What makes an influencer? A cheat sheet for brands

The Remarkable's Lorraine Murphy reveals her tips on getting the right influencer to represent your client's brand to maximise reach and profits.

Influence is the ability of a person, brand or organisation to affect the behaviour of an individual.

In the digital world, this influence is created via content created and distributed online. We all have influences in our lives – from our parents to our friends to the workplace we’re in.

Human beings are social animals and our internal representation of the world is built by the people we have contact with every day.

In the past, those influences were made up purely of the people in our physical world; however, technology now allows us to connect with hundreds, even thousands of people online every day – opening up the potential for them to influence us, be it negatively or positively.

kayla_itsines instagram pic waterSo… what makes an influencer?

Authenticity is number one – people are magnetically attracted to someone who knows who they are and what they stand for, and don’t try to be something they’re not.

Relevance is also hugely important – so creating content that is of value to an audience. Thirdly, generating a two-way conversation – having a response from someone they respect transforms someone from a follower into a raving fan, who will advocate for and bring others to that influencer.

The ultimate pitfall for an influencer is letting their audience down – whether that’s by working with a brand that isn’t a good fit for them, misleading them or failing to deliver on something they promised.

stephclairesmith instagram water picWe see the relationship between an influencer and their audience like a bank account – influencers who invest in that relationship over time have more trust capital, which enables them to partner with relevant brands and still retain their audience’s support.

Influencer marketing allows brands permission to enter into the special relationship between the influencer and their follower in an authentic way.

We know from a survey of 11,000 of our influencers’ followers that 78% have used a tip or piece of advice shared by the influencer and that the top reason they follow the influencer is that it “feels like catching up with a friend”.

Harnessing the power of that relationship is incredibly powerful for brands.

The influencer marketing space has evolved at lightning speed in recent years – in the past two years especially – and brands have a broad range of influencers to choose from for campaigns.

Add to that the scope of influencers, from TV celebs to Instagrammers, vloggers to authors, and it’s not a straightforward space.  There are some factors we recommend brands consider when identifying the right influencer for a campaign.

asos instagram iphone screenStats are a key factor of, course; however it’s not all about the size of the audience. It’s important to look at not just the numbers an influencer is attracting but also how engaged that audience is.

An influencer may have 100,000+ followers on Instagram, but that’s of no value if the number of interactions from their followers is low. Are they commenting, liking, sharing?

We see sharing as the key currency of engagement – if a follower is prepared to go beyond a like or comment and actually tag friends into an influencer’s content, that is the ultimate measure of how engaged they are.

The online world is too fickle – and online communities too judgmental – to risk tagging those we respect into content we’re not prepared to stand by.

Professionalism is critical as well. When brands are investing in influencer marketing, they expect a professional service, so it’s important to vet potential influencers by doing some behind-the-scenes research on what they are like to work with before committing to a spend with them.

remarkables dettol case studyThe most important consideration above all of these however is the match between the brand and the influencer. It is absolutely vital to get the right fit between the influencer and the brand from day dot; if that fit isn’t there, then the campaign isn’t going anywhere.

Audiences have a finely-honed BS radar and will not hesitate to call an influencer out on wayward brand partnership. The most successful influencer marketing campaigns we’ve seen all have one hallmark in common – the perfect fit for both the brand and the influencer, which sets them up for exponential success.

Lorraine Murphy is the founder of The Remarkables Group. She is running two events on social media and digital influencers at Vivid Ideas 2016.



Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.