How to Successfully Hire a Social Media Influencer?

How to Successfully Hire a Social Media Influencer?
Brianna Blaney

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Brianna Blaney

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Influencer marketing is popular because it speaks the native language of millennials, who just so happen to make up the largest share of the buying market. In fact, influencer marketing spend is projected to grow YoY by 23.4% in 2023, and by 15.9% in 2024.

Brand-sponsored posts on Instagram went from 1.26 million in 2016, to 6.12 million in 2020. Companies are not in the habit of throwing their money away. That radical level of growth over several years won’t happen if the strategy doesn’t work.

In the last decade, the number of searches for “influencer marketing” has increased exponentially. As a result, more and more companies are shifting, with brands allocating specific budgets for customer acquisition tactics.

In this article, we’ll look at the hiring process of social media marketers, including the benefits, choosing the best freelancer, and where to find them.

What are the Benefits of Hiring Social Media Influencers?

When hiring social media influencers, your business can see a multitude of benefits, such as:

Improves Brand Recognition

Influencers improve brand recognition. The value of influencer marketing lies in word-of-mouth strategies. 61% of consumers trust an influencer’s recommendation, over the 38% that trust branded (and often biased) social media content. Relationships are at the core of influencer marketing, and this is where they thrive and how they help your brand.

Content creators have spent years building a follower base and target audience. By working with influencers, you tap into their follower base and establish instant recognition and trust.

Reach Untapped Audience

A social media influencer helps a brand generate more high-quality leads by reaching demographics they may never have had without the social influencer. The right influencers, be they a blogger, Instagram influencer, or TikTok influencer, knows precisely what their audience craves, and has a community of devoted fans that trust their advice.

Studies show that as many as 47% of Gen Z users head to social media channels to research interesting brands. In addition, 42% of other internet users report the same behavior.

Strong Return on Investment

The social media influencer marketing channel has a higher return on investment (ROI) than traditional strategies. Large-scale social selling leaves a longer-lasting impact on consumers than a once-seen TV ad. Influencer posts are followed religiously and people hang on their words. During a 2020 marketing survey conducted in the United States and Europe, over 60% of respondents believed influencer marketing had a stronger ROI than their other strategies.

Creative and Continuous Content

When collaborating with opinion leaders, rest assured they are pros at creating engaging and relevant content. After all, this is most likely how they built a following. Influencers spend a lot of time developing what their audience sees, so having them co-counsel on creatives is a significant advantage. They can drum up ideas on the best ways to demo a product/service in a unique way and become expert consultants in content creation.

Additionally, real high-quality content can be repurposed and reused over and over again. A well-developed content strategy can run on an infinite loop, without ever serving the exact same content twice. As an influencer audience grows with your brand, old content can be refreshed with new media, SEO, and hashtags, to live once again.

How to Choose the Right Social Media Influencers?

Once you’ve decided to build a strategy around social media influencers, how do you find the right person? Here are a few ideas:

Establish Your Marketing Goals

The style and volume of the campaign you are running will help to determine the type of influencer you hire. You should approach one or two influencers with a big following, or tap into a smaller market with micro-influencers. Establish clear KPIs to determine how you will measure success. Will it be by impressions or reach? Will you count likes and consider engagement, or do conversions matter more? You cannot understand how much you’ve achieved, without definitive goals in mind.

If you’re looking to improve brand awareness, you might want to focus on reach and impressions. If it’s credibility you’re after, driving the engagement rate is a better goal. To get more sales and conversions, your brand must live in the “trust” arena of the “like, know, trust” process. Once that happens, create a campaign designed to drive registrations, clicks, subscriptions, sales, etc.

Whatever the goals, it’s important to define them before starting your search for a social media influencer. They can help you better structure the corresponding campaigns.

Define a Budget 

When it comes to digital marketing, starting with a budget is important. Social media influencers are paid in several ways. Most will choose either a fixed rate or a fixed rate with commission. The size of the influencer will definitely play a role in how much you pay them. These are determined based on the reach and number of followers.

Influencer categories are based on follower count:

  • Nano-influencers: 1,000 to 10,000 followers
  • Micro-influencers: 10,000 to 50,000 followers
  • Mid-tier influencers: 50,000 to 500,000 followers  
  • Macro-influencers: 500,000 to1,000,000 followers  
  • Mega-influencers: 1,000,000+followers 

Just as you would measure different campaigns with various metrics and KPIs, don’t expect every influencer partnership to be the same. You must communicate with the social influencer the exact job requirements, detailing the amount of compensation and the day of payout. Small businesses can usually afford a few nano or micro-influencers, while larger brands go for one or two with a large following.

Evaluate and Choose the Right Social Media Platform

Social media influencers exist wherever there is a social media platform. This includes every type, from video sites like YouTube, to streaming platforms like Twitch. This also includes the tried and tested formats like blogs and podcasts, as well as newer channels like TikTok. However you choose, remember that your target market has a preferred platform, so whatever that is, that’s the one you need to be present on.

You also don’t need to limit the brand to one channel. Although it’s best to start slow initially, it’s not unheard of for a successful marketing strategy to include an Instagram influencer, a podcast personality, a blogger, and a TikTok star.

Here are the most popular platforms for social media influencers (by percentage):

  • Instagram (93%)
  • Facebook (68%)
  • TikTok (68%)
  • YouTube (48%)
  • Twitter (32%)

Note that social media influencers will also expect different payment rates depending on the social media channel you use. For example, creating a tweet for Twitter is less time-consuming than filming and posting a 2-minute video for TikTok.

