If you’ve looked at Instagram’s Discover page any time in the past 12 months, you’ve probably seen at least one influencer promoting a product or brand to their followers. If you’re like me, you might’ve even made a few purchases based on the recommendations of these trusted sources.

But Instagram isn’t the only platform where you’ll find influencers promoting products. Check out YouTube, Facebook, Twitter – even Tik Tok – for influencers of all kinds promoting things like beauty products, car parts, restaurants, vacation destinations and everything in between.

There are tons of benefits from leveraging influencer partnerships to further promote your brand, the biggest of which is the credibility from the endorsement of an industry “expert.” But how do you go about finding an influencer that will make the biggest impact for your brand?

Step One: Understanding your audience

Depending on what type of audience you’re trying to reach – hyperlocal for your small business or national for your corporate brand – the influencer partnerships you look for will vary. By understanding who your audience is, where they’re located and what types of influencers they’re likely already following, you can meet them where they are.

This takes a lot of research, but it’s well worth it to fully understand your audience and vet potential partnerships. You need to ensure that the messaging will be well received by the influencers’ and your existing followers while being consistent with your brand tone.

Step Two: Types of influencers

Influencer partnerships will vary from brand to brand based on their current and desired audiences and overall partnership goals. Categorizing influencers based on number of followers, location, audience type and more will help you better understand which partnerships will be most beneficial.

  • Nano-influencers: Under 10,000 followers; niche location and topic
  • Micro-influencers: Between 10,000 and 200,000 followers; regional location and themed topics
  • Macro-influencers: More than 200,000 followers; national location and broad topics

For regional brands trying to reach users outside of their immediate location, partnering with micro-influencers might be the best course of action. Take Ironworks Hotel Indy, for example. As a boutique hotel located in Indianapolis, partnering with nano- or micro-influencers based in Chicago, Cincinnati and St. Louis allows the hotel to engage with audiences outside of the Indianapolis market while earning credibility among Circle City visitors as a “must-stay.”

Step Three: Focus on the KPIs that matter most

Now that Instagram has done away with publicly viewing likes, it’s becoming more difficult for brands to vet influencers based on their level of engagement. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!

Take into account the number of comments received on each post. Or, even better, reach out to an influencer directly and ask for their Instagram feed and Stories engagement rates. Influencers are in the business of promoting themselves, so if they’re interested in partnering with your brand, they’ll want to share as much as they can to leave a good impression. The same goes for YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and any other channel where influencers are active.

Additional things to keep in mind when seeking brand partnerships are the overall aesthetic of their profile, the quality of their content, their tone of voice and the sentiment they receive from their followers. All of these factors will play into the success of a potential partnership.

Step Four: Outline your expectations

Are you hoping for an increase in visits to your profile? Make sure the influencer tags your account in both the photo and the caption. Are you trying to get more website views? Consider leveraging the “swipe up” feature in their Instagram Story.

No matter what your endgame is, it’s important to outline the expectations for a successful partnership before signing on the dotted line. These can include the timeline of the partnership, preferred messaging, number of and types of posts, and more.

Hoping to leverage influencers in your 2020 social media strategy? We can help!