Welcome back to “Influencer Marketing 101,” a series of ongoing posts we’ll be using to take a closer look at the basics of effective influencer marketing campaigns. This week we’ll be focusing on the question of how you identify the best creators for your campaign.

With thousands of potential creators now offering their services to marketers, many of whom charge upwards of six figures for their services, it can be hard to know who’s best. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when trying to identify the right talent:

  • Do your research: Perhaps the best place to start is by getting a sense of who’s talking about the topics that matter to your brand. One great place to look is by investigating the most popular hashtags related to your brand and its key themes. You can use a platform, like Captiv8 Insights, to find out which hashtags are used most when posting about your brand. You can also search a specific hashtag to see which accounts using that tag have the highest number of followers and how much engagement that post is getting. Also, social platforms like Twitter and Instagram (see a sample Instagram search to the right) allow you to see which users are generating the most engaging content.
  • Think beyond the popular topics: Related to the point above, it’s important to get more specific in your creator search so your brand can move beyond the usual catch-all consumer categories like “fashion,” “food” or “travel.” While these topics may be highly relevant, the top creators connected to these topics are often overwhelmed with requests for sponsored posts. Instead, try to dig deeper by thinking about the creators that best align with your company, its products, personality and target audience. A few questions to ask:
    • What’s your brand “tone?” Is it funny? Serious? Authoritative?
    • Are your products visually-driven products like fashion? Are they more technical gadgets that require explanation?
    • What are the “niches” related to your company’s product? For example, rather than just focusing on “travel” or “fashion,” perhaps your product is especially relevant for a sub-group like traveling moms, or women looking for fashionable workout clothing. Knowing the answers  to these questions can help clarify which creators are a good fit.
  • Determine your target audience: Thinking about who you’re trying to target can make a big difference in which types of creators are most appropriate for your brand. Consider factors like your target consumers’ gender, geographic location, income, ethnicity, religion when evaluating if any given creator has the right audience to match. If you’re wondering how to find this type of data, tools like Captiv8’s insights platform can help you easily evaluate demographic details for specific creators.
  • Consider your creators’ performance: Once you’ve managed to track down creators who seem to be a good fit for your brand’s key topics, personality and target audience, you can begin to evaluate their potential success. While there’s a number of different methods to gauge, here are a few suggestions:
    • Reach: perhaps the most obvious measure of an creator’s potential is the size of their audience. How many people might potentially see their mention about your brand?
    • Engagement: you not only want to find an creator with a lot of followers, but someone whose followers also actively respond to their posts. How many comments, likes and shares does the creator’s typical post receive? What percent of their audience is active?
    • Frequency: How often does the creator share content? Some marketing messages will take more than one posting in order to be understood and acted on by an creator’s followers.
    • Authenticity: Do the creator’s followers respect and listen to what they have to say? This measure can sometimes be deceptive, as some of the world’s most “popular” creators often have little impact on the decisions of their followers.
    • “Tier 1” vs. “Micro:” Related to the point about authenticity and reach, partnering with a “tier 1” creator with several million followers doesn’t necessarily ensure their followers will be as active in engaging with their content. Instead, so-called “micro creators” with smaller followings (under 500,000) might see higher overall engagement thanks to a more specific content focus and/or more active follower base.
  • Review the numbers: The last, but perhaps most important, step is to actually get some hard numbers to assess the creator’s performance on the metrics above. You’ll want to identify a social measurement tool like Captiv8’s own insights platform to understand the creator’s numbers on metrics like follower counts, top content, engagement and active followers.

Finding a great creator can be hard work. But with the right process and great tools, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In our next installation of the “Influencer Marketing 101” series, we’ll take a closer look at how to create and manage a campaign. Stay tuned…