What You See May Not Be What You Get
Brands use a variety of methods to identify the creators they want to work with, but relying solely on these methods is not enough to ensure they choose the right one.
Here are some common methods they use to identify creators and some potential pitfalls to keep in mind:
- Social media search: Brands may search for creators on social media platforms, using hashtags, keywords, or location.
This approach may result in a large pool of potential creators, making it difficult to narrow down the choices. More importantly, the larger chunk of insightful conversation by their followers falls outside of the tracked universe of hashtags and keywords to understand their audience.
- Influencer marketing platforms: A popular but somewhat expensive option, which offers a database of creators and tools for discovering and managing campaigns.
The accuracy of the data provided by these platforms vary as most rely on data scraping methods, which social media platforms do their best to block. Plus, they don’t go beyond quantitative metrics like followers, views and likes.
- Referrals or recommendations: Trusting their network, brands may ask other creators, industry experts, or customers for referrals or recommendations.
This approach will likely result in a limited pool of creators, and not all of them may be the right fit for the brand.
- Creator agencies: Vetted, professional, reliable are the adjectives all brands look for in their creator partnerships, so some of them may work with creator agencies for this purpose, which represent a network of creators and offer campaign management services.
Brands are likely to get the best fit with this scenario as they’re outsourcing all of the discovery and vetting process to an outside agency. This also means it can get very expensive, which means this is not even an option for small brands.
While these methods can help brands identify potential creators, they are not enough to ensure they choose the right one.
To choose the right creator for their brands, they need to go beyond surface-level factors like engagement rate, views, shares etc. No one really knows the audience (including the creators themselves) beyond top level gender and location.
Next evolution in influencer marketing will resolve this gap by integrating qualitative filters like audience behavioural segmentation, passion points and more with quants.Yalin Solmaz, Co-founder, Multytude
This is even more important as brands move from one-off creator engagements to longer term partnerships.
One of the best ways of understanding audiences better is getting creators to prompt conversations with their audience and then analysing the comments quickly and accurately.
You have to ask deliberate questions to the audience about; why they like what they like, what they think about the design, the affordability, the competitors, their world view in general, combined with who they are as human beings who live in the real world.
They are your consumers who you target when doing marketing campaigns. Why not try and understand them better directly?
By taking a more nuanced approach to selecting creators by understanding their audiences better, brands can ensure that they partner with creators who are a good fit for their campaign, discover hidden gems (e.g. a self-declared travel creator’s audience may also include a large segment of foodies) and achieve their goals including sales.