It is no secret that customers are tired of ads and prefer to use the opinion of someone they trust. 81% of consumers are prompted to buy from online reviews. That makes businesses look for people who are trusted by their target audiences and try to engage them in brand promotion. In 2017, Google searches for ‘influencer marketing’ more than doubled.
However, finding the right influencer remains a challenge. In the recent study by Econsultancy, 73% of marketers reported struggling with the choice of influencers who would successfully fit the campaign. Our FAVOR checklist can help you spend your influencer budget on the right individuals.
Table of Contents:
Who Are Social Media Influencers?
To put it simply, influencers are active individuals on social media, who are seen as experts in particular field, be it beauty, cooking or travel. There are micro-influencers (from 1,000 to 10,000 followers), macro-influencers (from 10,000 to 100,000 followers) and mega-influencers (over 100,000 followers). Large numbers are not always better. First of all, celebs with millions of followers will charge a fortune and drain your budget. Meanwhile, only a tiny fraction of their huge audience is likely to take interest in your product. Compare that to a micro-influencer who writes lots of posts about your industry and therefore 100% of their readers are your potential customers. Secondly, influencers with the smallest numbers of followers have the highest engagement rates and engagement easily converts into purchases. In a recent study, micro-influencers were found to be asked for an advice on which product to buy 22 times as frequently as a typical user. Moreover, 82% of consumers reported that they used to follow this advice. This is why you could boost your sales by collaborating only with micro-influencers, particularly if you are operating in a niche market.
Choosing The Right Influencer (Favor):
The first thing to check about influencers is how often they post. The rule of thumb to choose those worth your money is one Facebook post, one or two posts on Instagram or 15 tweets per day. If an influencer updates their page less often, their audience is likely to shrink over time as fewer people will return to check for new posts (and see your promotion!). On the other hand, if an influencer posts too much content, their readers will feel overloaded and unfollow.
The next thing is the ratio of sponsored content to all their posts. It is better for you when an influencer does not run too many other promotions, particularly those of rival products. If they promote seldom, their story about your brand will stand out and capture more of their readers. However, not seeing any sponsored content or hash-tagged brands on the page is an outright red flag. Most likely, this influencer does not accept any collaborations.
Pay attention to how the influencer’s posts about other promoted items are written. Are they engaging stories about their personal experiences, rather than dullish product reviews? It is useful to search the blogger’s page for any past mentions of your brand. They may already be your fan – that makes for a perfect opportunity! The shoe brand Sperry identified 100 micro-influencers on Instagram who were already posting the images of its shoes. Involving these users into collaboration, the brand achieved impressive gains at a meagre cost.
Reading the influencer’s archive of posts for at least a month back is helpful to answer the question: will people believe that this person can truly use and love your product? A real blunder is presenting a vegan with a fur jacket or an aero-phobe with a discounted flight, but even a more subtle mismatch can do your brand some damage. For example, you may be looking for a fitness blogger to promote a protein shake and you find one right in your target demographics, but your product has a lemon taste that she dislikes and has mentioned many times in her previous writing. To avoid such problems, it is a good idea to do as much research as possible on your chosen influencers.
Another unpleasant scenario is when the influencer has already expressed admiration for a rival brand. If even they agree to promote you now, their audience may refuse to believe that the ad is genuine and could mean that this influencer is not worth your money. Better not to approach this influencer – and praise yourself for taking care to find it out in advance.
Apart from how well your product fits into the blogger’s lifestyle, it is worth checking what kind of person they are and how close their values are to those of your brand. The easiest way to obtain this information is by reading their posts, although some degree of risk pertains anyway. If the influencer gets involved in a scandal, your brand’s reputation may be damaged. One recent example is the customer outrage over the post by Sondos Alqattan, a Kuwaiti beauty influencer, about her treatment of household workers. The brands collaborating with Sondos – M.A.C, Shiseido and Max Factor Arabia – were flooded with complaints about her inappropriate behaviour and had to terminate the relationship.
An influencer’s outreach is more than just numbers. The main thing is how many of their readers are likely to take interest in your offer. You can use a special online service to check how often a relevant key word is mentioned on the blog followers’ pages. For example, if you are selling ski boots, search the word ‘skiing’. The more mentions, the more real customers you can gain through collaboration.
The next thing to consider is how well the influencer’s audience responds to promotions. Read the comments under their posts recommending specific products. Are people thanking the influencer for information or are they annoyed by too blatant or too frequent promotions? This can give you a good insight as to how they will react to your brand story.
Finally, you will want to avoid influencers whose followers are mostly fake. The audience breakdown into ‘probably real’ and ‘suspicious’ accounts can be easily obtained on special websites. Just copy the link to the influencer’s profile into the search bar.
The influencer’s genuine and trustful relationships with their audience are key to success in the influencer marketing. Basically, it is what makes them useful to you. The quality of relationships can be evaluated by how many likes, shares and comments the influencer’s posts get on average. You can calculate the engagement ratio by dividing the average number of likes by the number of followers and multiplying by 100 percent. In a recent investigation on Instagram influencers, 2% was established as the median engagement rate so anything close to or exceeding this number is good. An engagement rate of over 7.5% is exceptional and places the influencer among the top 10%. Beware of much higher rates –those have most likely been boosted by unreliable techniques.
Using the FAVOR checklist, you can navigate the sea of influencers who seem more or less fitting to eventually land your best choice. Choosing the right person is the hardest part. If you do get it right, no major issues are likely to arise in arranging and running the promotion. Just one final tip – allowing the influencer freedom to create their own story rather than provide them with content can prove to be greatly beneficial. The influencer-written story will have their unique voice for which they are loved by their audience. It is likely to be trusted for its authenticity and link to their personal experiences.
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