There’s no denying that influencer marketing is becoming increasingly popular across all industries. And when done well, working with influencers, experts and bloggers on social media campaigns can have a valuable ROI. It has in fact been shown that many people trust influencers they follow as much as they do their own friends and family.
The key to a successful campaign is choosing the right people to work with.
With increasing numbers of individuals and companies online ready to take your money in return for promoting or reviewing your products, it can be difficult to pick the wheat from the chaff.
The days of choosing accounts with large follower numbers to ensure high visibility are gone. Algorithms for most social media platforms dictate that the posts with the best engagement rates are the ones shown the most, with follower numbers lower down the list of metrics.
There is also a growing number of companies who ‘sell’ followers, which are usually fake accounts with no benefit as an audience for your products. Influencers can also buy engagement, so checking engagement rates isn’t always a foolproof way of identifying fraudulent accounts, but it might be worth checking out the comments section. How many of the comments are irrelevant emojis and how many are meaningful messages?
It sounds like there are pitfalls every step of the way, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.
Our top tips for avoiding potential risks include:
Checking engagement rate
If an account has a high number of followers, but very low engagement rates, the chances are they have bought a percentage of those followers, who aren’t engaging or even seeing any of the content.
Check follower growth
Accounts with organic growth will have a steady increase with occasional small spikes and dips. Those accounts who are buying followers or engagements will show large spikes at irregular intervals. There are lots of free online tools which can check this for you, such as Social Blade.
Check follower location
This is difficult to ascertain yourself, but you can contact influencers/accounts and ask for a screen grab of their audience locations.
This is a good way to identify fake followers – if an account is UK-focussed and has a large number of Asian followers, for example, the likelihood is that those have been bought if there is no content which would attract that kind of audience.
Checking follower location is also important to ensure you are engaging with the right audience for your brand – If your products are only available in the UK, there’s little point using an influencer with mainly US followers, even if they have huge follower number and great engagement.
Random follower checks
This can be a bit time consuming, but worth it. Pick out a few random follower accounts and check for those with low followers, who are following high numbers of accounts, have little or no posts, and often generic, or missing profile pictures. If there are lots of these, they are likely to be paid for followers.
Once you’ve weeded out accounts with possible fake stats…
Our top tips for finding the right influencers for your brand are:
Choose the right ones for your budget
Not all budgets will allow for the top influencers in your chosen sector, but don’t despair. There are levels of influencers, and sometimes you’ll find the micro-influencers (those with 1,000 to 10,000 followers) have a great engagement rate and a dedicated and focussed group of followers. Often the micro influencers will have lower rates and can also be keener to work with brands to get a good portfolio of work behind them, especially if they are just starting out.
Define your goals
It can be easy to be swept away by beautiful images, large follower numbers or engagement rates, when searching for influencers, but keep in mind the key targets for your campaign and choose accounts accordingly. If you want to engage your audience and start dialogues about the product benefits, make sure you are working with influencers who are happy to respond to comments and chat to those commenting on their posts.
If you are looking for gorgeous lifestyle images, find those who are keen photographers and content creators. This makes it much easier to justify your spend at the end of the campaign.
Hashtags are powerful search tools in social media, particularly on Instagram.
Find out what your target consumer is searching for and using in relation to your product sector, and then find accounts who are using those hashtags regularly. The chances are that alone will bring up some great matches.
Another way to find new bloggers, influencers, and experts to work with on social media, is to send a shout out. You will be inundated with responses, so be ready for that, but it’s a valuable way to find accounts which are interested in what you do, and match with your values.
Hashtags such as #BloggersWanted or #PRrequest will mainly be met with replies from large numbers of micro-influencers. Whereas more focussed hashtags relevant to your brand will bring a smaller targeted response.
Look at previous sponsored content
The benefits of checking through previous campaign work are two-fold. You need to be sure the influencers you are looking to work with haven’t worked with any competitor brands. But also, you can get a good idea of the work they will put in for their fees and how they carry out briefs.
If you do your research and find an influencer or team of influencers who are right for your brand, this kind of communication can be a strong addition to your marketing campaign and reap great rewards. They will often become key partners for your company and can be a valuable asset for long term collaborations.
If you have any questions about influencer marketing, do not hesitate to drop us a line on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to help you out!