How to hire an influencer

It can be challenging to build credibility and trust with your target audience, even without the challenges of a global pandemic. A marketing campaign, email conversation, or social media post alone can’t always create the level of brand awareness necessary to convince prospects to buy from you. 

Many businesses and brands have turned to social media influencers to help win over audience members. Whether they are bloggers, Instagram influencers, or YouTube sensations, these high-profile personalities are playing a larger role in how companies engage with their prospective customers. 

To get results from an influencer marketing campaign, however, you need to know how to find and hire the right influencer to help you meet your marketing goals. For example, do you know the difference between micro-influencers and nano-influencers? 

This article walks you through what you need to do before hiring someone for your influencer marketing program.

Start with influencer marketing goals and targets

To begin your influencer campaign, you need to develop well-defined objectives for your social media marketing program and target audience or buyer personas. These objectives will help you better understand the type of influencer you need.

Decide on the type of influencer  

Clearly pinpointing the objectives for your influencer marketing program will also help you determine the type of influencer you need. Four different types of influencers can help a brand achieve its marketing goals. 

Mega-influencers are the top social media influencers. These are typically celebrities or athletes with a follower count of over 1 million that mostly consists of consumers. They also may be involved in more than one niche. 

Macro-influencers have a smaller — but still significant — follower count between 100,000 and 1 million. They tend to be famous bloggers or YouTube stars who have created viral content or are prolific posters. They have a more niche-focused audience and a high engagement rate. 

A micro-influencer has a much smaller following and no celebrity status. As such, they are less expensive to work with but may deliver a good return on investment due to their perceived authenticity and more personal relationships with their followers.   

Finally, a nano-influencer works strictly with a small, specific community. This type of influencer is ideal for a local business that wants to build brand awareness with the surrounding target audience members. 

Create a short list of influencer candidates

After choosing the type of influencer you think will best serve your brand’s needs, conduct in-depth research on potential influencers to shorten your candidate list. Check out their activity online and study their digital habits by reading their Instagram posts and following them on Twitter. Look for influencers whose audiences and social channels align with the ones you’ve targeted. 

Consider the demographics and psychographics of potential influencers — such as age, gender, profession, location, interests, and motivations — to see if these align with your product or service and brand values. Also, determine their business model and how that furthers your objectives. For example, do they have sponsored posts on their Instagram account? Are they looking for monetary payment, or do they want free products?

Before partnering with an influencer, investigate how they interact with their followers. Beyond the size of their audience or number of followers they list, the quality — of both the influencer and their followers — is what matters. 

Determine whether the influencer responds to comments on their influencer content, how they interact with their followers, and how they handle any difficult conversations. Look at their content creation and writing style, including topics and tone. 

The last factor to consider is how the influencer interacts offline to continue their engagement with followers and their relationships with brands. See what offline events they participate in and whether these align with your company’s efforts. 

Have a price in mind

One of the most challenging aspects of hiring an influencer is determining which one offers the right price for your marketing budget and expected return on investment. Again, research is invaluable. 

Online research should reveal the approximate influencer pricing for various types of campaign participation. The price tends to go up with the influencer’s number of followers. Other factors include the campaign type as well as relationship goals (onetime vs ongoing work, for example).  

Sign a contract with the influencer 

When you’re ready to hire an influencer, it’s important to formalize what could be a beneficial long-term relationship by putting everything in writing and signing a contract. You can use JotForm’s influencer contract template

JotForm’s influencer contract template

This comprehensive contract lists the influencer’s contact information, social media platforms (Snapchat, LinkedIn, etc.), and campaign information. The contract also lists terms and conditions, including payment fees, type of content, copyright, and confidentiality agreements.

Once the contract is in place, your influencer can get to work broadening your audience.

This article is originally published on Aug 13, 2020, and updated on Sep 18, 2020.
AUTHOR
A journalist and digital consultant, John Boitnott has worked for TV, newspapers, radio, and Internet companies for 25 years. He’s written for Inc.com, Fast Company, NBC, Entrepreneur, USA Today, and Business Insider, among others.

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