Influencer marketing is alive and thriving. The usual suspects–YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram–have long dominated the influencer marketing industry. Yet  the recent surge in popularity  of the application TikTok shows it can challenge the established elite – and marketers need to take note.

So how can marketers navigate this amorphous, ever-changing industry and maximize their influencer outreach? Here are five things you can do to improve your influencer outreach.

1. Research your influencers thoroughly

The most important thing you have to consider when dealing with influencers is that they aren’t interchangeable – that is to say you can’t simply choose the influencers with the most followers. 

Do you think you really know your potential customers? Where do they go on the web? What type of content and what bloggers do they engage with? What messages do these bloggers spread? Do they fit your business’ objectives?

These influencers will largely be the face of your company for many of your users. Before you dive into a relationship with one, make sure you research them thoroughly. Be certain that they are the right person to represent your company and reach your intended audience.

Research is of utmost importance, but it takes time. Do not rely solely on your judgement – peruse the data that marketers collect and listen to what others have to say about the influencer. Properpreparation saves money. Proper spending saves sales.

Look no further than Volvo’s disastrous campaign with Chriselle Lin as proof that choosing the right influencer is important. An instagram photo  of Lin posing next to a new eco-friendly car seemed too

promotional, resulting in her followers expressing their disgust. It’s clear that Volvo simply chose an influencer with a large base, failing to take into account the audience reaction to the campaign. Proper auditing beforehand could have led to Volvo choosing a more relevant influencer.

2. Be aware of your influencers loyalties

You’re not the only company in the market and definitely not the first to use influencers for promotional purposes. Your competitors may have already ordered content from the same bloggers you are contemplating using.

If you use the same channels as your opponents, make sure your presence stands out. Is it ten of their videos on the channel against one of yours? If so, it’s almost certainly not worth then fuss. In any case, either amp up your resources, or quit the race to focus on a different channel.

The audience looks up to influencers as long as they keep integrity. This shows the value of being loyal to a specific brand. For example: If you’re running advertisements for your bookshop andan influencer suddenly advertised another bookshop, would that not seem strange to the audience?

To stand out among other brands and draw publishers’ attention, you have to look the part. Gain reputation of an influencer-friendly, reliable company. It’s not enough to simply be there, it is thethings you do when you get there. How you treat your influencers is important: Let them know that working with your brand pays off.

3. Take advantage of reviews

Reviews can be incredibly important in reaching customer based.

Google found that 60 percent of people trust reviews coming from their favorite content creator. 

Unpacking and reviews remain the most native type of advertisement on YouTube. If you want your influencers and customers to receive a more genuine experience, let them test your product by gifting it to them for review. Even better: Give the reviewer early access to the product to increase the legitimacy of the influencer to the audience.

Gifting products for early access review might not be too expensive if you sell electronics for example. Plus, they would really appreciate the gift whether or not they actually enjoy the product itself. Influence marketing is based on trust, and the best way to build it is through honesty.

4. Cultivate diversity

Sticking with the same bloggers and formats may be useful in the short-term, but is doomed to stagnation in the long run. To uncover new audiences, it’s vital to test out new influencers and even new channel topics. Take a bigger scope, look for more options, and explore more habitats.

Diversification is key. If you are a sports food delivery service, try channels about cooking – not just strictly sport channels. The blogger does not have to be a sports junkie to advertise your goods. Similarly, if you’re a gift shop, try out handmade crafts channels. You might find out that your best customers lie in some other direction than you had previously assumed. 

Without diversifying, you may never know which your best channels are, missing out on troves of potential new customers. Try new avenues, fail, and try again until you have an influencer who can bring in new users.

5. Give space and authenticity

Conservative brand management is not necessarily a mistake – where would we be now if marketers only pursued provocativeness? On the other hand, an overly narrow approach smothers publishers in terms of both the genre and channels they may use.

Have you tried influencers on Telegram? Other blogs and media? How many channels did you turn down due to an inappropriate title? Try being less picky and you may find out it is worth the risk.

The more restrictions you put on a blogger, the less it is likely that the audience will approve of your campaign. Their personal style makes them unique. Untying influencers’ hands and letting them be themselves will provide better results than enforcing an all-approved-by-you scenario.

Their audience chooses to follow them for a reason. In fact, a  recent Google study  found that four in ten millennials said that their favorite Youtubers understood them better than their friends. Hamstringing their ability to express themselves can result in lowered authenticity to their audience and will prove to be less effective.

If you take away anything from this article it should be this: Review your decisions. Change your mind. Take a step aside. Experiment. Soon you will find more publishers eager to join the ride.