Influencer Marketing has been around forever. And it works. If you’ve ever watched a TV commercial or opened a magazine, you’ve seen celebrities hawking soda, shampoo, running shoes or even Burger King, so you’ve witnessed Influencer Marketing work its magic. Celebrities inspire consumer confidence and influence sales and conversions. This year Influencer Marketing on Instagram alone became a $1 Billion Industry.
However in 2017, Influencer Marketing isn’t just relegated to the celebrity world. Anyone with a smartphone and an Instagram account can be labelled as an “Influencer”, and while it’s one thing to have a lot of followers, it’s a whole other story to have the ability to move people to perform a specific action (eg. click through the link in your bio to make a purchase).
So, if your brand is looking to engage an Influencer to boost your campaign, which is certainly worth considering, here are five ways to ensure that the Influencer is actually influential.
Do The Math
Vanity metrics (followers and likes) are nice to have, but that doesn’t mean people are actually paying attention. By measuring the engagement of an Influencer, you can easily gauge the amount of interest that they generate in their posts. Sure, they may have 100,000 followers but if they only get 100 likes or comments on every post, that’s not a good sign that they a) have an engaged audience, b) that they can drive action and c) that their followers are even real (this is definitely something to watch out for).
You can measure an Influencer's engagement by sampling their last 20 posts, adding up the number of likes, comments and shares they receive per post, then dividing that by the amount of followers they have to come up with an engagement rate. What’s considered a “good engagement rate” is subjective, so we suggest you do the same calculation for your accounts and find an influencer that has a higher engagement rate than yours. Engagement rates act as a good indicator of what to expect in sales or conversions from a campaign, so if your account with an average engagement rate of 3% = x amount of sales, you can expect an influencer with a 6% engagement rate to double that result.
Find Out Who Their Followers Are
We were just talking about vanity metrics, but it gets a little bit deeper. Kim Kardashian may have tens of millions of followers across all her social media profiles, but she likely couldn’t move the same amount of people to purchase balls of yarn like the knitting Influencer with 10,000 followers. Looking to really nail down your target market? Consider using a Micro-Influencer for your campaign. These are generally people with modest followings but who are extremely valuable in their very specific niches. Micro-Influencer campaigns are becoming more and more popular because they’ve been found to have up to 60 percent higher campaign engagement rates.
Where it may seem counterproductive to target someone with a smaller following (say 10,000 instead of 10 million), studies have shown that as an influencer's number of followers increases, their number of likes and comments from followers decreases. There’s definitely a large incentive here for your brand to pay a niche Influencer with a much smaller follower count yet who has a higher engagement rate, and who can actually convert in their field. So, don’t underestimate the small guys!
Identify Their Niche
As we just discovered, niching is everything. The more an Influencer specializes in a particular subject, topic or product field, the more likely they are to convert. Throwing a wide net just doesn’t work; you need to get super granular to see success at Influencer Marketing.
And even more than simply specializing, there really has to be a genuine passion about what they’re promoting. Followers can tell when they’re being sold to, and if the Influencer is into something, they won’t ever have to ‘sell’ it - their excitement and passion will do all the work for them. That’s where real conversations happen and that’s where the true value lies. Someone with an engaged community of followers who loves what they do are who you should be looking to work with, not just someone with a decent following and a Flat Tummy Detox Tea in hand.
Would you hire an employee without a resume or reference check? Would you enter a business partnership without knowing the track-record or proven acumen of a potential business partner? We surely hope not. The same goes for Influencers. If you’re looking to dish out money or free product to someone you think might be influential in your industry, you need proof the campaign will be effective.
Ask the Influencer for their Press Kit, which should include information about their demographic, follower/engagement stats and metrics from previous campaigns. Go one step further and get them to screenshot stats from the insights of whichever social media platform you’re considering using for your campaign, and don’t be shy about it. If for some reason they aren’t able to provide you with information that should be integral to their business as an Influencer, they either don’t understand business or they’re sketchy. Either way, ditch them.
Check Their Reach
Is the Influencer limited to one network, or does their influence span across multiple platforms? Although there’s nothing wrong with those that dominate one platform, you’ll get more bang for your buck with an Influencer who can leverage multiple platforms to spread your brand’s message further.
In the beauty industry, Beauty Blogger Shayla is a great example of an Influencer who is able to activate an engaged audience across various networks. A campaign with her could not only include a product feature on Instagram to her 2.4 Million followers, but could also be expanded to a sponsored video on her YouTube Channel to a subscriber base of 395,000 people. Finding an Influencer who is able to dominate various networks will increase your opportunity to get in front of your target audience on their preferred platform.
Need help uncovering real Influencers in your brand space? Talk to us about putting together an Influencer strategy that makes sense for your business.