Influencer marketing is a strategy that is widely used, but the rules of how one should go about finding and ranking influencers are still unclear.
An “influencer” is someone with a public profile who you believe will have a positive impact on your brand by being associated with it. They might help spread word of your brand to new audiences, increase your sales and help you stand out from the competition.
If your influencer has a high number of followers on social media, which is usually the case, then it follows that your products will have high visibility when shared through the influencer’s channels. For many brands, this simple association is enough when they are trying to find the right influencers to work with. The truth is that follower counts, no matter how impressive, simply represent one dimension of influencer marketing. There are others, and they matter for getting the most optimal results from your influencer partnerships.
Here are some things you should definitely be paying attention to when navigating the world of influencer marketing:
1. The Theme of the Influencer’s Account
While the general area of the influencer’s interests does not have to align with your brand exactly, they should at least be related enough that you’re reaching an audience who is primed to develop an affinity for your brand. For example, if your business is travel or hospitality-related, then a great pool of influencers for your brand will be people who are publicly passionate about exploring the world. When you expand beyond that initial pool, you should look at influencers who are active in adjacent industries. Makeup or fashion-focused influencers can project a certain lifestyle that their followers might want to emulate, including their travel destinations, choice in airline or hotels. Depending on the type of audience you are trying to reach, it is critical that you choose an influencer who has at least an indirect association with your industry.
2. The “Type” of Followers an Influencer Has
Raw follower counts can be misleading because there’s no guarantee that these followers are authentic accounts with a real human being behind the computer. Followers can be “bot” accounts: automated profiles which are programmed to interact with or produce social media content online. These days, swarms of these bot accounts can be purchased by influencers to give brands the impression that they have a very wide reach. These accounts will retweet, like or react to the social media contents these influencers produce, giving the impression that this influencer’s contributions are being received well. Over time, detecting bot accounts and their activity has become more complicated (see our associated white paper on the subject at Download Whitepaper). In detecting bot accounts, the date of the account’s creation relative to its output, the uniqueness of the social media contents it produces, the lack of personal detail and many other factors play a role in determining the authenticity of a social media account.
3. Interaction Rate and Target Audience
When choosing an influencer to work with, one important factor to take into consideration is the interaction rate. If an influencer’s followers do not seem to respond to the regular material the influencer produces through their comments, likes, retweets or reactions, then it might be indicative that the influencer is not as currently relevant as their high follower count would have you believe.
When audiences do participate through an influencer’s channel, one should pay attention to their common characteristics. For example, if you are searching for an influencer to promote a perfume brand, would your aim be to reach more women or men? Which age range would be more important to you? Would you want to reach people who have already shown interest in a competing perfume brand or people who are becoming interested in perfumes for the first time? When selecting an influencer, you should try to answer these questions regarding their audience in a way that suits the goals of your campaign.
Choosing an Influencer for Tennis
One of our clients is a major sponsor of tennis. They decided to use the eBrandValue platform to find and rank influencers who would help them achieve their specific brand goals.
Their first step was to find all of the tennis players who had the potential to convert audiences within their sector by switching their brand affinity from a competing brand to theirs. After detecting this initial pool of players, the platform was used to predict the specific brand affinity-switching impact each of these players could have relative to the amount of influence they had in the brand’s specific sector. Following this ranking of online influence, the platform’s online/real-life customer count relationship KPIs were used to model how these players’ online influence might translate to offline audiences. Based on these calculations, the tennis players were ranked by their potential ROI, a sample of which is shown on an index of 100 below.
While follower counts should be taken into consideration when choosing influencers, they are only one part of a larger puzzle. The more data you have, the more you can optimize your influencer selection for your particular brand, set of products and campaign goals. eBrandValue’s author-based approach makes it easy to collect, process and study the information relevant to finding and ranking the influencers that are right for you and your projects.