Mar 28, 2022
Characteristics of Effective Influencers
Brands and businesses have come a long way from traditional advertising.
Back in the day, marketing efforts stemmed from hiring the most popular celebrity at the time in hopes that they would be highly profitable. Now, however, brands and businesses have shifted their tactics and focused on individuals with the right following and who can get the word out about their brand or business. Recently, a lot of people have predicted influencer marketing to be a dying trend, especially naysayers who view it as nothing more than a kitschy initiative by the new generation.
On the contrary, however, influencer marketing appears to be thriving—even amid the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, it may even seem that due to the various stay-at-home mandates, audiences were able to engage with influencers more. Some of them have even reported turning to influencers for guidance on the crisis. Influencers, on the other hand, have reported that they have incorporated the crisis into their content, with some of them indicating that the pandemic had brought significant increases in engagement on their Instagram pages.
So, what makes influencer marketing tick? Why should businesses partner with brand influencers? Well, for one, there is a significant difference between a traditional marketing approach and that of an influencer’s approach. The latter tends to be indelible not only during times of normalcy but crises as well. More importantly, brand influencers tend to put out more authentic content and have the necessary expertise to do it. Unlike traditional marketing approaches, influencers have the trustworthiness, communication skills, and passion required to get the job done.
If you are scouting for influencer recruits, below are some of the characteristics you should be on the lookout for:
Influencer marketing is all about authenticity. In fact, you will be hard-pressed to find an article that talks about influencer marketing that does not discuss authenticity—and with good reason. Authenticity is not merely marketing jargon thrown around by influencers to boost their chances of securing a partnership. It is a crucial characteristic among successful and highly influential public figures—influencers included.
While it may be hard to believe, the public and consumers can easily detect insincerity. They would know whether an influencer’s words ring true or not. This is because audiences are generally exposed to commercial messages every single day that they have the right acumen to determine whether what they see or hear is inauthentic or not. Influencers are constantly under public scrutiny and, as such, are subject to criticism, sanctions, and even cancellations. This is also the reason why today’s audiences tend to distrust the media and traditional advertising and, as a result, has amplified the persuasive power of influencers, who they believe to be genuinely authentic.
On that note, if your influencers are as authentic as they say they are, they should be able to practice what they preach. Think of influencers are spokespersons rather than as celebrities. They should be able to convey their trust in your product in such a way that is relatable to their audience.
2.) Expert Content Creation
It does not take much to become an influencer. You do not need training or an advanced degree. However, this does not mean that anyone can just become an influencer and easily attain success. To develop a sizable and authentic following, influencers need to be able to produce unique content that stands out from the millions of content competing for the attention of consumers.
Today’s influencers must possess the necessary expertise to maintain and engage with their loyal audience. To do this, they need to master an array of different disciplines, which includes, but is not limited to, writing, photography, project management, marketing, community management, and so much more. All of these should be synthesized according to their distinct voice and perspective.
Keep in mind that content creation is not always easy or straightforward. It can take anywhere from a few hours to several months, depending on the project. That said, brand content is the result of an influencer’s labor of love. With that in mind, find one that has the necessary expertise to do this for your brand.
3.) Community Management
Apart from cultivating their following and creating content, influencers should be able to foster authentic relationships with their audience. This means responding to their followers’ questions, holding promotions and competitions, managing disagreements—all of which are part of the job.
At the end of the day, influencer marketing is based on the strength of the relationship between the influencer and their followers. Authentic and effective influencers take active roles in their followers’ lives. They do not just let them dominate the comment section without any sort of interaction from them. Instead, they like, clarify, and engage—all of which can lead to fostering a compelling bond.
Apart from authenticity, influencers should be able to keep the trust of their audience. Good influencers are aware of this, and they know that Trust guides a consumer’s decision. In fact, it has been reported that consumers said that they need to be able to trust brands to do what is right.
Trust is not only integral in an influencer-audience relationship. It is paramount in extending the relationship between the brand and influencer as well. Effective influencers should be transparent with their audiences—especially with sponsored content. They should be fair in their product reviews and content and be humble enough to admit their mistakes. All of these mean that influencers should selectively approach sponsors who are the right fit for their audiences and their needs. If they fail in doing this, they will break their audience’s Trust, and this can be pretty damaging to their career as well as your brand.
Authenticity is essential, but passion is paramount. And like authenticity, passion is not something you can manufacture.
Followers see influencers as aspirational role models—regardless of what their pursuits are. Audiences watch them because they see them as relatable individuals who are able to pursue their dreams and indulge in their creativity. It is for this reason that passion, excitement, and creativity are vital characteristics in making an influencer succeed. A follower’s passion should not only be evident, but it should also be infectious and persuasive as well. Followers who are watching them get to learn more about their passion, follow along each step of the way, ask questions, share their story and even receive encouragement from the influencer themselves.
Highly effective influencers can communicate this passion in sponsored content, as well as original content. However, keep in mind that this passion needs to go both ways: their followers and brand partners. If influencers did not truly love what they do, influencers would not find them. Without a genuine interest in a brand’s products, their campaigns would not be effective and would not benefit from persuasive amplification.
On the surface, influencer marketing may appear to be effortless and easy. While it is not always the case, it can be if it is done right. To the followers, influencer relationships should be reassuring, aspirational, and intuitive. To the brand, however, the relationship should be able to reel in new audiences who are excited to know more about your business.