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When brands want to find influencers for their social media marketing campaigns, there are some elements they must analyze before choosing who to collaborate with. 

You only want to work with influencers who can help you work towards your marketing goals, and this means thoroughly evaluating their profiles and performance-driven metrics.

Follower count

The number of followers an influencer has is probably the first thing you’ll notice about their profile. That doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the most important, although it does affect both an influencer’s reach and price.

Reach is the number of people that may see an influencer’s content. So obviously, the higher the follower count, the greater the reach. Yet, you have to also consider the quality of the followers who see the influencer’s content. Are they genuinely interested in that content? Will they engage with it? Or will they simply scroll past it?

As for price, influencer fees generally get higher the more followers a profile has. Top influencers can earn thousands (or more!) per post. If you’re a small business, collaborating with Cristiano Ronaldo or Kyle Jenner just isn’t realistic.

But thankfully, small brands can still take advantage of influencer marketing. Nano and micro influencers, who have 1-5K and 5-50K followers respectively, charge very little compared to their peers at the top. You can usually collaborate in exchange for free product alone or for fees of up to a few hundred dollars per post.

Follower growth

It’s also important to assess how an influencer attracted their followers over time. This data can give you a sense of whether or not the influencer’s follower growth has been organic or not. 

An example of follower growth mapped out visually. In this specific example, the slow and stable pace suggests organic growth.

Organic growth is slow and steady. It takes time, but those followers are more likely to stick around. If you see sudden spikes in followers when evaluating growth, you should dig deeper into the reasons why. Did the influencer recently go viral? Host a giveaway, which required participants to follow their account?

If there’s no logical explanation for a rapid surge in followers, those spikes could be showing you that the influencer bought fake followers. Influencer fraud is still a top concern among marketers, so make sure you check for any suggestion of it.

Engagement rate

Engagement rate is a formula that can show you the level of interaction between an influencer and their followers. To calculate it, add up all the interactions on a post, divide the sum by the number of followers, and multiply that number by 100. It’s better to take an average on a sample of posts to see the influencer’s overall engagement.

Why is engagement rate important to brands? Well, when followers like or comment on social media posts, it shows that they’re interested in that content. By extension, influencers with high engagement rates enjoy a sense of trust among their followers. We see this particularly with nano and micro influencers, who have high engagement averages and who followers trust as friendly experts in their dedicated niches.

But, one caveat: engagement varies by network and follower range. So don’t compare Instagram influencers with Youtube influencers, and don’t compare influencers with 5K followers with those with 50K.

Extreme engagement can also show you instances of influencer fraud. Very low engagement tells us that either people aren’t interested, or the influencer bought fake followers (who don’t actually interact with content). On the flip side, extremely high engagement probably means that the influencer bought fake likes, comments or other interactions. 

An influencer marketing platform will show you when an influencer’s engagement looks too good to be true.

Audience demographics and authenticity

Don’t just analyze influencers. Analyze their audiences, too. You want to make sure that the influencer’s followers mesh with the target audience you’ve established for your campaign. Check out their age, gender, interests, language and location. 

An audience location analysis can show you a breakdown of the countries where an influencer’s followers are based.

Also assess the authenticity of an influencer’s audience. Which percentage of followers look like they could be bots? This might be difficult to evaluate manually, but you could use an influencer marketing platform or ask the influencer you’re interested in for their internal performance metrics. 

Audience authenticity analysis, which shows that 12.23% of this influencer’s followers may be bots.

Whatever route you take, just make sure that a large portion of followers don’t look like automated computer programs. Bots won’t care about your brand or buy your products!

Profile content, voice and style

Finally, you want to find influencers who align with your brand. This can’t be measured in data, so you have to just get a feel for the influencer’s profile, voice and style. 

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Does the category of their content make sense with my brand and products?
  • Can this influencer’s voice accurately and appropriately share my message?
  • Does their aesthetic style fit with that of my brand?
  • Does this influencer uphold the values that my brand promotes?

Surfing influencer @acebuchanan and his profile content mesh perfectly with surfboard company JS Industries (@jsindustries1).

The key here is to aim for an authentic collaboration. Followers should be able to see how your brand and its products fit into the influencer’s content and interests. You don’t want to create a situation where the only visible link between your brand and an influencer is that you’ve paid them.

Last Words

When you want to find new influencers to collaborate with your brand, it takes a bit of legwork before you can make an informed decision. So check into their performance-driven metrics and get a sense for their profile, and choose influencers who align with your brand and can help you work towards your campaign goals.


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