Whether you’re on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube, chances are you’ve come across a sponsored post or recommended account from a so-called “influencer.” Influencers have become one of the biggest trends of digital marketing, owing much of its success to the popularity of social media and blogging, especially Instagram. According to BigCommerce, Instagram stands as the #1 most important social media channel for marketers, even more so than Facebook and YouTube. With more marketers opting to use influencers for their campaigns, it’s important to consider the best practices in choosing a great influencer that can help meet key objectives.
It isn’t enough to just pick out a random individual with a large follower count in a sea of influencers. There are certain factors that come into play so that you make the most of your campaigns. To help you get started, here a few ways you can choose the right influencer for your marketing efforts.
Always start with a niche.
Before choosing an influencer, think about what industry you’d like them to be in so that they can best represent your brand. Across social media, many influencers fall into different niches and focus their posts on specific topics like food, books, films, and lifestyle-related content. Depending on you or your client’s brand and overall goals, you need to choose an authentic individual that knows their industry in and out.
For instance, if you are creating campaigns for doggy treats, your best bet is searching for an established dog influencer that has a connection with their audience (many animal influencers do!). Authenticity is key to influencer marketing, and, as reported by Social Media Today, 90 percent of consumers agree. Make sure to maintain authenticity by working with an influencer that matches your industry.
Pay attention to sketchy practices.
Many marketers make the huge mistake of focusing on follower count when choosing an influencer. Unfortunately, a large following on social media means nothing in today’s current digital landscape. Some influencers cheat the system by using sketchy strategies to increase their follower count, such as buying fake followers or using Instagram pods to manipulate engagement stats on a new post. Take a look at beauty guru influencer, Lillee Jean who recently came under fire for using manipulative tactics to cheat Instagram’s algorithm and grow her follower count almost overnight.
Any of these strategies can bring detrimental results to your campaign, rendering it ineffective in accomplishing your marketing goals. Therefore, when searching for the right influencer, pay attention to how their follower count has grown over time, their engagement rates, hashtags used in posts, and their previous campaigns (if any). If you notice an influencer’s follower count has spiked overnight and receives little to no engagement on posts, they may be using sketchy methods. You should also avoid influencers that use hashtags such as “#likeforlike” or “#followforfollow” as these are also manipulative tactics to gain followers and engagement of no real value.
Steer clear of macro-influencers.
Influencers can be categorized into different subgroups based on their followings. Many influencers are divided between “macro-influencers” and “micro-influencers”, though the exact definition for what constitutes either category varies with each marketer. According to Kolsquare, macro-influencers are defined as the stars of their respective social media platforms, often reaching over 150,000 followers (if not more). Although these numbers sound impressive on paper, there are numerous downsides to using macro-influencers. On average, Later reports that these accounts “have an average engagement rate of 1.3%”, which is much lower than that of micro-influencers. Consumers also tend to distrust macro-influencers because they know when a post is sponsored.
On the other hand, micro-influencers tend to receive high engagement on their posts. This is likely due to their ability to maintain relatability with their followers. These individuals are also able to stay grounded in their niche community and aesthetic than those with bigger followings. Micro-influencers also tend to charge less—WebFX states that potential prices for micro-influencers range between $100-$1000 per post. By focusing on using micro-influencers for your campaigns, you can ensure that you obtain higher engagement from consumers.
There are countless reasons for using influencers in a marketing campaign. Influencers have helped brands increase brand recognition and sales among their consumer bases. However, please note that incorporating influencers in your campaign does not guarantee its success. Along with benefits, influencer marketing also comes with a number of disadvantages that can risk the reputation of you or your client’s brand. If you believe influencers are the best fit for your marketing efforts, don’t forget to be thoughtful and cautious in choosing the right influencer for the job.
Did you like this post? Check out my other blog, How to Create Engaging Text Ads for Google Search to learn how to optimize your Google ads for the best results.