It is no secret that NRPR Group’s fearless leader, Nicole Rodrigues, is an expert on social media marketing. On a recent Agility PR Solutions webinar, she shared the right way to use influencers—commonly known as those who have an impact or influence on the decisions of his or her social media followers for your brand—and how to avoid the most costly mistakes. Here are some of the highlights from the webinar and for more information you may also want to read her topical Forbes article.

Do Your Homework:
It is critical to do some research on any potential social media influencers. The person may be a celebrity, but do they have the appropriate audience for your product or service? We are talking fit and quality not quantity and reputation. You want to assure that the influencer has an authentic voice and their values match the values you want your brand to convey. Are their followers engaged and do they comment and share content, which will further expand the reach of posts? If the influencer has 10 million followers, but posts only receive three likes then this is a red flag for your brand.

We mean Business
The marketing manager who spearheads the social media campaign and influencer relationship needs to have a plan and budget in place. It is usually best to start small with perhaps three influencers, which could include both bloggers and social media influencers on the various platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, as appropriate. The budget should be based on an expectation of how many posts that money will cover. Some A-list celebrities may command $40,000 per post, again the high price does not necessarily equal that they are appropriate for your brand. Conversely, micro-influencers may accept trade as payment and the influencer/brand relationship may grow and change over time.

The best social media influencers are those who take their role seriously. Nicole explained that “they know their value and the value they can provide to a brand.” The influencer treats their role as a business and will agree to a written contract that delineates the number and frequency of posts, and the budget, The influencer should also be able to share case studies that showcase success stories.

The marketing team also needs to track the impact of social media in order to know if one’s time and money is being dispensed most effectively. The social media platforms provide tools and analytics to track most successful posts. There are various tools available such as those from AirPR and Agility PR Solutions, but it is important that one knows what is to be measured.

The social media influencer/brand relationship has matured and evolved over the past 10 years. Influencers may include bloggers, journalists, and analysts in addition to celebrities. The key for your relationship to work with whomever the influencer is that there is chemistry between both parties and that the influencer is able to create reaction and engagement from the audience. The influencer also has to be committed to your brand, be authentic, transparent and have an understanding of their role in meeting goals in their interaction with their audience. If you thoroughly vet your influencer and define expectations, social media influencer marketing can be a valuable part of your integrated marketing plan.

Hope this was helpful. There were a lot more valuable insights shared during the webinar. Feel free to sit back and listen HERE. It will be an hour well spent!