, while you might have tunnel vision when it comes to who influences your customers, just remember that it’s all about the characteristics that define your audience, not what you’re selling.

2. Be open-minded when it comes to follower counts

So, I prefaced this post by advising you not to pay too much attention to popularity when choosing your influencers. And while I meant it wholeheartedly, there’s one important catch: having a following is still very important. If there’s no audience to reach, then you might be barking up the wrong tree (or influencer, in this case). What I DO recommend though is being more open to follower counts and how that may vary across social channels and influencers.

Through my own experience, I’ve noticed that the majority of bloggers only focus on one or two social networks, while letting the rest fall to the wayside. It’s extremely tiresome to keep up with six social networks, on top of a successful blog, when those efforts could be better spent focusing on one or two networks that bring in the most bang for their (or their sponsor’s) buck. What’s more, many bloggers specialize and are highly influential on one particular channel, and this is where you’ll most want to utilize them.