The goal of marketing for any company or brand is to convince the public of why it makes sense to buy their product or use what they produce. While having high quality materials and good workmanship is important when trying to sell a product, getting the right people to promote your brand is going to get you noticed that much more.

The people who will be able to help you build trust with your audience the most are the influencers who they follow for advice and recommendations about everyday life decisions. Influencers are people who have mastered the artful skill of social media and thus, have grown their platforms to the point where they can instill their beliefs amongst a very large and ever expanding population of consumers and followers. It is for this reason that it would smart of brand leaders to tap into this empire of social media marketing that has already proven to be an extremely successful business model for many companies old and new.

Before diving into the world of influencer marketing, it is important to understand exactly how influencers help brands attract business. Most influencers occupy a certain niche on social media, meaning they promote a specific aspect of their life or a specific hobby they partake in. Some influencers devote their Instagram pages to fashion, some lifestyle and fitness, and others music and art. Let’s use music as an example of how a brand could attract business from their influencer’s success.

Say there is an Influencer who is a musician and runs an Instagram promoting their music career. This Musician Influencer has hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram who are devoted fans of their work and feel passionate about their musical career being a success. Since their followers have seen them grow in their talents and abilities over the years, these fans are likely to trust their recommendations about the products they use.

This is where brands come in. Even if you are not a company selling a product related to music, you can still use this influencer’s platform as a way to get your brand noticed by all their devoted followers. There have been countless occasions where musicians have been contacted by clothing companies, car companies, or vacation resorts to simply mention them in a post. Just talking highly of these brands in one or two posts has been shown to bring exponential amounts of traffic to the company’s sites without having to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on huge marketing campaigns.

Just to drive home this point even further, let’s explore an actual influencer marketing campaign done by the phone carrier Sprint with musician Jay Z. Sprint partnered with Jay Z on the launch of his newest album 4:44 and offered free access to it on Tidal. This campaign known as #LiveUnlimited also partnered with many other famous and influential musicians in order to appeal to the millennial demographic. Companies are coming to realize that if they want to appeal to young consumers, they need to draw them in with their favorite musicians and artists because these are the people they relate to and look up to.

Another reason why traditional ads are becoming obsolete in the new era of social media stardom is due to the fact that more and more, we are given the option to block commercials and ads out of our TV shows and social media apps. This is proven by the statistic that 47% of online consumers use ad blockers to keep their feeds free of irrelevant commercials. This explains why a recent survey showed that 84% of marketers plan on using influencer marketing campaigns within the next 12 months. It is a way for companies to promote their brand without even making their target audience aware of it.

When deciding which influencers to approach for your campaign, there are some key factors to keep in mind.

Relevance

Before you choose just any popular influencer who seems to have a lot of followers on social media, it is important to take a look at how relevant their content is to your company and your campaign. If your company is trying to attract young consumers interested in current music and trends, you would be better off finding a popular indie band to be your influencer rather than a recipe blogger.

Reach

While getting fixated on numbers can be distracting and frustrating at times, looking for influencers with a large base of followers will help spread your brand name that much more effectively. In general, whether someone has 120k followers versus 130k followers won’t make all that much of a difference. But if you can find someone to represent you who has followers in the thousands rather than the hundreds, than going for the person with more followers will increase the success of your marketing campaign. It may also be beneficial to see how active the influencer is on other social media platforms in order to get a full picture of how far their reach extends.

Engagement

This metric will help you figure out just how much the influencer’s audience interacts with them and how engaged they are in communication. Finding influencers whose followers are eager to comment and like their posts will bode well for your marketing campaign since it means that these followers are ready and willing to see what you have to offer. The stronger the relationship between the influencer and their followers, the more likely they are to view and react to the content of their posts.

Frequency

For many influencers, the amount and frequency in which they post is correlated with the number of followers they have. When social media users see that someone they follow is consistently posting good content, they are more likely to stay interested and even come to anticipate their posts daily. This expectation keeps viewers biting at the bit for the next post, and if that next post features your brand, then all the thousands of followers this influencer has will be sure to see and take note.

Authenticity

While authenticity and branding doesn’t always seem to go hand in hand, it is actually a very important aspect of many influencer’s success. Their followers want to feel like they know them and their authentic story. Simply posting obvious advertisements for endorsements time and time again will be a guaranteed way to lose followers. Influencers who are honest and open with their followers are more likely to build strong relationships with lifelong fans who will take their recommendations to heart.

Choosing the right influencer for your company requires you to figure out your niche, which audience you want to target, and how you want your brand to be viewed by the public. Choose an influencer who aligns with your company’s image and you are on your way to many successful marketing campaigns to come.