Sure... (I suppose you could).
Social Media can be a rather incredible platform to gain brand recognition, strengthen your reputation, and increase sales. Make no mistake, there is a science to this madness. There are a host of considerations when determining how best to promote your product, your lifestyle, yourself on social platforms. Our team at SocianSelect promotes client brand awareness through customized Social Influencer campaigns. As the person in charge of our new client development, I often hear the question: “Can’t we just find these Influencers ourselves?”
I love this.
But before I blow the question apart, let me back up and make sure everyone understands what an Influencer is...
Many today are familiar with the term "Influencer." For the sake of those who are unfamiliar, an Influencer can be quickly described as a person on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.,) with a large following (typically over 3,000), strong and consistent engagement, and a knack for delivering quality relevant content to their audience. I generally think this is a suitable summary. Hootsuite wrote a nice one-liner in an article I just read: “An Influencer is quite simply someone who carries influence over others," not a human that is just looking for free stuff –– that's a mooch.
Let’s now go back to that question I hear so often from potential clients: “Can’t we just find these Influencers ourselves?”
Where to begin?
First––in way of attempting to be very neutral––yes, you can. And although I would encourage any brand to take advantage of the power of Influencer marketing (even without an agency like SocianSelect), I can almost guarantee you won’t be able to do this for very long. There are many types of Influencers; macro and micro, metropolitan and country, writers and photographers, etc. Every brand requires a highly customized mix of Influencers or else risks failing to reach its best audience. Indeed, it takes a truly exhaustive recruitment effort to match brands with the correct Influencers.
Those who don't agree aren't providing an effective service to the brands they work with.
There is much that goes into finding the right Influencer for a brand. Even if you are able to successfully identify an Influencer who you think may be right for you, there are still several important (and often time-consuming) steps to take:
In reality, these steps will only just begin your journey. Be prepared to closely manage your Influencer's content, time the postings correctly for your market (there is a science to this), edit captions and hashtags, pay each at the proper time, send samples to their locations, confirm FCC compliance, and navigate the licensing rights established by your contract.
Let’s not even get into the headaches that can occur when an Influencer drifts on their schedule and you have to work at reeling them in for a deadline... some Influencers are of a rather 'fun and carefree' breed (this is OK too—we love you for that).
Our team conducts live interviews with Influencers; we carefully study their feeds, examine their circle of influence, assess the relevance of their following to a given brand, and perform an in-depth analysis of their performance numbers over time. The list only goes on when it comes to determining relevance, reach, and resonance. We dedicate a considerable amount of time and expertise to weeding-out poor Influencers. Ultimately, we're searching for that top 10% who are truly superior marketers and who understand how important they are to a brand's image.
The thought and effort put into finding suitable Influencers for your brand takes time. The effort then put into managing these Influencers and their content takes even more time. Whenever you consider launching a social media campaign of any kind, this is a highly important consideration.
My question to potential clients who consider launching an Influencer campaign on their own is: "how much time do you have on your hands?" Time kills companies –– and it kills a small brand even more quickly. Eventually (indeed rather quickly) you can run out of both time and money. Time in the business world is our most precious asset. It will make or break your business. If you're already interested in the overwhelming benefits of an Influencer campaign, why not partner with an expert agency such as SocianSelect? We put the time back in your hands, and we do it within your individual monthly budget.
So for the question...
"Can't we just find these Influencers ourselves?"
My answer: I suppose you can, but only if you're willing to spend the time, money, and other valuable resources (like brainpower/expertise) necessary to do it well.