More and more businesses are venturing into the world of influencer partnerships — and with good reason. Consumers today are likely to look for recommendations about products and services from someone they’re familiar with and trust. The right influencer is uniquely positioned to connect with their followers and get them interested in your business.
However, it’s important to do your due diligence before agreeing to work with an influencer. While the right partnership can boost your business’s bottom line, the wrong one can have disastrous consequences. Below, 12 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust share the steps you need to take before you jump into a partnership with an influencer.
- Check out their previous influencer campaigns.
Ideally, you should partner with an influencer who already uses your product or service, but that’s a luxury not many of us have. So check out their previous campaigns with other brands to see if their personal brand resonates with your company’s image. If you aren’t “vibing,” the partnership won’t feel authentic and won’t bring many results. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
- Ensure their core values reflect yours.
An influencer’s core values must reflect those of the business. When values clash, a disastrous outcome is imminent. Often it’s not what you say but how your customers feel. The influencer’s center of influence should extend core company values for exponential success. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management
- Seek target audience alignment.
One important piece to look at before partnering with an influencer is ensuring their target audience aligns with your target market. Dig into everything from location to demographic data. Do your research and choose a reputable influencer who matches your target audience, because there is a higher chance of conversions, which is the end goal. – Scott Scully, Abstrakt Marketing Group
- Perform a deep background check.
When choosing the right influencer, performing deep background checks is important, as is putting together a contract with the influencer to determine what key performance indicators they agree to deliver on. Using an influencer agency can be helpful, as that agency can conduct background checks and vetting and would manage the influencer to ensure accountability. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising
- Examine their following and engagement.
Before partnering with an influencer, do your due diligence to find out what their following and engagement looks like. Always see what brands and companies they are promoting. If those are in alignment with your business and the clientele they are attracting is similar, that person is a strong candidate for your influencer marketing campaign. – Amber Duncan, Jackie
- Look for quality over quantity.
Quality matters more than quantity. Find influencers who focus on quality content and not just a “pay to play” approach. Hundreds of thousands of followers may not be indicative of quality. The best influencers are also willing to do a contract that aligns the brand objectives with what the influencer is willing to provide, such as numbers of posts, social platforms used and the timeline for posting. – Hinda Mitchell, Inspire PR Group
- Have a specific goal and a measurable ROI.
Get super clear on your goals, and then ask about past results with similar brands or partnerships. Launching an influencer partnership because “everyone is doing it” is a terrible reason. You should have a specific goal and a measurable ROI to discuss with potential partners before you enter into any kind of partnership. – Brittany Hodak, Brittany Hodak
- Review their performance data.
Assuming we can agree on their values and that their content and personality align with our business, we want an influencer to be able to do what they say they are going to do and to also track the effectiveness of what they do. Ideally, we want to see numbers, data and results from past campaigns so we can see that an influencer can really drive clicks and sales, not just post a pretty picture. – Greg Rollett, Ambitious Media Group
- Ensure a cultural fit.
It is critical that the people representing your organization are culturally aligned with your values. Nothing can be more disastrous than having someone representing your brand who publicly espouses a very different culture than what you as a business leader have worked so hard to create. As in everything, cultural alignment is key. – Jonathan Keyser, Keyser
- Check references.
Check the validity of your potential influencer partnership by asking for examples of similar work and checking their references. Make sure they understand your goals and have expertise in your specific industry. Hiring an influencer without this specific expertise or an unfavorable reputation can create more problems than solutions. – Jim Jacobi, Parkland Communities, Inc.
- Go deep into their social media accounts.
Do they partner with just anyone or are they selective? Does their audience appreciate those partnerships? Just because someone has a good following does not mean they are a good partner. We find a better return with influencers who have smaller, more focused followings than with those who have large, diluted followings. – Lee Caraher, Double Forte
- Ask yourself whether they represent your company well.
At the end of the day, it’s marketing/advertising. Ask this simple question to validate: Does this person represent who you are as a company and your principles? – Gene Yoo, Resecurity, Inc.