I’ll have what she’s having. It’s the immortal line from When Harry Met Sally and still taps into a basic human desire not to miss out on anything good. Bloggers, vloggers, gurus, experts, influencers – whatever you call them, they’re important for this reason. They have convinced a community of people that they are worth listening to because they never miss a good thing. This type of online marketing has huge potential for brands, but isn’t always easy  to get right… and to keep legal, but more of that later.

So what are ‘influencers’? Someone who has an ‘in’ with your target audience and can boost your content and brand by association. More than that, they’re passionate people, who believe in their content. Here’s what you should look for when thinking about working with an influencer:

  • Someone who already openly supports your brand. This makes it easier to start building a genuine relationship
  • A good content creator that suits your style
  • A significant social reach – not necessarily large, but one that’s right for what you want to achieve
  • Other brand affiliations – do they work with a competitor? Would a paid advertorial stick out like a sore thumb amongst their other content?
  • Do they share your brand values and appeal to your target audience?

As much as you’ll be looking for the right influencer, they’ll be looking for the right brand too. Here’s what they’ll look for:

  • Longevity and consistency – will you be offering them a one off deal or is there potential for the collaboration to continue?
  • Exclusive content – if it’s a product that has been sent to 50 other bloggers, it won’t be as appealing
  • If the content you are asking them to produce is relevant, engaging and rewarding for their readers
  • Clear communication – a laid out contract with expectations on both sides and an agreement on payment.

Once you’ve found the perfect influencer for your brand, there are some important things you need to do next:

  • The influencer will be part of a community – a community that talks. So make sure your first approach is the right approach. Work on your tone, style and offering. Be unique. A standard email that’s clearly been forwarded to an address list just won’t do. Remember the influencer has the luxury of being selective about who they work with
  • It’s a value exchange. If you’re giving them access to exclusive, behind-the-scenes or new content, it’ll be more valuable to their audience. What you pay for will be what you get
  • Don’t be rigid about what you want from them. They’re an influencer for a reason, so trust what they suggest, they know their audience best
  • In the 21st century, paperwork still has a value. Any commercial relationship should be put in writing. Make sure it’s clear what is expected on your part and on theirs. Discuss timelines so they can ensure they get timings right and don’t be afraid to discuss money. The budget should be clear so you both know what you’re getting.

And now for the legal bit. Paid commercial content must be labelled that way. Not disclosing paid commercial content is against the law. Shockingly, a study has found six in 10 marketing and PR professionals admit to flouting the UK’s official code around influencer marketing. And any influencer worth their salt won’t put up with that.

Get influencer marketing right, let 24 fingers find your brand’s perfect blogging or vlogging partner.

Featured image source: http://ow.ly/4nnrXc