With 500 million Instagram users, 1 billion YouTube users, and 1.65 billion people on Facebook, there is no small shortage of influencers or people being influenced out there.
Within this thriving ecosystem exist tens of thousands of powerful personalities with more than 10,000 followers, all ready, willing, and able to promote your brand.
How then are you supposed to separate the wheat from the chaff and pick out the handful of influencers who are best?
Extremely careful qualification, that’s how!
The downsides to getting it wrong, after all, are more than just wasted marketing dollars: the wrong influencers can damage your brand’s reputation and set you back some social capital, as large brands like Microsoft and Time Warner recently learned. You need to team up with ethical, effective, and professional influencers who are going to increase your brand awareness, traffic, and revenue without a trip to the supreme court.
It’s thusly important to have very strict criteria when choosing your influencers!
Here are the top 4 Criteria for Choosing the Perfect Influencer:
1.History of creating relevant, high quality content
Past behavior is an excellent predictor of future performance in influencer marketing. Those with the greatest ability to create high quality content that promotes your brand will have done it before for others and luckily for you, their portfolio is by-definition, on display. Peruse their accounts to see that they are consistently eye-catching and engaging.
Success in this realm isn’t necessarily about great pictures, videos, likes, comments, or shares: it’s an artful combination of all of the above. It is always possible for people to amass a very large following which is entirely hollow, built from in-organic or purchased followers. In this case, the profile in question doesn’t really strike a chord with any real people and doesn’t have any power to influence. Just take a look at these two, for example. See the difference?
Truly engaging Influencers achieve viral content engagement organically, and the tell-tale signs are high shares, lots of relevant comments, friends tagging other friends, and enthusiastic responses.
2.Similar audience demographics
What would you rather have: 1 paying customer or 10 non-paying customers?
This is the question you should be asking yourself when you try to balance finding the right influencers versus finding the influencers with the biggest followings. Bigger isn’t always better and many times, gargantuan audiences can be misaligned, inactive, or poorly targeted, and your advertising there can have little to no impact on them.
For example, if you were to advertise luxury men’s watches with Justin Bieber (not probable, but let’s just say) purely on account of his 75 million followers, your ads would likely fall flat among his primarily young teen female audience.
Instead, focus on the right demographics. As long as they have at least 10,000 followers, they’re a candidate. Also remember that you’re not necessarily trying to find influencers who look like your audience, but ones who your audience are likely to follow and be influenced by. People often follow people of the opposite sex, and people’s audiences can often be much older than they are. Along those lines, here are some criteria on which to evaluate their audience:
Category (style/beauty/health, life hacks, opinion, aspirational lifestyle, etc.)
Size of following
Frequency of posting
3.Excitement and passion for your brand
If you’ve got something worth talking about, odds are that people already are! Even if it’s not your product in particular, there are already thousands of Influencers vLogging, writing, posting, and tweeting about your industry and your niche. It’s those Influencers who are already well-versed advocates with great talk-tracks and personal insights who are going to perform the best.
An easy way to explore top influencers on these topics is to search top content on those various channels. Search twitter and Instagram for hashtags used on content that you’d like to replicate, and see who is using them. Search YouTube for similar videos, and see if some names come up more often than others.
All of this of course takes time, which is why influencer platforms exist. They provide a suite of software that pre-selects influencers based on your requirements, pre-vets them, and allows you to request proposals to narrow down that universe of possibility to just a handful of those most qualified.
You might think this one would go without saying, but unfortunately it doesn’t. As recent FTC interest shows, audiences have a legitimate interest in knowing what is sponsored and what is not. The FTC has in fact published guidelines to this effect.
Beyond legality however, it’s just good business. Influencers need to disclose their relationships to brands in order to maintain the trust of their followers. When their brand is authenticity, nothing can cause a mass exodus like appearing inauthentic. When choosing influencers, make sure that they are properly mentioning their sponsors and using #ad tags.
Putting it all together
What should an effective Influencer look like after all of this selection? Like your best customer! They should be highly skilled at creating credible, newsworthy, and viral content, and have done it before. They should have an audience with demographics that match your target audience. And of course they should come fully imbued with the passion to promote your products!
Do all of this and you’re on the right track to find the best influencers for your brand!
Have you seen what an influencer platform can do yet? If not, request a demo of Revfluence today!