As a small business, influencer marketing can be a quick and easy way to get your product in front of audiences who may not have known about you before. However, when many companies begin their influencer marketing, they go into it without having a solid idea of what a good influencer for their campaign is, simply accepting everyone that asks them for a free product. In order to assess whether or not an influencer is good for your campaign, ask the following questions:
- Does that influencer represent my buyer niche?
- Is the influencer using “cheats” to inflate their following or engagement?
- Is their photo quality representative of something that I would want to post on my page?
- Can I afford the influencer if they ask to be paid?
1. Does that influencer represent my buyer niche?
An influencer is not going to convert if you do not have a good knowledge of your current customers. One mistake I made when I was initially recruiting influencers for a campaign was I was targeting the correct niche, but the wrong age of influencer who would be purchasing the product. Once I began pursuing older influencers with an older following, I went from having single posts with no conversions, to influencers who posted with double digit conversions – and no change in follower count or engagement rate.
2. Is the influencer using “cheats” to inflate their following or engagement?
It can be relatively easy to figure out which influencers have fake followings and engagement with a little bit of looking. Social Blade is a great place to figure out whether or not an instagram profile has a fake follower account, because you can see their daily follower/following stats. If there’s an uncharacteristically large surge in followers on one day, or you see consistent following and unfollow amounts in the hundreds, then you can hedge your bets on that account using bots to increase their following or paying for their following.
Another quick thing to notice is whether or not they have an uncharacteristically large amount of comments on their posts for their following (say 1k followers with 100 comments). That could indicate the use of engagement pods, which is another way that influencers artificially inflate engagement.
3. Is their photo quality representative of something that I would want to post on my page?
Definitely check out similar influencer content on their page to determine if their quality is worth recruiting them. If they’re simply taking selfies with the product, this may mean that they’re less skilled at photography shots or do not have good camera equipment. As an influencer myself, I had to learn this the hard way.
Make sure your influencers know how to take advantage of lighting, photo editing apps, and tripods so that the posts that they make are good enough for you to repurpose into your feed. I would go so far as to say that the photo quality of an influencer’s page is more important than follower count, because there are things that you can do (like whitelisting) to promote influencer posts that do not require a high follower count for conversions.
4. Can I afford the influencer if they ask to be paid?
This question is also highly based on the MSRP of what you are offering to influencers for collaboration. If your product retails for $500, then it’s more likely that people are going to be willing to do in-kind partnerships. Conversely, if you’re only going to send $20 worth of product, then you can prepare for influencers to ask to be paid. Especially for higher-quality photos and content, many influencers charge for posts.
That being said, most influencers are going to usually upsell themselves at their first quote. To figure out whether the price they’re offering is fair based on their following, search this Instagram money calculator. I regularly use this when I’m negotiating with influencers for payment.
What other questions should brands be asking to evaluate influencers? Let me know in the comments. If you are currently working on revamping your influencer marketing strategy, send me an email – I’d love to work with you!