Create a List of Influencers in a Spreadsheet (or CRM)

After you’ve begun the search for influencers, it’s time to create a shortlist. Check the previous content they’ve posted to see if the style and tone match your brand. Consider asking shome of the following questions:

  • How often do they post?
  • Are they versatile, or are the topics niche?
  • What’s the ratio of followers to those that engage?
  • Does the influencer regularly engage with the audience?
  • Who is their target audience, and does it match your own?

Once some of these questions are answered, it will paint a clearer picture of what you need. It’s a smart move to collect the influencer data in an Excel or CRM file. That way, if you can’t use the influencer this time, there may be a future campaign where they are the perfect fit. In other words, don’t waste your research.

Setup a Qualification Criteria to Find the Best Influencer

To validate the legitimacy of the freelancer, you can also request data from previous campaigns. If the social media influencer has accomplished something big, they will likely have past metrics to show for it. Ask all influencers for their portfolio and links to previous work. Develop qualification criteria to weed out influencers that might not be a good match.

However, if you are targeting nano or micro-influencers, just remember, they may have smaller portfolios and less experience. So, be prepared to practice patience and expect more flexibility.

Interview and Hiring Process

Once you’re ready to chat with a social media influencer, reach out to them via the channel you want to work in. This will be the first test to see how long it takes each one to respond. The quicker they get back, the more indicative this is what they’ll do with your future customers.

If the influencer is more prominent, they might work for an agency. In this case, you’ll need to contact their agents to book them. Include a universal vision for the campaign and a brief overview of your brand. The more popular a social influencer is, the less available they may be, so be sure to sell them on the first pitch.

How to Find and Hire Social Media Influencers

If you’re ready to hunt for top social media marketing talent, it all starts by understanding exactly where to find these freelancers. Here are a few places to look:

Influencer Marketing Platforms

If your brand is looking for a higher level of service, with less hassle, influencer marketing platforms are a great way to hire influencers. These sites will grant you access to databases with hundreds of contacts. Influencers are vetted by the platform, and many will list their prices openly, so there’s less of a guessing game.

A business will contact, hire, and pay the worker through the same platform. This is a convenient solution, especially if you’re worried about security.

Some leading influencer marketing platforms include:

Note there is typically a subscription fee a business needs to pay to access an influencer marketing platform.

Search on Social Media

One of the oldest methods of influencer discovery is to meet them where they post...on social media. You can search keywords and hashtags on social platforms to see who is posting under what subjects. From there, investigate if the top posters have a significant following. Do they fit your buyer persona? Does the influencer content match your own in tone or style? How are they engaging with their audience?

Search for Lists and Blogs

A business can conduct intentional searches on topics related to its niche. Since the results on search engines can be overwhelming, consider creating a keyword list representing your brand, and then stick to it! When running a search, you can add site-specific results using the format “site: Instagram.com” before keywords. This will instruct the Google algorithm to only serve matches that include both the site and keyword.

Work with Influencer Marketing Agencies

An influencer marketing agency is one of the more expensive avenues, but it also produces some of the highest success rates. That's because an entire team works behind the social media influencer to spread your brand's message. They will also provide detailed reports on the performance of each freelancer, and manage the entire process from start to finish.

Expect features from an agency, like:

  • Long-term Relationships - The best agencies are well-acquainted with top talent and have worked with them before.
  • Industry Experts - These firms are a lifeline for keeping up with current trends and insights.
  • Full-Service Capabilities - From influencer selection to a detailed campaign strategy, execution, optimization, and reporting.
  • Orchestrating Negotiations - The agency serves as a buffer and handles negotiations, licensing, and compensation rates.
  • Detailed Reporting - It’s easy to measure success with a comprehensive view of metrics and conversion tracking.

When using an agency, brands also have the option to scale their investment. In addition, they can customize and design the approach to each campaign to fit critical objectives and the budget.

Search Hashtags in Your Industry

Prior to any content creation, your influencer marketing strategy must include hashtag research. What are the top hashtags used for your industry and niche? Who is using them the most? That’s where you can start your search. Hashtag research is a simple way to cast a broad net for potential influencers.

Additional Ways to Find Social Media Influencers:

  • Look at Your Followers - Who do your followers follow and look up to?
  • Look at the Competitor’s Followers- Who is following the competition? Who are they following?
  • Research Other Influencer Campaigns - Scan through for mentions and tags, and look for user-generated content.

Final Thoughts: Hiring Social Media Influencers

From brand recognition to increased ROI, creative content, and exploring a new audience, there are a lot of advantages to hiring a social media influencer. It’s important to first look at top marketing goals and define your budget to better understand the type of influencer you can hire. This will also help to steer you in the direction of the best platform.

You can find social media influencers in a variety of spots online; it just depends on how much work you want to do. The fastest solutions happen to be the more costly. You can hire an influencer marketing agency to handle all the brunt work, but it will cost you. Conversely, it might take hours to research social platforms and drill down to top talent, but that's virtually free.

The bottom line is that once you take all this time and research to find the best influencers, you want to make sure you can keep them. Happy freelancers are those that get paid on time. Solutions like Lumanu can ensure all of your contractors are paid on time, every time, no matter where in the world they are located.

Just ask the founders of Creators Agency. They know the key to attracting and retaining top talent is trust, built through reliability and seamless operations—especially in payments. That's where Lumanu fills the gaps.

Lumanu enables Creators Agency to build a professional-looking invoice in seconds, and automatically determine how that will split into payments. Once the invoice is sent, there will be automatic payment reminders, so no one at the agency has to paper chase. When the invoice is paid, money automatically flows to Creators Agency and to their talent, without any extra work. 

Ready get started with your social media freelancer? Schedule a free demo with Lumanu.

Brianna Blaney

Schedule a demo to learn how Lumanu can help your business pay out TikTok influencers hassle-free.

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