Influencer Marketing, Part 4: Choosing Social Networks

Social networks are the primary channels of influencer marketing campaigns. Knowing who you’re trying to influence is the first step in choosing the network.

This is the fourth installment in my influencer marketing series. “Part 1” explained what it is. “Part 2” addressed the reasons for using it. “Part 3” reviewed the importance of goal setting.

This “Part 4” post will clarify channels — the best social media networks for your campaigns. Creating buyer personas can help.

Buyer Personas

Consider these behavior ingredients.

  • Cultural composition includes the buyer’s living environment, geographic location, history, linguistic preference, and religion.
  • Psychological frame of mind is the buyer’s motivational factors, including beliefs, attitudes, fears, and perceptions.
  • Personal experience involves demographics such as age, gender, lifestyle, and, to a lesser degree, personality.
  • Social background consists of family history, marital status, and economic situation.

While it isn’t necessary to have a complete profile using the above ingredients, the more complete, the better. Once established, it will be easier to determine the right social network using a table.

Compatibility

Don’t get hung up on which social networks are shown in the table below as it certainly isn’t comprehensive; while writing this article, dozens of networks have probably started and closed! You can add any network suitable for ecommerce (such as TikTok) in the same manner.

I’ve taken a yes-no approach to determine quickly if a network is the right fit. The network with the closest match to your buyer persona will likely be the best place for your first influencer campaign.

Let’s explore the table terms.

Open Reach. Is the network closed, or open and ready for virality? When scoring this variable, consider whether the default content is easily discoverable. LinkedIn gets an “N” primarily because content discovery is difficult if one is not connected at least tangentially to the author. Similarly, many Facebook users are selective about who can see and interact with their content, whereas YouTube is mostly open. Snapchat would be an immediate “N” with its walled system.

Visual. This is a key variable. Sometimes a product needs to be seen to be believed. Cosmetics, fashion, fitness, and many other industries benefit from rich imagery. How natural is it to experience such imagery in a network? Most networks recognize the importance of this and have pushed to showcase images natively. Only LinkedIn would score an “N” as images do not yet feel natural.

Casual. Does the network naturally use informal language and expression? Of the networks on the above table, only on LinkedIn would casual and informal content feel inappropriate. This makes sense given its purpose.

Professional. On the surface, “Professional” is the inverse of “Casual.” Again, the term describes how normal it feels to encounter such content. Professional videos on YouTube feel natural, as do somber editorial tweets, blog posts, and LinkedIn content. If your buyer persona requires a professional touch, Instagram, for example, may not be the right fit. But that could change as the initial users age.

Detailed. How in-depth can a topic be covered on the network? It’s difficult, for example, to express a detailed view of a product on Twitter given its character limits. Likewise, Instagram and Pinterest’s focus on static images makes such efforts similarly difficult. But blogs, Facebook, and YouTube facilitate detailed reviews and complex concepts in a single post. This is important, especially for products that require expert-level analysis.

Next, Influencers

Having aligned buyer personas with the appropriate social networks, you’re ready to pick influencers for your campaign. That’s what I’ll address in the next installment.

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