When you work with social media influencers, they represent your brand. And before you choose who will fill this role, you need to know what to check into.
And while an influencer’s personal style and their number of followers are important factors, they’re definitely not the only thing you should consider. Brands should look into the following 10 factors when considering influencers for collaborations.
- Category and quality of content
First up, take a look at their content. What is it about? Obviously, you want an influencer who posts in the same category as your brand. If you’re a brand that produces kitchen products, for example, you’ll want to find food, home decor, or lifestyle influencer. If your brand makes clothes, is a fashion influencer, and so on.
Next, how is the quality of their content? Are their photos clear and well-composed? Do they know how to upload Instagram stories and edit TikTok videos? For social media marketing, the influencer needs to be able to clearly send your brand’s message.
Check the location of the influencer. You can usually find this in their biography, or in the geotags they apply to their content. You can also discover this using an influencer marketing platform, or by scanning through their content.
Location is important for a few reasons:
- It may affect the influencer guidelines that apply to your collaboration. Many countries regulate this.
- Influencers should be located in places relevant to your campaign. Think about your goal and target audience and where you can reach them.
- Location will affect costs. Don’t expect an influencer from NYC to charge the same as one from Manila.
- Aesthetic style
Appearance isn’t everything, but it does count. Look at the influencer’s aesthetic style. What colors and filters do they use? Find someone who more or less compliments your brand’s style.
For example, if your brand sells hippie-style clothing, find an influencer with that same vibe. Their followers are more likely to be interested in the same, and that means they’re more likely to be interested in your brand.
This will make the collaboration come across as more authentic. It will also make it easier for you to repost influencer content later on.
- Follower count
Follow count, also known as reach, gives us an idea of how many people will likely see an influencer’s content. It also impacts the influencer’s price tag.
There are five types of influencers based on a number of followers:
- Nano influencers, 1-5K followers
- Micro influencers, 5-50K followers
- Medium influencers, 50-100K followers
- Macro influencers, 100K-1M followers
- Mega influencers, 1M+ followers
Higher reach isn’t always better. Engagement rate is also very important, and nano and micro-influencers generally have the highest rates in the business.
Nano and some micro-influencers will usually collaborate with you in exchange for free products. At the top end of the micro tier, influencers begin to ask for fees. From the medium tier on up, influencers also usually have managers, and they can drive fees up even more.
- Follower growth
Examine how an influencer attracted their followers. Organic growth is slow and steady. With good, focused content, influencers will attract more and more followers with time.
However, if you see that an influencer has suddenly gained a ton of new followers, they may have purchased fake followers. Check first if they hosted a giveaway or went viral around the time of the spike. But if not, that growth is probably fake.
Growth as seen on influencer marketing platform Heepsy. The slow but upwards trend suggests it’s organic growth.
- Followers to following ratio
Compare the number of followers an influencer has to the number of profiles they’re following. If this number is close to 1, it may suggest that the influencer is using the follow/unfollow strategy.
This is when an influencer follows random accounts, waits for them to follow back, and then unfollows them. These new followers are just trying to be polite, and aren’t necessarily interested in the influencer’s content.
- Engagement rate
We mentioned above that engagement rates are important. That’s because the engagement rate shows how interested followers are in an influencer’s content. The more interested they are, the more likely they are to engage with it.
The ways you can engage with content vary across social networks. Therefore, each network has its own benchmarks. So when comparing influencers, only compare them to their peers. In other words, don’t compare Twitch streamers’ engagement rates against the benchmark for TikTok creators, and so on.
Also as we noted above, engagement rates vary depending on the number of followers. As follower count rises, engagement generally falls. Therefore, it’s important to compare an influencer to the averages for their follower segment.
- Audience demographics
When vetting an influencer, check out their audience too. Make sure that the target audience you’ve defined for your campaign is in sync with the influencer’s audience. Look at demographics like age, gender, location, language, and interests.
This can sometimes be surprising. You may find an American influencer and think their audience is almost entirely located in the US. However, analyzing these demographics can reveal just the opposite, as seen in the graphic above.
- Audience authenticity
Furthermore, look at audience authenticity. Influencers can easily buy fake followers, but you don’t want to spend your marketing dollars on these bots. Influencer marketing software can analyze this for you.
Audience authenticity as seen on influencer marketing platform Heepsy.
If you’re not using an influencer marketing platform, scan the influencer’s audience directly on social media. Do the users who like and comment on their posts look like real people? Bots will generally feel fake, with a lack of profile picture or info, or unnatural speech patterns.
- Past collaborations
Finally, have a look at other brands the influencer has collaborated with. What type of content did they post? Did that content get good engagement?
Checking into this can help you predict how well their content would perform for your brand. You might also want to see if the influencer has collaborated with your direct competitors, in case you want to avoid also working with them.
If you want to find social media influencers and choose the best one for your brand’s campaign, keep these 10 points in mind while doing so. Careful influencer analysis is an important step in any successful influencer marketing strategy, so take the time to do it well.