For businesses of any size, influencer marketing can be a great way to drive growth. You can hire influencers to promote your business on social media. They will also connect you with new followers to increase brand awareness and sales.
But when it comes to selecting social media influencers, what are the things you should look for? Let’s examine what you need to check into before deciding on who to collaborate with.
A similar category and location to yours
Start by finding an influencer who is in the same category of your brand. What do you do with your brand? Are you in the restaurant industry or run a spa/wellness center? Are you a fashion e-commerce? Whatever your answer, search for influencers whose content is similar to what you are doing.
Next, look for influencers who are located in the same area as your brand or where you would like to grow awareness. Be sure to align your growth goals with your influencer search criteria. You can drive sales by choosing influencers that promote your products in areas where consumers can actually buy them. But if consumers can’t buy your products in a given area, why work with an influencer whose audience resides there?
An influencer you can actually afford
Influencers do not work for free. However, influencers are available for every budget.
The following tiers allow for the organization of influencers by follower count, one of the main factors when calculating influencer price:
- Nano influencers, 1-5K followers
- Micro influencers, 5-50K followers
- Medium influencers, 50-100K followers
- Macro influencers, 100K-1M followers
- Mega influencers, 1M+ followers
- Key opinion leaders, no set followers range
A KOL, or key opinion leader, is someone widely recognized for being an expert in their chosen field and who also has other platforms where they can express their opinions outside of social media. They are thus not limited to a certain follower range.
Brands can pay influencers either in free products or in fees. Or a combination of both. For those with a smaller budget, you can pay micro and nano influencers with free products. If you have the budget to pay fees, just keep in mind that the higher the tier, the more expensive the influencer.
KOLs may charge you differently for collaborations. Oprah, for example, would promote a product on her talk shows and then give away one to everyone in her audience.
Organic follower growth
Many people believe that follower count is the most important aspect of an influencer. However, this is often not true. It is equally important that you look at the way an influencer attracts their followers over time.
Influencers are able to easily purchase fake followers. Analyzing their growth can help you identify that. Organic growth is steady and slow. You should investigate sudden growth spikes to determine the cause.
Did the influencer hold a giveaway? Did they go viral? One of these two possibilities could explain rapid growth in followers. However, if you can’t find any clear reason, spikes in growth may be a sign that the influencer purchased a bunch of fake followers.
A good engagement rate
Many marketers consider engagement rate more important than number of followers. Engagement rate measures the degree of trust between an influencer (or their audience) and their followers. Trusting an influencer is a sign that followers like their content and are more likely to interact with it.
Collaborations with influencers are a great way for brands to increase engagement, too. It’s more likely for followers to become curious about the brands influencers promote when they’re already engaged with the influencer’s content.
Be on the lookout for extreme engagement at either end. A low engagement rate may indicate that followers aren’t interested or that they are fake. If the engagement rate is much higher than the average for influencers on the same network, with similar followings, it could be an indication that the influencers have purchased fake likes and comments.
Also, be aware that engagement rates vary by social network. Do not compare the engagement rates of TikTok creators to YouTubers, for example. Different ways to interact with content on these platforms are available, so the benchmarks aren’t exactly comparable.
Authentic audience that matches your target
You should not only analyze the influencers, but also their audience! Make sure the followers of an influencer are in line with your brand’s target audience.
Take into account demographics such as age and gender. You should ensure that their audience matches your buyer personas. Don’t end up disappointed in your results because you didn’t take the time to look into this.
Verify the authenticity and credibility of their audience, too. You can scan followers, likers and commenters manually to check. It is usually possible to determine fairly easily if most of the accounts are real people or bot accounts. Or, use an influencer marketing platform, and let AI analyze the audience much faster than you can.
Content that is consistent with your brand
You should also look through the content of influencers. Does the content align with your brand? Work with influencers that can communicate your brand’s message. And choose influencers who share your values.
Style is equally important. Influencers do not have to have the exact same style as your brand. However, it is a good idea to find an influencer whose style compliments yours. This visual link allows the collaboration to come across more authentically and makes it easier for your brand later to repost influencer material.
You should thoroughly review the profiles of any influencers you are considering to promote your brand through social media. Fake influencers exist, so try your best not to follow them. Finally, ensure that potential collaborators are aligned with your brand’s values and mission.