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How to Identify the Right Influencer Partners

Jun 30, 2020
Written by Gabrielle Pajer

Choosing an influencer to collaborate with goes far beyond the number of followers they have on social media.

A certain level of time, research, and dedication is required to find the right match for your brand. You’re looking for that special someone that not only resonates with their audience and the community they’ve built, but more importantly, your brand values. So…where to start? Here are some tips on how to identify the right influencer partners:

Get Content Certified

In the CJ Affiliate network, Content Certification is your best friend to access a pool of high-quality, vetted influencers and content publishers that are active in the affiliate channel. This automated tool will push out a designated content program term to influencers that fall within your vertical to make it easier for them to join your affiliate program. From there, review pending publishers and joined content certified partners via the CJ Dashboard to find those you want to optimize with. Looking to get content certified? Reach out to Martina or your CJ team for next steps. 

Take the Time to Poke Around

Although most influencers will turn down a partnership outright if they don’t think it’s the right fit, a mismatched partnership can lead to lackluster results. Start by checking out their site’s About Me section. Search their site for your brand name, keywords, and competitors. Set aside some time to skim social feeds and blogs for better alignment on tone of voice and like-minded standards. Willing to invest a bit more time? Create a blog roll or feed through services like Bloglovin’ or Feedly with the influencers that have piqued your interest and actually read their content regularly to get to know them. This can be especially helpful to track for life events that regularly inspire content campaigns but are more difficult to search or filter for—such as getting married, pregnancy or a new baby, buying a house, moving, planning on a big trip, etc. Knowing what’s going on with an influencer or how they can incorporate your brand or product into their content pays off when it’s time to reach out to spark a partnership.

Pro Tip: Go the extra mile and read the comments to see how their content is being received by their audience.

Look Beyond Follower Numbers

Pay attention to metrics beyond the number of followers. Big names and a large following seem shiny, but they don’t always equate to an audience that listens and responds. A better indicator is to calculate the average engagement rate by taking their follower number and dividing it by the sum of their engagement metrics from the last 5-10 posts i.e. likes, comments, saves, and shares. This will provide a better pulse on how the audience relates to the influencer’s messaging. If this information isn’t visible, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for additional performance insights from their social platforms and blog. Metrics such as average pageviews and time on site will also assist in identifying the right partner.

Consider Influencer Personas

Finally, get familiar with the common influencer tiers to align the right persona to your goals, business needs, and investment level. If your budget allows for it, test a mix of personas to see which fits your brand the best. Here are the three most common influencer personas in CJ’s Content Certified network:

  • Micro Influencers are typically solo bloggers with an audience between 5k-100k. Because they’re smaller and feel more authentic, their audiences tend to have a high trust factor leading to a high engagement rate. Average cost is under $1000. Pro Tip: Because this influencer type is smaller, on the surface engagement may appear low. Take the time to calculate their average engagement rate.

  • Macro Influencers (sometimes called Power Middle) can either be solo bloggers or may work through an agent. Their audience ranges between 100K - 500K on their key social channel. The audience engagement should be moderate to high. In terms of affiliate, they tend to be the highest converter. Average cost is typically $1K - $10K.
  • Mega Influencers are the celebrity taste makers. Most often they will have an agent or team that manages communication and placements. Due to size, engagement may appear high, but engagement rate may be lower. Perfect brand alignment will lead to affiliate revenue. We’ve seen average costs range from $10K - $30K+.

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Although it takes effort to identify the right influencers, authentic partnerships are truly worth it! We hope these tips help you along the way to influencer marketing success.

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