In this tech-savvy era, a majority of consumers depend on online reviews and social media content of products and services before giving them a try. Companies often include these features in designing their website to appeal to customers. This skeptical and practical nature of modern consumers who are not just satisfied with the regular “ads” but are in constant search of tried and tested products, has given rise to social media influencers who constantly provide feedback on various brands, products, services, solutions, etc. through various online platforms. These influencers help not only the consumers in making the right decision but also various brands and service providers in engaging with the target audience and generating awareness about their products.

Most of the social media marketing guides now insist on choosing a relevant and engaged influencer. As an social media influencer acts as an online representative of the brand, it becomes essential for a brand to engage with an influencer who understands the brand and strives to maintain its image and reputation in the market. Also, before appointing a social media influencer as a representative, brands must consider the pros and cons of selecting an influencer and whether the influencer will be able to compliment the brand’s values and ethics. Matching values are a starting point for choosing the right social media influencer. The points listed below are the key elements to look out for in an ideal social media influencer will help brands spend money wisely.

Relevance – The most important part of social media marketing is to have a person who can set a niche which is greatly relevant to the brand. A celebrity football player will not be an ideal influencer for a brand which focuses on food items, but a chef or anyone who uses those food items in the kitchen regularly will be an ideal influencer. Brands need to be aware of the fact that their partnership with a relevant social media influencer will significantly affect their target audience. Thus, selecting an influencer with appropriate followers will help marketers in gaining access to the desired audience for promoting their brands.

Before approaching an social media influencer, it is advisable for brands to conduct prior research to understand the influencer’s fortes, type of followers and the type of previous content created. Doing this will simplify the future marketing efforts of the brand and will be helpful in launching successful influencer marketing campaigns.

Reach – While brand awareness and brand visibility still remain the main goal of influencer marketing, it is important to select an influencer who has a large number of followers. The number of followers of an influencer determines how far the social media posts will reach. However, it is important for marketers to understand that the number of followers an influencer attracts is only meaningful if it is reaching the brand’s anticipated target audience.

As a majority of influencers have active accounts on more than one social media platform, it becomes necessary for brands to get knowledge of the analytics and reach of influencers on all platforms. Apart from social media channels, most of the influencers also have their personal blogs. An insight into the follower demographics of these blogs will help marketers understand the overall following of the influencers.

Engagement – The impact at which influencers affect the audience is not only determined by the number of its followers, but by the engagement rate of its active followers. The engagement of an influencer with its followers plays an important role in identifying the right influencer. An ideal influencer is the one who continuously engages with its followers by replying to their queries in the form of comments or personal messages. Influencer engagement can also be understood through the activity of their channels where social media posts the gain attention of followers in the form of likes, comments and shares.

A surprising number of influencers, in order to get quick popularity, gain many thousands of followers overnight, but fail to gain even up to 1000 likes on the average posts. These types of influencers might not have genuine followers and are less likely to help brands in promoting their products in the long run. It is essential for brands to reach out for authentic influencers with higher engagement rates. The legitimacy of genuine influencers is reflected through their account activities, where regardless of just promoting a content, they relate the content to their personal journeys and create stories which appear more credible to the followers. This expertise of reliable influencers where they demonstrate engaging stories while promoting a sponsored content is crucial in increasing engagement rates.

Frequency – In order to make a social media account engaging, it is important to consistently update the account with various posts. This single appearance of influencer posts in consumer’s news feed will gain less attention of consumers towards the website of the content being promoted, as compared to repeated content posted over a time frame of several weeks. The frequency at which an influencer publishes contents help generate traffic from both existing and new followers. When an influencer constantly posts quality content on a daily basis, their followers tend to become more loyal and start looking forward to the latest updates or posts.

Authenticity – For an social media influencer to successfully execute a marketing campaign, it is important to create authentic content which narrates the story of the brand, service or product rather than simply writing long reviews about the sponsored posts. The main motive of marketers using influencers is to promote their brand in a subtle yet effective way. The brands need to be sure that the content posted by influencers does not appear to be scripted or unnatural, as such kind of content will fail to gain the attention of the target audience.

As compared to the traditional print media, TV or radio advertising policies, social media influencers support brands in engaging with the target audience in a much more transparent and effective way. Using the above simple elements, brands of various products and services can benefit by spreading a rapid yet steady awareness amongst it consumers.

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