How to Choose the Right Influencers to Work With
Influencer marketing is one of the best new ways to promote your business, product, or service. It’s not as new as you may think, but it’s become one of the most popular and effective ways to build brand awareness and make more sales.
If you’re considering it, influencer marketing is well worth the effort and the investment. It might seem complicated, but once you understand it and see the benefits, it’s a no-brainer. But your success does hinge on finding the right influencers to work with.
Get it wrong, and you’ll see little return for your efforts. But get it right, and this could be your new favorite way of marketing!
Why Work with Influencers?
Influencer marketing has grown in popularity over the past few years and it’s now recognised as one of the most effective forms of online marketing. Worldwide, the value of influencer marketing for 2022 was said to have a value of 16.4 billion U.S dollars!
In 2022, the influencer marketing growth rate was 18.8 %. Even if the growth rate is projected at a conservative 15.5%, 2023 is going to be spectacular for influencer marketing. This means the benefits of working with influencers are HUGE!
Companies and brands are finding it difficult to get the attention of consumers. But consumer behaviors have changed and we’ve become extremely skeptical of their advertising and self-promotion.
Market statistics show that 61% of consumers trust their influencers and the product recommendations that they share. Branded social media has declined, and only 38% of consumers trust branded social media content these days!
Influencers provide an alternative approach to products and services that consumers look forward to. This is why influencer marketing is on the rise and why there’s a massive demand for new innovative digital marketing strategies.
If you want your product or service to reach audiences and have a return on investment, then you need to be working with the right influencers.
What are the Benefits?
One of the biggest benefits of working with influencers is that they help you expand your reach and provide access to a larger audience. If you’re wondering why this is one of the biggest benefits, pay attention… because it’s not what you think.
Influencers help you bypass ad-blocking software. Every day there are 5.07 billion people using the internet around the world. Of that, 42.7% of people who use the internet have said that they use an ad blocker.
Since 2020, the use of ad blockers has seen a steady increase globally as more people want to protect their privacy. But it also helps to block annoying ads, videos, pop-ups, banners, sticky bars, and more banners.
But aside from being bombarded with blinking, disruptive, and intrusive ads, people are tired of having their behavior analyzed and every action you take online be logged and sold to multiple companies, website publishers, or advertising companies.
This contributes to the major concern of data privacy and security. Especially as your data can be leaked which can leave consumers vulnerable to hackers.
Consumers are proactively avoiding advertising and are opting to pay for ad-free experiences. We’re only now starting to see the monetary effects of Apple’s privacy-first stance. This saw 62% of Apple users choosing to use the opting-out feature, App Tracking Transparency (ATT).
So how can this affect business and brands? Well, it makes product personalization difficult. Not only that, but it will have an impact on the following:
- User churn rate, especially if a user is cautious about sharing data
- There will be a lack of quality data to run effective ad campaigns
- You can’t pull data to from apps to provide key insights on a campaigns performance
- Ad campaigns are affected, as you can’t use cross-platform user information to run ads
So between consumers who are using ad-blockers and Apple users who are opting out, influencer marketing is becoming more valuable.
Additional Benefits of Influencers
Aside from helping you each and expand your audience, influencer marketing has a number of other benefits:
- It’s cost effective and has a potential for greater ROI
- Increases your brand awareness
- Helps establish trust and credibility among your target audience
- Improves your SEO
- Lets you hyper-target niche communities
- Can increase sales by positively influence purchase decisions
- Generates leads
- They create content that’s fresh and relevant
- The content is seen in the organic feed on their social media
- They’ll provide you with insights that can help create effective marketing campaigns
- Influencers can help you appeal to Millennials and Gen Zers
- Suitable for businesses or brands of all sizes
How to Choose the Right Influencers
There are a few factors that you need to consider before you start researching and reaching out to influencers. The first step you need to take is to identify and create your campaign goals. These may include:
- Attract a new target audience
- Increase brand awareness
- Have more User-Generated Content
- Increase engagement and interactions
- Generate lead
- Improve conversion rates
- Gain customer insight and data
- Provide customer service
- Drive traffic to your website
- Create community engagement
- Increase social media following
You’ll find that once your campaign goals are clearly defined, these will help you identify key performance indicators and metrics. This will help narrow down your search so that you can decide on what the best fit for an influencer is.
Your first instinct may be to reach out to influencers who have a follower count, but that shouldn’t be the deciding factor. This may seem counterintuitive as a high number of followers must mean that your campaign will have high visibility, right?
The short answer is, no. Just because an influencer has 800 000 followers, it doesn’t mean that they’re all “real” followers or that you’ll reach all of them. When deciding on which are the right influencers for your campaign, the following metrics are what really count.
