Influencer Marketing — Six Key Factors to Look for when choosing an Influencer
In today’s digital age, it seems like everyone online is either the one influencing or the one being influenced. With millions of people flooding the feeds of social media sites every day, creating an authentic trust with an audience online has grown to be a difficult task for brands and companies alike. As social media becomes more and more of the ‘norm’, we have seen traditional ads turn digital, and company spokesperson roles becoming online influencer roles. In order for a message to stick for a brand, it must be communicated in an authentic, personalized manner that resonates with the consumer (or in this case, the follower). Rather than focusing on your brand to relay messages, you can focus on the voice of those pioneering the influencer marketing industry to position your brand in front of the masses of their followers. With that being said, there’s thousands of influencers floating around the internet. How can you tell who is a right-fit influencer for your business, brand, and company?
When searching for influencers, it is always tempting to go for the big shots and the verified pages with millions of followers. Of course, it seems like they could be the solution to all your branding problems and sales necessities, but most times it isn’t the tell all tale you may think it could be. When looking at any account, a key trick is not to look at the total follower count, but the engagement rate. To find a users’ engagement rate, we break it down into using the equation below.
Total Number of Followers / Total Number of Likes
This formula will tell us what percentage of the users’ overall followers are engaged with their post. If they have 100,000 followers and only get 1,000 likes on each photo, following the formula 100,000 / 1,000 the user has an engagement rate of 1%. Though the industry standard numbers are low, don’t let them deter you. The average engagement rate of influencers is anywhere from 3.5% — 6.0%. Anything below this rate oftentimes shows signs that the user is not engaged with their followers, which should be a red flag when searching for influencers. However, anything above the threshold should be a step in the right direction as you can indicate that the fan base and following of the user you have looked into is highly engaged, meaning they actually listen to the messages being put out there by the influencer.
The Influencers’ Relevance
Oftentimes as an influencer grows and evolves from the ‘micro-influencer’ stage to a more mainstream influencer, they lose touch with their personal brand and niche identity that got them going in the industry originally. A broad audience for an influencer does not directly mean they can make a broad impact for your brand. In other words, just because someone has 500,000 followers means that all 500,000 are likely to have a spiked interest in your swimwear brand after seeing a single post by the influencer wearing and tagging the bathing suit.
It is important that you take some time and look through the people that are commenting on the influencers’ posts. Do these users seem to match the users commenting on your companies’ posts? Do these engaged users remind you of your current customers? If so, this means the influencer is likely to be relevant to your field. If not, you may need to take a step back and identify the differences in demographics between the influencer and your companies’ brand. Break down the similarities and differences and look at what is to be gained from using them as an influencer. But remember, the more relevant the influencer is to your industry and brand, the more likely the voice of the influencer will stick to their followers, which can then transform them into your followers, fans, and supporters.
Responsiveness of the Audience
Along with engagement rate and relevance, identifying the responsiveness of an audience is key when looking for the right fit influencer for your campaign. When getting in touch with influencers, it is totally acceptable to request to see analytics such as: Story Views, Share Count, and Reposts. All of these analytical data points can be seen by a user on their Instagram Business Account, TikTok Business Account, Twitter Analytics Page, and YouTube Analytics Tab. By understanding the responsiveness of the influencer, you are able to set campaign goals. With goals in place, you can gear the content towards a more shareable standpoint to expand the reach of the posts beyond the original post, and keep the ball rolling even after the campaign and posts have completed.
To no surprise, it should be quintessential that the influencers you choose for a campaign should express similar social stances, goals, and morals that the brand being advertised has. When searching for influencers, look within your industry and furthermore look beyond the likes and followers and see what the influencer stands for. Keep in mind, when you pick an influencer to be a part of a branded campaign with your business, you are signing them on to be a long term spokesperson for the brand. If they have a history of drama and problematic situations you may want to stray away from this influencer. On the other hand, if they stand for a strong idea and hold a positive social image and promote similar mentalities and visions as the brand promotes, then they are more likely to be a good fit for your business and the campaign overall.
Are they Interested?
A question you should ask yourself before reaching out to a specific influencer regarding a campaign collaboration is “Do they know our brand exists? If so, do they like our brand?” There is no better partnership we’ve found than that of when a brand someone admires contacts them to be a part of a campaign. To determine the answer to these questions, first look and see if the influencer follows the companies’ page on their social media accounts. If so, this may be the beginning of a great long term relationship. If they do not, it may be a good start to begin engaging with them. By liking their posts and leaving uplifting and supportive comments on their page, the influencer will notice this interest. If they comment back and begin engaging with you, this is a great step towards a healthy partnership! Also, see if they follow and engage with any competitor in your space. If this is the case, you can always ask them what they like about the competitors to grow market research within the influencer community regarding your brand, product, and services. With an underlying mutual interest between the brand and the influencer, great work is produced and the influencer is more likely to give our free promotion in the future because they don’t just like the campaign they’re working on, they like the brand.
Age and Demographics
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why alcoholic beverage companies do not use the leading Gen Z influencers to promote their products. When searching for influencers, search for the ones who likely speak to and resonate with the intended age range and demographic of your current and intended target audience. Luckily, all the leading social media platforms deliver the analytics regarding the age, gender, and location of an influencers followers. By requesting this information from them during the influencer search, you are able to understand what type of consumers are being exposed to the content the influencer is posting. By aligning the followers of the campaign up with the intended target audience, brands see greater engagement on promotional posts, greater brand awareness growth, and meet their campaign goals easier.
Family Friendliness of an Influencer
Remember what we said earlier about influencers being a long-term spokesperson for a brand? This is something one should keep in mind when reviewing the family friendliness of an influencer. Look beyond their Instagram page and view across their socials as to how they act, speak, act, and portray their lives. If your business prides itself in being ‘family friendly’ and would be rated E for Everyone, then chances are you don’t want to be utilizing influencers who promote partying, swearing, and or any form of negativity. It should be quickly clear when searching cross-platform to understand if an influencer is a right fit for your company as many people try to maintain a similar personal identity across their multiple channels. Identify the family friendliness of an influencer and make sure it matches up with the family friendliness of your brand. If the similarities are there, the green light is on!
With an immense importance on social media in today’s world, companies all around the world are looking for the perfect influencers to be the voice of their product and services online. But, finding the right one isn’t always as easy as looking at their page for two minutes and saying “this is the one!” By following these steps, you will be able to have a further understanding of the quality of the influencer, and be able to grasp what they can do for your business.