When you really think about it, pretty much anyone can be an influencer these days. Don’t get us wrong, there are some fantastic influencers out there. But then again, there are also some pages you stumble upon where you find yourself thinking, “why do 73K people follow this person?”. Are we right? But what exactly is an influencer? Well, the term can be used to describe an individual who has the power to affect purchase decisions of others due to his/her authority, expertise, or relationship with his/her audience.
As a brand looking for influencers, this is where things can get tricky and choosing the right influencers for your brand can get tough. Simply looking at the amount of followers someone has isn’t enough. Nor does it hold as much value as it once does. The old saying of “quality over quantity” definitely still applies in this case, especially when it comes to influencer marketing.
So what makes influencers better than others? If you’re not looking for the number of followers, what should you be looking for when you go searching for the perfect influencers for your brand? Each business will have a different set of criteria, but with the rise of the influencer marketing industry, understanding this is crucial. So there are 5 things you should always look for before signing on the dotted line with an influencer.
Authenticity is an aspect that should not be overlooked. If you’re trying to build credibility around your product or your brand, you need to go after influencers that are authentic. What does authentic mean in the world of social media? Well, there are several things to look for. Firstly, you would want to identify if the influencer is credible and has some expertise or experience with the product they are promoting. How credible you want your influencer to be all comes down to your business objectives. It’s also usually different for every brand. But generally speaking, you want to look for influencers that would have some sort of credibility when discussing your product or service.
Another indication of authenticity is the amount of sponsored content. Influencers who have a smaller amount of sponsored content tend to be viewed as more trustworthy and more authentic, compared to influencers who post sponsored content every second picture. Secondly, their posts tend to feel more like personal stories with genuine mention of the product, rather than a straight product review. The posts themselves tend to be a lot longer, and sound like they were actually written by the blogger (rather than the company or an agent.) Long story short, if you’re looking to partner with influencers that are trusted by their followers, then this is something that you should be keeping an eye out for.
Looking into the demographics of an influencer’s followers is key. More often than not, this is the data that will probably leave you most surprised. For example, just because an the influencer themselves might be a perfect fit for your product or brand, it doesn’t mean that their followers are. If you think about it, you are not actually going after the influencer to buy your product, you’re going after his/her followers to buy your product. Hence your influencer needs to fit your brand and your product, and their followers need to fit your target market.
Create a “customer profile” of your perfect customer, which includes everything from name, age, occupation, hobbies, likes, dislikes, ethnicity, place of living, and any other relevant information that might be applicable to your brand or product. Once you’ve done that, you can use that as a benchmark when looking for influencers to partner with, and then again when doing an analysis of the influencer’s followers. In order to find this sort of information, there are various sites that where you can find demographic data of a particular influencer. Blackotter also has its own software that allows brands to do this.
Product / Influencer Fit.
Always ask yourself, is this person a good fit for my product or brand? Do they send the right message, does this feel real, would this person actually use this product if it wasn’t for me reaching out and would their followers really believe that they’re using it and therefore want to try it? All of these are the questions you should ask yourself when you’re out there looking for influencers. For example, if you’re a motorcycle company looking to partner with influencers, you probably wouldn’t go after a makeup artist unless they have some obsession with motorcycles and talk about it with their followers on their social media regularly. While that make up blogger might have 800k followers and a highly engaged following, they are not a good product / brand fit for your brand or product. Therefore, regardless of all the other great things they have going for them, they will most likely not make a dent in your sales.
Another thing you want to make sure you consider is the channel / market fit. For example, if you’re a cosmetics brand, then looking at Influencers on Youtube is something you’d want to consider. Similarly, if you’re a B2B company, then more professional platforms such as LinkedIn to connect with Influencers that are more inline with your business objectives.
Engagement on social media can mean several things. It doesn’t just refer to likes, but can also refer to comments, shares, views and tags. Both the type of engagement that an influencer gets, and the way that they respond to that engagement are two very important things to take notice of. When it comes to the actual engagement on an influencer’s post, it’s not just about the amount of likes their post gets. You should be looking to see if that influencer’s followers leaving meaningful comments. Are their followers asking questions, are they wanting to know more about a particular product the influencer is using or are they trying to connect with the influencer on a more meaningful level? If they are, then that’s great. A dead giveaway of an account that has poor engagement would be one that just has hundreds of “LB” comments, or simply no comments at all.
In addition to that, the way an influencer responds back to comments is a good thing to take notice of. An influencer that takes the time to individually respond back to comments means that they value the community of followers that they’ve built. It builds credibility and trust and is a fantastic indicator that there is a strong connection between that influencer and their followers.
How often an influencer posts is also something that you should consider when choosing who you should work with. There is a direct correlation between how frequently an influencer posts and the traffic that generates on their page as well as the rate of return visitors. Like in any online marketing metric, it usually takes more than one try to get a user to click or look at something.
The same thing applies to traffic on an influencer’s page. If an influencer is continuously producing high quality, engaging content on a regular basis, people are going to want to visit it. An influencer that only posts once a week for example is probably not someone that you will want to partner with. You want to work with influencers that are actively present on social media. You want to look for influencers that post regularly enough, but break up their sponsored social posts with other organic posts about their life, friends, lifestyle, family or whatever else it might be.
Choosing the right influencers for your brand is essential to the overall success of your influencer marketing strategy. It’s important to put in the time, and the research in order to make sure that the pool of influencers that you choose to work with are going to help you get the results that you’re after.