Look at Their Audience Demographics
The influencers who will best work for your campaign will have an audience whose demographics match your target audience.
The best way to ensure that you’ll be reaching your target audience is by understanding each influencer’s demographics. These will give you valuable insights that will let you tailor the content and messages so that it’s more specific to the audience you’re trying to reach.
Do some research on the influencers demographics, as the information is invaluable as it contains the following details:
- Number of followers by country and city
- Gender including gender splits
- Gender identification
- Age and age bracket splits
- Audience interests
- Audience size
This will help you narrow down the list of influencers whose audience demographics fit your target market profile.
What Are the Benefits of an Influencer’s Demographic Data?
Aside from knowing which influencers fit the campaign profile and being able to tailor the content to the target audience, the influencers demographics will also tell you what their audience actually cares about.
You’re able to see what content the influencers audience engages the most with and if you should consider adding these aspects to your marketing campaign. Increasing your reach with the influencers audience could be as easy as including a giveaway or running a contest.
Understanding each influencer’s demographics will not only save you time, but it can reduce the amount of money spent on the campaign while optimizing it. The demographics will provide market research that can help you target new markets or improve your product preferences.
Creating content that resonates with the right influencers audience can help increase:
- Website traffic
- Increase leads and conversions
- Improve your brands social media presence and following
- The audience’s trust for the influencer can be transferred to your brand
- Increased brand awareness and loyalty
The last, and probably one of the most important benefits of checking the influencers demographics, is that you’re able to root out fake followers.
Yes, you read that right. Unfortunately, working with influencers isn’t always sunshine and roses. This is why it’s important that you check their demographics and engagement rate.
Some influencers buy followers or they use bots or pods to make it look like they have more reach and engagement, when they don’t. Checking an influencer’s demographics will show if their engagement is authentic or not!
Check Their Engagement Rate
Another important metric that you thoroughly have to analyze is the engagement rate of the potential influencers you want to work with. Measuring the key interactions between the influencer and the audience will give you insight into how much engagement the influencer is generating.
The more people respond by viewing, liking, sharing, and commenting, the higher the engagement rate is. This means that your marketing campaign will have a higher reach. Remember, the amount of followers doesn’t determine the reach, the level of engagement on each post does!
This allows you to choose quality or quantity, as it tells you how involved their audience is with their content. To do this you want to analyze the following data on their posts:
- Average views
- Average likes
- Average comments
Make sure you scroll through their comments and look to see if they’re receiving a lot of genuine comments. To eliminate any “fake” or “bot” engagement keep the following in mind when viewing their profiles:
- A high percentage of hidden or private profiles can indicate fake followers
- Comments have no context, use only emojis or use short common phrases like “Beautiful”, “cute” or “great photo!”
- A high percentage of their follower accounts were created roughly around the same time
- Accounts that have thousands of followers without having any posts or just a few posts is suspicious
- Accounts that use a stock image as a profile image with limited information
- A sudden spike or “unnatural” growth of followers
That being said, if an influencer is taking time to respond to comments and has an above average engagement rate, then ask them to provide detailed stats. You can also ask them previous endorsement history and results from some of their previous campaigns.
Influencers should be prepared to share this data with businesses or brands that they would potentially work with.
Also have a look at their conversion metrics on similar campaigns that they were involved in. This can give you an idea of how the content will perform across different platforms.
Determine an Influencers Reach vs Impressions
Determining an influencer’s reach can be difficult, especially if you’re not using influencer analysis tools. You can estimate their reach by looking through their profiles for a similar campaign.
Then look at the number of times the content was displayed known as impressions. Now impressions and reach are two different metrics. But the number of impressions can help you estimate the influencers’ reach.
You can divide the number of impressions on a post but the number of engagements and multiply that by 100. This will give you an estimated percentage of their reach.
Impressions will tell you how many times a post was displayed and doesn’t consider whether a person clicked it or not. Keep in mind that not every person who follows the influencer will see the post and that one person may see the same post 3 times.
If the influencer has a high number of impressions, then they’ll have the potential to reach a larger number of people. That being said, you can always ask the influencers to provide you with their reach metrics on a previous campaign. This will also help you identify if their reach was organic or paid reach.
Consider the Followers/Following Ratio
You do need to analyze the followers/following ratio and look at how the influencer got their followers. If they started by following other people and then unfollowing them a few days later once they got a follow back, then their audience may not be genuinely interested in the influencers content.
This could hamper the reach and engagement that you want to attract with your campaign. However, an influencer who has organic follower growth will have an audience who’s invested and interested in their content.
