From popular celebrities like Kendall Jenner to high-profile bloggers like Damsel in Dior to YouTube stars like King Bach, there are “influencers” all around us in the social media world.
With the right social influencer in your corner, your brand could increase its social presence and revenue all while enhancing its overall connection with its community.
Who are influencers?
The question of all questions is what makes someone an actual influencer.
Influencers are individuals who can affect the purchase decisions of a brand’s audience due to their (real or perceived) authority, knowledge, position, or relationship within a specific field.
They are a trusted expert.
They are a credible source to their audience by being open, honest, and helpful, sharing insightful commentary and knowledge within their field.
They consistently produce quality content.
Their content contains valuable information that holds weight amongst peers and is produced in a form that is easy to find, easy to read, and easy to share.
They are strong communicators.
They know how to effectively communicate across different mediums, and often have a strong social circle to further their messages when needed. They’re natural conversationalists with an ever-expanding network, and post and share content far more than the average social media user.
They care about their followers and community.
They are passionate about their work and field. They’re naturally enthusiastic, eager to provide information to their audience and connect with other influencers and brands to further the spread of content.
If you can check off most of these, you’ve found an effective influencer! I say “most” of these because an influencer doesn’t need every single one of these qualities to be effective and useful for your brand.
Their following doesn’t have to be in the millions, but it should be substantial within their area of expertise. Be sure to check who their followers are. If you see a ton of non-active accounts, that means fake followers. A positive sign is if their followers include verified accounts with large followings themselves, as this helps validate their worth in their field and on social media.
Speaking of verified accounts, it’s a major perk for your brand if you can get an influencer who is verified. Not all influencers have or require this, but it’s a quick sign of authenticity that their audience and yours can see.
Whichever social media platform they use, there should be constant, positive engagement between the influencer and their audience. This can be comments, likes, shares, etc. Check out the ratio of followers to engagement on an influencer’s account, as this is another quick way to determine if they have a real or fake audience. For example, if an Instagram account with 50,000 followers only gets a few likes a post or barely any comments, there isn’t much “influence” happening.
This is lower on the list, as not all influencers have or need a website for what they do. For example, a YouTube star may just use their YouTube account along with a few other social media accounts to connect with their audience. However, if your brand wanted a blogger to discuss and share content for a campaign, a site would be necessary. An influencer’s website should be organized, user friendly, and have plenty of organic content. Also depending on your brand’s campaign, take note of the website’s ads and sponsored content in case any are by competitors you wouldn’t want your brand associated with.
This goes more for influencers who have websites and blogs, but verified badges from different blogger and influencer communities signify trustworthiness and authority. Check out the badges to see what, if any, requirements the influencer had to meet to get them. Some badges come from just signing up for a community site, whereas others are only given due to outstanding content or engagement within a field.
The first and most important thing to determine with a potential influencer is if their audience would even care about your brand. They should already be discussing what you want to pitch and have an audience similar to your brand’s target audience.
It’s important that your influencer is able to make their audience take action, from visiting your brand’s site to liking pages to purchasing featured products. In researching influencers, find past campaigns they’ve participated in and review their audience’s reaction.
Supports Campaign Goals
A strong influencer should support your campaign goals by driving the desired action. Start by listing the KPI’s you want the influence to contribute to such as increased email subscribers, increased site traffic, or direct sales. If you’re running a social media campaign, and an influencer only has a strong website but inactive social accounts, they won’t be able to help you hit your goals.
This isn’t as necessary but it can be helpful for an influencer to have experience with branded campaigns. Influencers who have worked on prior successful campaigns can bring knowledge to the table, providing insight and advice for your brand. However, there is a benefit to working with newer influencers as they may have fresh ideas for your campaign (and require less compensation).