4 Things to Consider Before Hiring an Influencer

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Social media is the new arena for conversation, and it will probably evolve into much more than that in the near future. Hours of our lives are spent scrolling, double tapping, and replaying, and we can't seem to get enough of it.

Generation Z, the age group born from the mid '90s to the present day, spends four times as many hours on YouTube as they do watching traditional television.

Television marketing is still a powerful medium, but it's getting some competition in social marketing. Young consumers are taking advertisements they see on social media just as seriously as those they see on television. So how do you get your business into the social media game?

The secret is influencers. People are building careers on these social platforms (Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.), and they are successful because they have a "natural" brand. Being their natural, unbridled selves, these content producers establish a credible and reliable platform for marketing to consumers.

However, simply partnering with the most popular YouTuber or Instagram account will not translate to success. If owners are searching for an influencer to align with, they must be sure that the influencer meets the following key requirements.

1. Who is watching?

This seems like fundamental business and marketing savvy, similar to "know your market," but it is essential for finding the perfect influencer. Find out the age of your target consumer audience.

If your consumer base has a younger average age, look for Snapchat or Instagram users in that age group. Older social media users tend to lean toward Facebook and Twitter, so you have to understand where the money is for your business.

If you spend $5,000 on a Facebook influencer, but your consumer base is primarily 13-year-old girls, you are going to miss your target audience. You'll have wasted $5,ooo because you did not do your consumer demographics research. To form a successful partnership with an influencer, owners must be aware of where their audience is.

2. Quality not quantity.

What this tells owners is that they need to find an influencer with an engaged audience. Picking a YouTuber simply because they have a million subscribers does not mean that you'll have a successful experience.

An engaged audience is a marketable one. Aim for a YouTuber or Instagrammer with at least 500,000 subscribers/followers and 350,000+ views per video/post.

Find an influencer who includes and involves audiences in their content because these audiences are more willing to continue watching and follow the influencer's advice. Influencers are supposed to entice their viewers with entertainment and "useful" content.

Entertained viewers feel that the influencer offers value, and you will be able to hook into that trust. Active channels/profiles connect with viewers on a daily basis, and Gen Zers need a constant flow of content to stay loyal to a brand.

3. Is the content suitable for your brand?

Many aspiring YouTubers go into comedic content, while others film themselves in daily activities, and still others have informative content. Understand that if your brand fits the style of the influencer, your product will resonate much better with viewers and increase sales.

If the product has more of an upbeat, fun-loving tone, the owner should align with a more entertaining influencer. Lifestyle products can easily function in product placement for vlogs if the product is one that fits a certain living routine.

More serious, complicated products could fit in much better with informative content because the influencer establishes credibility with their knowledge in the area. Owners must do research to ensure that the brand of the influencer will complement their product.

4. Authenticity and reliability.

The greatest advantage (and sometimes disadvantage) of shopping in modern society is that there are opinions all over the internet on a multitude of products. Gen Zers and Millennials have become smarter buyers thanks to online text and video reviews.

A strong review from an influencer could be the publicity and credibility boost a product needs to get to the next level.

A serious influencer who promotes solid principles will generally have a greater impact on audiences than a funny channel. For example, fitness is a rapidly expanding market on YouTube. There are funny, entertaining fitness channels as well as serious tutorials.

Placing the product with the serious channel, which provides sound, fundamental content, will have more impact on the audience than placing it with the guy who throws weights around the room, screaming in every video.

Influencers are some of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses, but they can be misused and under-analyzed. Take the time to discover what is best for your company when choosing an influencer and you'll be able to capture the key younger demographic.

This column was co-authored by Gen Z marketing strategist Connor Blakley and originally published on YouthLogix on August 8, 2016.