One way to determine organic growth versus non-organic growth is to have a look at the follower counts. If they’re constantly dipping up and down at random intervals, this could be a sign that they don’t have organic follower growth.
Now, it’s not uncommon for an influencer to have a high number of followers with a low following count. But their engagement rates should be proportionate to their following. Keep in mind that an authentic influencer account is likely to have more followers than people they follow.
Double-check some of their followers and see if their profiles are viewing other content creators. If they’re only showing engagement with the influencer’s content then the chances are that they have fake followers or bots.
Also take the top 10 posts that the influencer has on their profile. Then look at the number of likes and comments each post has and then divide it by the number of followers. This will help you calculate the engagement rate.
If the influencer has an engagement rate of 3%, then they should have a mid-to large sized audience. Most of your authentic followers will have an engagement rate of 1% to 3%. But, if you’re working with nano or micro-, then the engagement rate would be above average as they have smaller audiences.
Often, their engagement rate would be about 5%. This higher engagement rate shows that their audience really cares about their content and has a strong performance.
Check Their Authenticity
One of the biggest driving factors of influencer engagement is TRUST. An influencer builds trust with their audience as they provide honest, unique opinions that are based on the genuine use of a product or service.
This trust leads to an authentic connection between the influencer and their audience. They won’t have a lot of sponsored content. In most cases, they may have already spoken about a product or service in one of their personal stories.
If the influencers you want to work with are authentic, then a recommendation from them has more value and will be taken more seriously.
Before researching influencers, start by looking for influencers who may have already mentioned your company, product, or services in their hashtags or mentions. If there are, then start with them as they would already have a genuine interest and appreciation to showcase the campaign.
Ask For Their Influencer Media Kit
As influencer marketing continues to grow in popularity, it can become harder to choose which influencers to work with. But creating a short list of influencers and then reaching out to them and asking for their media kit can be an effective way to help you narrow it down.
An influencer media kit is the equivalent of a professional CV. It should contain the following information for you to look at:
- A cover page with a short bio
- All their metrics, like core audience demographics, engagement and reach
- Active social media channels like YouTue, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook
- Past collaborations the influencer has worked on
- Past campaign case studies
- Services they offer
- Pay rates
- Contact information
Going through the influencers media kit will give you all the information you need to help you decide they’re the right influencer to work with.
Check for Potential Red Flags
While working with the right influencers has enormous benefits, you need to make sure that you double-check everything. Unfortunately, one of the downsides to sifting through influencers is that you are bound to come across some fake creators or those who have past controversy, negative press attention, or public sentiment.
You have to thoroughly check everything when looking for the right influencers to work for. One of the biggest red flags, which also seems to be one of the hardest things to spot is fake followers.
Before entering into a contract with any influencers, double-check their profiles and look for the following red flags:
- Bad follower-to-following ratio
- Sudden spike in followers
- Has a large following but low engagement
- Audience demographics seem odd
- Too much sponsored content
- Unrelated or spammy comments on posts
- Near-identical number of likes and comments on every post
- Followers that have no profile pictures, suspicious handles, and no activity
- Abnormal engagement rates on their posts could indicate that they’re using a click farm
- Any controversial views or remarks
- Absence of a media kit
- Has a reputation for being difficult or unreliable
Choose Your Platform
Before reaching out to any influencers, you need to decide which platform would be more effective to reach your target audience. This will help you narrow your focus as most influencers have built their reputations and audience on specific social media platforms.
There are some influencers who are active on multiple social media platforms. But their audiences can differ across platforms and could be completely different to the target audience you’re looking for.
Once you’ve identified which platforms are most popular amongst your target audience, then you can search for influencers.
You’re going to have to set a realistic budget, as the cost for influencers vary from less than $100 to $10,000+ per post. The costs for influencers will vary depending on the following factors:
- The size of their following, engagement, and reach
- Their experience on the platform ie TikTok, Instagram, etc
- Their niche
- The type of content they’ll be producing
- The demand for that particular influencer
- Desired level of engagement
- If the influencer needs to travel
- If you want usage rights to use repurpose the content later
- Whether or not you want the influencer to work with you exclusively
- The length of the campaign
If you look at your entire digital marketing budget for the year, you could expect to spend 25% to 35% on influencer marketing.
Working with influencers is one of the best ways to increase brand awareness, establish trust with your audience, and make you more sales. But finding the right influencers to work with is key, or you may find yourself wasting money for very little ROI.
Follow the advice in this article, and you should be able to find the right influencers for your needs and your campaigns. Make sure this is right before you go ahead with anything, and you’ll find that your campaigns have a high success rate.