You Can’t Just “Find” Influencers

In our line of business, we’re always motivated to build a list of influencers to match up with certain brands to help us create campaigns to go with those brands. But, every time we sit down to brainstorm, our Influencer manager always says the same thing to bring us back down to Earth:

“Guys, you can’t just FIND influencers.”

Hearing this several times a week can get frustrating, but she DOES make a point. And so, in order to find the right influencer, I asked her exactly what it entails to ensure you’re collaborating with someone right for your brand, objective and who will help bring you the best results.

Identify the brand, and choose a starting point

The first thing you have to do when you’re looking for an influencer is to understand who exactly you’re looking for. Are you promoting a pet service? Food? A lifestyle brand that caters itself to a unique item like glasses? A travel company? Whatever the brand is, remember that there’s an influencer available – they just have to make sense. In any of these cases, your influencer will have to have something in common with the brand: they wear glasses, they have a dog, they travel a lot, they’re young, they have pretty hair – but matching influencers’ personalities with a brand keeps it honest, and makes for better, more authentic content. Start off with details as simple as gender, age, profession and any special qualities they might have that would superficially go with your brand.

Define the objective

What do you need your influencers for? The obvious answer is that at the finish line, you want your brand to become a household name where people are buying from it consistently. But, how would one achieve this goal? Do you want to create brand awareness with an influencer? Would you like to build a community? Are you trying to generate leads and sales from what you’re doing, or would you like to increase followers and boost engagement? Every one of these details is at least minimally unique, but each difference MAKES a difference. No two objectives are in any way, shape or form the same thing and won’t bring you the same results.

What will be the physical deliverables of your campaign?

What is your influencer able to do for your campaign? You should first determine the amount of content you’ll want them to publish: two posts and an Instagram story, for example. But, this also is based on your budget and how much room you have for influencer advertising. Also, keep in mind what your influencers’ talents are. Are they comfortable with creating video content? Or are they better at product shots? Are they writers? Could they incorporate a blog post about your brand? Explore and find out to maximize your exposure!

Define the statistics

You need to know EXACTLY who you’re targeting when looking for your target market. How old are they? Where are they located? Which country? Gender? Age? Profession? Get as specific as possible to know who you want to reach and how you’re going to reach them.

After you’ve gathered all this necessary information, then from there, you can locate the proper influencers to match your brand’s needs. This is when you’ll be able to pitch and decide roles like brand ambassadorships, or if you’re going to be using micro or macro influencers. Remember that each type of influencer comes with their pros: Micro can offer a more intimate community to be a part of, whereas macros can get you the maximum recognition for your brand since they have more followers.

This “to do” list certainly helps us in our process, and we hope it does the same for you!

LIKES AIN’T NOTHIN’ BUT A NUMBER

So, you can’t see how many likes you have. What’s changed?

It’s old news by now that Instagram has altered the “like” feature from users’ posts, so that it isn’t obvious at first glance the engagement each post reached from the respective poster’s followers. 
It’s been a couple of weeks since we’ve been living in a world without a visible number of likes. How are we feeling? How are YOU feeling? We personally have opinions on it! And after watching the reactions stirred up since the start of the controversy, we’ve decided to finally put in our two cents over the matter.


We’ve been reading on the subject everywhere, and are finding that many are agreeing with us, that this could be a blessing in disguise. 


So, the real question here is, what’s changed for influencers?
We’re an influencer management agency as well as a digital marketing agency. Of course, our influencers were the first people we thought of when we heard the news that Instagram would be implementing this change. 


But at the same time, we feel that our influencers are impactful enough that this change wouldn’t affect their brands negatively. Because at the end of the day, when they share their content, it should engage people enough to actually ingest it, take it in and appreciate it – not just glance at a number for validation, you get what we mean?


Many are agreeing with our theory, and Instagram users, be they influencers, marketers, or people who use Instagram for non-business or branding purposes are in fact, embracing the change.


“Businesses on Instagram will have to be more creative in analyzing data and get specific about what content is actually driving the business, and supporting your business goals,” explains Mel Brittner, social media strategist at Later. And it isn’t just our influencers who are embracing the change, but others are as well. In fact, according to Global News, Toronto-based influencer Jessica Lam is seeing this as a pleasant plot twist rather than a challenge.


“I create my work for my audience to relate to, be inspired by and engage with. I would hope my audience doesn’t take into consideration about how many ‘likes’ each post gets because it should be my work itself that drives them to ‘like’ or comment on something.”


Think of it as an opportunity to tell stories

Also, we’d like to point out that hidden likes could also prove to be a beneficial tool with exploring Instagram Stories and IGTV! IG stories have the potential to gain more traction than general posts do, and the public can never tell how many people your stories engage anyway (although YOU can always tell!) but also IGTV! 


IGTV is a great way to create more engaging content and gain more followers while promoting your brand. It’s known as the ideal way to get followers and fanbases to feel closer to the person creating content – and yes, there are no records of likes!


So really, what did we ever need likes for?


“Likes were always a false currency, but an easy number to give when asked how content is performing and an easy way to compare, so I think this shift forces businesses to look at what’s actually working.” 


Keep doing you, likes or not – it really doesn’t make a difference. As long as your content is engaging and creative enough, those numbers won’t need to be paraded around throughout your page. It’s all in your followers anyway.