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Many people consider influencer marketing to be a new phenomenon born out of the social media age. It’s more accurate to think of it as an evolution of the traditional celebrity endorsement. Only now, our definition of “celebrity” has widened; “followers” is now a measure of fame. Influence marketing is far from a niche or fad advertising technique, in fact two-thirds of North American retailers incorporate it into their strategies. Here are some guidelines to integrate it into yours.

Start with an Audience Deep Dive

What influencers bring to the table are specific audiences that turn to them for specialized content. From restaurant reviews to make up tutorials to travel videos, their content is targeted to very specific demos. Before you start looking for influencers to partner with, be very clear about the age, socioeconomic status, gender, and geography of the people you want to reach, and research what social and digital platforms they are most likely to use.

Use the 3 “R” s; Relevance, Reach, and Resonance

There are three key components you should consider when vetting potential influencers as partners. Relevance refers to what we just discussed: how much their audience aligns with your core or target audience. Reach is their influence. This can be measured through the sheer number of their followers, or the impact their posts have in terms of likes, shares, retweets, etc. Finally, resonance is the quality of their content, and how much it seems to inspire followers to act. This is a little harder to measure, but engagement in the form of comments and interaction on their content is a good clue to help.

Beware Oversaturation

If you’ve found influencers who are relevant to your brand, have good reach, and resonate with their followers, the next thing to do is look at how many sponsors they already have. You don’t want to get lost in a sea of content by an influencer who has a myriad of sponsorships. As you sift through their content, it should be clear if it’s suffering from serving too many masters, so to speak.

Make the Pitch as Personally as Possible

If you’ve found the influencer that’s right for you, be cognizant of the fact that they are likely to receive dozens of pitches regularly. Reach out to them as personally as you can. Telephone calls are best, otherwise, a short, personal email or direct message with contact info will usually work. Just be respectful of their time and try not to get into too much detail with the initial contact.

Businesses and consumers alike have grown accustomed to influencer marketing. Use it correctly, and it can open new doors for your brand!