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3 Ways To Spot The Right Influencer For Your Campaign

Influence is everywhere–know how to look for it.

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BY Jeff Barrett - 08 Aug 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The Shorty Awards--a yearly celebration of top digital campaigns and influencers-- is entering its 10th year, digital advertising will make $83 billion this year with the majority of that being mobile and influencers are everywhere. We have reached a point though where a strong digital campaign isn't different anymore, it's the norm and it elevates the bar in creating campaigns that stick.

Strong digital campaigns, like Airbnb's "We Accept" campaign, can create a bond with consumers and can attract Millennials which look to share values with a company.

"For many years social media and web video weren't taken seriously in the marketing or entertainment industry," said Gregory Galant, Shorty Awards co-founder and CEO of Muck Rack. But now, it's no longer just people casually checking their phones. "Social media will continue to change how people organize, connect with their communities and even protest."

Social media evolves quickly, too fast for most brands to stay ahead of it or to take too long in creating a campaign. The faster, smarter, better play in most cases in creating a campaign is to work directly with innovative creators. But how authentically you do this will matter. Remember Pepsi's Kendall Jenner ad? So don't look at your campaign through one lens--here are three ways to see it from all angles:

1. Look To Provide Third-Party Validation

The real secret now to creating a campaign that sticks isn't in how clever your message is but how authentically it is delivered.

Content creators, Shorty Award winners, are sought after by the advertising industry to leverage their audience. It didn't happen overnight. It happened by a community of content creators growing stronger, challenging each other to be better and having their own award to aspire to win. The award provides a seal of approval, something similar to Oprah's book club that tells brands they can deliver.

2. Seek Out Content Creators

"Possibilities are growing largely based on the evolution of technology. From high-def cameras on cell-phones to apps that edit and enable more polished levels of creativity to social platforms that are integrating new features, such as live video into consumers' daily lives," said Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of 360i.

As technology advances and anyone with a phone can create quality content, the need for large-scale and highly produced advertisements has declined. Instead brands and agencies are working directly with influencers on multiple campaigns to create continuity.

"Creators big and small have become an extension of a brands creative team. Their voices are more authentic and other consumers care more about what they have to say than they do the brand," Eric Toda, Head of Global Social Media for Airbnb. This empowerment structure is new, as its no longer the faceless brand telling you what you want, but instead it's the consumer, like you, endorsing a product you would use."

And influencers like comedian and Shorty Award finalist Aaron Chewning understand the necessity in bringing their curated audience to a brand.

"When brands partner with the right creator and actually trust them to create, it's a win for everyone. The influencer doesn't feel like a money grabbing sell out, the brand doesn't look like they're thoughtlessly throwing money at social media ad space and the audience doesn't feel taken advantage of," said Chewning.

3. Make Sure They Fit Your Brand

When brands first engaged influencers, it looked a lot like celebrity endorsements of the past. Brands flocked to a handful of the most recognized names. Over time, brands discovered that ten people with smaller followings could equal one Instagram celebrity, be more cost-effective and create better results.

"Everyone measures and defines micro-influencers differently, but in general, micro-influencers are those influencers with under 25,000 followers that, when amassed, can produce a chorus of advocacy." said Hofstetter. "There are numerous automated services that engage microinfluencers - but we take a relationship-focused, hands-on approach to communicate, contract, monitor and manage each micro-influencer individually."

"If you have a story to tell, an experience to share, or a perspective to bring to light I'll amplify and bring your voice to the center stage. The more I do this, the more people realize their story is important and begin making stories to share versus retelling old stories. This is the future of influencers big and small," said Toda.

That last part is the most important. If you're a content creator, major brands need you to stay current and be authentic. Keep creating. If you're a brand, give creators the freedom to do what has made them successful thus far. They don't need to fit in a box of convention.

The only rule you should live by is connecting with your audience.