Influencer Marketing 2020: First, Know Your Audience

Brands are keen on growing partnerships with influencers, but where to start? An influencer is an extension of your brand and its values, so careful research and consideration must occur before a partnership is forged.

“The Culture of Influence,” a recent report, uncovered an interesting tidbit about Gen Z and Millennials, an audience covered by marketers: Their list of influencers whom they follow is small and highly curated.

Gen Z and millennials are extremely active in the influencer space, but the average number of influencers any one person follows is only five. This number is small, but the influence is high.

These cohorts are not casting a wide net of influencers to follow. A small group of like-minded, conscious influencers give followers a one-to-one connection and intimacy that feels more like a friendship than a sales pitch.

This circles back to the importance of brands truly knowing their target audience. When your target audience only follows a handful of influencers, that winnows the opportunities for brands to reach their customers. That’s a finite number of people. Brands must be laser-confident on whom they are targeting and who to partner with to make this connection.

Finding the right influencer partner sounds simple, but it must be done right. Influencers should be kind, socially conscious, make their followers happy, and be someone you’d enjoy hanging out with socially. This is a person that will simultaneously speak to an audience you wish to capture and become an extension of your brand. Youth trust influencers who represent their identities and stand for the same values; the best influencers are those who feel like a friend.

Something more than a quick Google search and a look at an influencer’s posts for the past month is necessary to determine which influencers best match your goals, budget and audience. Companies as BuzzSumo and iFluenz can help brands vet potential influencer partners.

One way to build consumer trust is forming a long-term partnership with an influencer.  This shows mutual trust between brand and influencer.

This can be a more challenging task for brands than influencers. Brands want to maintain control of their company, their audience and the discussion. When working with influencers, brands need to take a leap of faith — hence the vetting and relinquishing of some control to influencers. It’s a gamble that can pay off for companies and influencers with aligned similarities.

Without trust, brands and organizations could get burned. Brands swiftly severed ties with PewDiePie and Logan Paul following separate controversial remarks and posts. And who can forget Fyre Festival?

Brands don’t expect influencers to be perfect; flubs shows they’re human. But a brand must not be associated with hurtful comments or racist remarks. Better to learn about an influencer’s past before jumping into social media bed with them.

Does your brand work with an influencer? How has it impacted purchasing behavior with your audience?

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