Want to boost your brand reputation? Influencers can help. As a trusted source in their respective industries, influencers hold sway over how people feel about businesses and products.
In fact, a recent Matter Communications study proves just that. According to the study, 61% of respondents were likely to trust recommendations coming from friends and family as well as influencers.
And 82% have even taken some kind of action after seeing friends, family, and influencers post about a product. This can mean researching the product, considering buying it, and actually purchasing it.
So the verdict is in – influencers have clout.
When they vouch for you, you’re likely to win the trust of their target audience. For this reason, it’s crucial that you partner with influencers who are right for your brand. Otherwise, you’ll just end up spending money on influencers who don’t deliver.
Places to find influencers
A good article to read to start you journey is this one by Alexa. It organizes the tools and techniques you'll need: https://ahrefs.com/blog/find-influencers/
Once you've done that, explore these sites below to learn more:
Characteristics to look for in an influencer
Consider the following characteristics to make sure you find the best influencers for your brand.
- They should be relevant to your target audience
- They should have enough reach to fulfill your campaign goals
- They should be great at engaging their audience
- They should be authentic
- They should be consistent in creating high-quality content
They should be relevant to your target audience
How would you feel if your favorite YouTube channel suddenly started promoting luxury clothing when it’s always been about food recipes? It would seem off and awkward, wouldn’t it?
That’s what happens when you don’t partner with influencers who are relevant to your brand and ultimately, your target audience.
Make sure you work with influencers who have actual influence on the people you want to reach. Look for people who are:
- Creating content related to your industry
- Leading conversations on topics relevant to your industry
- Influential on the platforms you want to use
- Relatable to your target audience or considered experts in their field
For example, the skincare brand Biossance stands for having a sustainable, clean approach to skin care, while upholding values of self-love and inclusiveness. They found an influencer-brand match made in social media heaven in Jonathan Van Ness. The Queer Eye’s beauty expert uses his unique content style to promote Biossance to his 5+million followers.
In order to discover the most influential voices in your niche, try using a social listening platform to uncover conversations and influential voices.
Platforms like Keyhole let you discover highly relevant influencers through hashtag tracking. This allows you to track hashtags relevant to your brand, industry, and products. It then helps you narrow down on accounts that are leading the conversation surrounding those hashtags.
They should have enough reach to fulfill your campaign goals
How many people do you hope to reach through your influencer marketing campaign? Do you have any specific numbers in mind for your campaign goals? Consider all of these factors to narrow down on influencers who have enough reach to help you achieve those goals.
Let’s say you want to double your following and you already have 100,000 subscribers. In this case, it doesn’t make sense to work with micro-influencers who have a total of 100,000 subscribers between them. Instead, you’ll have to look for influencers who have a larger following than you.
However, if your goal is to reach a small, niche audience and build a strong connection with them, micro-influencers are the obvious choice.
Influencer discovery tools like Influence.co have a robust filtering system to find influencers with a specific following size. For example, you can search for health influencers in New York with at least 10,000 followers but no more than 800,000.
They should be great at engaging their audience
Some influencers just have great-looking photos but aren’t very good at keeping their audience engaged. People like to see their photos but they won’t really stop to engage with their posts. And they might not have any real interest in hearing their opinions about brands, products, or even trending topics.
In other words, those influencers aren’t really influencing people’s purchase decisions.
Unfortunately, there’s no tool to help you analyze this metric. Engagement rate calculators only look at the numbers but not the actual quality of engagement.
So you need to manually go through the captions and comments on an influencer’s posts. Plus, you need to check out the types of posts and Stories they’re creating. Ask questions like:
- Are they creating content that their followers want to engage with?
- How are people responding to their posts?
- Are they responding to comments?
- Do they write captions that encourage engagement?
- How often do they talk about trending topics and current events?
A manual review of the influencer’s content will help you get answers to these questions. And ultimately, it can give you an idea of how good the influencer is at engaging their audience.
@shinewithplants is an excellent example of an influencer who’s great at engaging her audience. See the following posts in which she shares her grocery haul and asks people about their whole, plant-based staples.
Her followers enthusiastically shared their top choices. And she responded to most of them, which shows that she wasn’t just asking for the sake of asking.
They should be authentic
The prevalence of influencer fraud has made it challenging to narrow down on influencers with real influence. Some would go to the extent of buying fake followers to appear as influencers on social media. Many have even bought fake likes and comments through bots and comment pods.
Although platforms like Instagram continue to crack down on these fraudulent engagement tactics, some still manage to find a workaround. So it’s crucial to follow a thorough vetting process to make sure prospective influencers have authentic influence.
First of all, calculate the influencer’s engagement rate to measure their average engagement rate. This gives you a brief overview of how much engagement the influencer typically gets for their posts. A common way to calculate engagement rate per post is: Total engagements on a post / Total followers *100.
You can also run an influencer audit using tools like the Fake Follower Checker. This analyzes Instagram accounts to see if they have alarming numbers of bot followers.
They should be consistent in creating high-quality content
Another factor to consider is consistency. Are they regularly creating new content to keep their audience engaged? Do they continue to maintain consistency in terms of quality?
Don’t forget to take all this into consideration because you want to make sure you’re working with influencers who are “current.” And you want to make sure they can maintain the same content quality for your partnership.
Looking at their overall feed aesthetic should give you a fair idea of their consistency. Do they keep their feed uniform by following the same color scheme and mood?
For instance, check out the influencer’s feed below and see how there’s a coherent mood and color scheme. Everything’s peaches and pink with a warm yet muted tone, giving off a sense of peace and nurture.
Next, you should also look at the content they’ve created for previous (or existing) brand partners. Do they manage to keep the quality and voice consistent? Can they naturally fit in sponsorships with their organic posts?
Take a look at how they have worked with other brands to get an idea of their usual content quality, copy, style, and engagement. This will help you set expectations for the content quality from your influencers.
Win with the right influencers
Relevance, reach, engagement quality, authenticity, and consistency are all crucial elements to consider in influencers. Take these into consideration and you can find influencers who aren’t just great for your marketing but also for brand reputation.
What should you consider when finding influencers for your brand?
They should be relevant to your target audience. They should have enough reach to fulfill your campaign goals. They should be great at engaging their audience. They should be authentic. They should be consistent in creating high-quality content.
How can I find influencers relevant to my target audience?
Look for people who are creating content related to your industry, leading conversations on topics relevant to your industry, influential on the platforms you want to use, and relatable to your target audience or considered experts in their field.
How do I know if an influencer engages their audience?
You need to manually go through the captions and comments on an influencer’s posts. Plus, you need to check out the types of posts and Stories they’re creating. Ask questions like: Are they creating content that their followers want to engage with? How are people responding to their posts? Are they responding to comments? Do they write captions that encourage engagement? How often do they talk about trending topics and current events?