Influencer Marketing – Just How Influential Is Your Influencer?
More and more brands are seeking influencers to help them expand their reach into new areas. Those influencers have tens of thousands, even millions, of followers, and they’re primed to trust what they’re shown or told. Social media has given rise to this phenomenon, and influencer marketing is the offshoot of online product promotions and business launches.
Influencers sell their, well, influence, to marketers who attempt to use that leverage to build virality, or to bolster interest and profitability. The problem is that not all influencers are created equal. Not only are there obvious differences in audience size and makeup, but some so-called influencers actually have little to no power to sway those who follow them.
Anyone today can buy followers. In fact, apps and bots have been around for years that exist for no other reason than to auto-follow accounts and then auto-unfollow them. This allows people to build what seems like very large audiences in a short period of time without actually having to be popular or to offer anything of value.
Most people will follow back when someone follows them, particularly if that account seems to be owned by an influencer. It creates a self-feeding cycle. However, there’s a way to avoid making the mistake of investing in these faux-influencers – check their engagement levels.
Read the influencer’s last 20 or 30 posts or tweets. Figure out how many shares, likes, and comments there are, and then divide that by the number of followers the account has. This gives you a rough idea of how engaged the audience is and whether you would benefit from partnering with the influencer.
Check Their Followers
Again, there is a lot of fraud in the world of social media, particularly given how lucrative it can be to become an influencer. In order to help avoid this pitfall, it is necessary to dig into the followers of any influencer you’re considering working with. For instance, suppose the influencer was involved in the food industry, but the majority of their likes and shares came from people not part of their follower base. This is a sign that there’s an app at work to boost the influencer’s engagement numbers.
The Myth of More Followers
There’s an idea out there that the more followers an influencer has the better suited they are to a business. That’s simply not the case. Consider movie star Chris Hemsworth. He has millions of followers, but do you think he could influence his audience to buy a new mountain bike the same way that someone intimately involved in the mountain biking industry would?
No, he couldn’t. It’s important for brands to consider more than just the number of followers and overall engagement. Industry or niche fit and recognition is a more important metric. These so-called micro-influencers might not have millions of followers, but their endorsement will help you sell more of your product than would otherwise be possible.
How transparent is the influencer with their audience? How authentic and genuine are they? This can be a difficult metric to measure, but it can be done. You’ll need to scroll through the influencer’s feed and take a look at their interaction with their audience. If there is little or no interaction, that’s a red flag. However, if there are interactions but they seem stilted, fake, forced, or if their communication style and tone aren’t consistent, then you can bet that they’re not genuine.
Tools of the Trade
In order to vet potential influencers for your brand to partner with, you’ll need to use the right tools. Google is one of them. Simply conduct a search with the influencer’s name or username. If it doesn’t show up in the results, that’s a bad sign. Instagram also offers a convenient way to assess the value and quality of an influencer through the network’s “About This Account” tool, which gives you access to information like the influencer’s location, join date, and more. There are other tools out there that can help you delve into an influencer’s worth to you, reach with their audience, and other important metrics. FollowerWonk is one, and BuzzSumo is another.
How Will You Measure Results?
You also need to consider how you’ll measure the success of any campaign you conduct with an influencer. It’s not just about direct conversion from tweets or posts to sales. You also need to gauge brand recognition, market share growth, and the like. Without an accurate way to measure the results of your campaign, you’ll be completely in the dark about the value an influencer delivered.
Influencer Marketing can be a Powerful Tool
In the end, influencer marketing can be a powerful tool to boost your success. However, not all influencers are of equal value and it’s up to you to determine which ones are the best fit for your marketing needs.