When you select an influencer for a marketing campaign, you assess their reach, niche, reputation, and engagement. While all of these considerations are relevant, you should not overlook the importance of brand compatibility. Find out how to choose an influencer that is right for your business.
Choosing an influencer who is an ideal fit for your brand is a key aspect of a successful influencer campaign. Brands like Current and SKIMS have successfully partnered with the right influencer to drive their brands to new heights.
If you pick someone who does not match your brand, at best, your campaign may not be as effective as you hope. At worst, it could backfire and make your business look bad.
How to Choose an Influencer
Following are some factors to help you assess influencer compatibility so you can follow in the footsteps of Current and SKIMS.
1. The influencer’s values
Perhaps the most important factor to look into is whether an influencer shares your values and those of your target market.
- What the influencer’s values are with respect to your industry.
For example, let’s say you run a company that specializes in making organic snacks. Does the influencer you are thinking of hiring also believe in the importance of organic food?
Perhaps more importantly, are they consistent about the values they espouse? Or do they turn around and eat food they say their followers shouldn’t?
- What the influencer’s social and political views are.
You also do not want to make the mistake of working with an influencer who champions opposing political views. If your company expresses liberal beliefs and values, for instance, you would not want to accidentally align yourself with a far right influencer, or vice versa.
Or, to take another example, let’s say you operate a small business. Maybe the influencer you are interested in often promotes products from big businesses. If keeping things small and local is part of your company’s values, then it may not make sense to hire them.
There are also situations that you probably want to steer clear of altogether, regardless of your industry or your company’s beliefs.
Sometimes unpleasant facts emerge about well-known influencers. Consider what happened earlier this year with lifestyle influencer Elle Darby, for example. Darby stated that she “just hates Polish people and Indians,” and referred to “foreign people” as “meatheads.”
Those statements were actually a decade old. Darby also apologized for them after they made headlines. Nevertheless, as a business, you would not want to find yourself caught up in a situation like this.
So, it is a good idea to research an influencer’s current and past statements and actions. At the very least, try and work with influencers who in the present are a match for your company’s values. But consider avoiding those who may have made problematic comments in the past without apologizing for them as well.
2. The influencer’s aesthetics
Another consideration when choosing an influencer that is an ideal fit for your brand is that person’s aesthetics.
Imagine that your company makes shabby chic home goods. You identify an influencer on Instagram who specializes in home goods. That person has a lot of followers, is in your price range, and does nice work.
You might be thinking to hire them, but there is one problem—their aesthetics completely clash with yours. Everything in their own home environment is sleek, modern and minimalist.
They could have a difficult time even coming up with a suitable image to share with their followers that fits within your company’s aesthetics.
But even if they do, are they the right choice? Not necessarily, as their followers are used to a completely different look and feel. They might have no interest in your products, even if they are beautifully presented with a recommendation from an influencer they respect.
3. The overall voice and personality of the influencer
One more aspect of brand compatibility to think about when hiring an influencer is their voice and personality.
Maybe you have found an influencer who shares your values and aesthetics, has plenty of reach, and fits your budget. But their voice is just not right for your needs.
They could be informal, have an edgy sense of humor, and swear a lot, for instance, while your company tends to keep its language much more formal, polished and professional.
The opposite situation could occur as well. You might have a fun-loving, adventurous tone in your company’s materials, but be considering an influencer who by contrast seems a bit staid.
Working with an influencer with a divergent voice may not always be a disaster, but it could fall flat.
You chose your company’s voice because it resonates with the mindset of your target customer. How do you think that customer will react to messaging from an influencer with a radically different personality?
For that matter, consider the new audience you might reach. At first, they might be intrigued by your products. But then, when they leave the influencer’s page and head to your website or social media page, they may feel alienated by the change in tone.
There is another advantage to choosing an influencer whose voice fits with yours as well, and that is creative freedom.
If there is a big mismatch, you will probably have to restrain the influencer quite a bit in terms of what they say and how they say it.
But if they are a natural fit for your brand, you can hand the reins over to them. The content they produce for you will probably be just what you need, and it may be more creative, unique and authentic than what you would have come up with.
Choosing the Right Influencers Means Identifying Those Aligned With Your Brand
Now you have some things to think about when it is time to choose an influencer that go beyond basic factors like reach, cost and industry.
While values, aesthetics, and voice may all seem like subjective or intangible considerations, they can be vitally important.
When you do find an influencer that is an ideal fit for your brand, you will be able to get the best return on your investment.
You will collaborate to send messages that are aligned with your brand identity and the influencer’s audience. That resonance will help cement your company’s image and bring new customers to your door.