How to find influencers: How experts do it and key metrics
The influencers you select to promote your brand can have a huge impact on whether or not your marketing campaign is a success. That’s why it’s so important to put in the groundwork beforehand to make sure they are a good fit. And that means taking a number of factors into consideration, not just the number of followers a potential influencer might have.
With this in mind, we have created this “How to find influencers” step-by-step guide to help you understand what the experts look for when they search for the right advocate for their brand or product.
Ultimately, it comes down to three key questions:
Do the influencers’ audience match your brand’s target audience? Does their content align with your brand values? Is their data promising in terms of engagement?
Let’s dive in.
The first step to consider in this “How to find influencers” guide is the audience. Take a look at the demographics of your potential influencer’s following. What is their location, age, gender, and language? Do their demographics align with those of your target audience? If they don’t then the collaboration is unlikely to be a good match.
It’s also important to take a look at the content an influencer is sharing. Do they follow an effective influencer marketing strategy? Do their values align with your own? For example, if you are promoting a cruelty-free brand then you probably don’t want to pick an influencer who vocally dislikes animals.
The same goes for any brands they may have promoted in the past, or any hashtags they might regularly use. Make sure their persona aligns with your core brand messaging. If it doesn’t, then it’s probably best to go back to the influencer database drawing board.
The next factor to consider is performance. You want the influencer you choose to deliver results, especially if they are charging a sizable fee for promoting your brand. Whether this means looking at awareness, engagement or conversions will depend on your campaign goals. What’s most important for you?
The best way to gauge performance is by reviewing influencer metrics. This includes follower count, estimated reach and impressions, and engagement rate. You also need to make sure an influencer’s fan base is real. In other words, that they don’t have fake followers.
Let’s take a look at this in a bit more detail.
How many followers do they have? Are they a micro-influencer or a nano-influencer? Generally speaking, the bigger the audience and reach, the more costly an influencer is likely to be. Having said that though, higher numbers of followers aren’t necessarily always a good thing.
For example, if your primary goal is raising brand awareness, then you might be better suited to a macro-influencer as they can reach more potential customers. However, if you have a niche product then you might get better results if you opt for a micro-influencer with a smaller but more specialized audience that aligns better with your brand. Less is sometimes more.
Even larger companies can harness the power of nano- and micro-influencers by involving several of these content creators in a campaign. Keep in mind, however, that brands may have to work with quite a few (100+) of these influencers to have the desired reach. Basically, it’s worth it to consider all types of influencers before committing to any one in particular.
Reach vs. impressions
You also need to check metrics relating to reach vs impressions. To clarify, reach is the number of unique people who see a post, whereas impressions is the number of times a post appears on someone’s feed.
Put simply, the rate of impressions doesn’t necessarily equate to greater reach, as people can see the same post multiple times. To the same effect, a high reach doesn’t necessarily mean that users have paid attention to your post. You’ll get a much clearer idea of how effective an influencer might be by also taking into account their engagement rate.
This is perhaps the most important metric when it comes to deciding how to find influencers for your brand. How active and engaged is an influencer’s audience? How many likes and comments do they receive on average compared to total followers? This will give you a much clearer idea of how far your message could potentially go with a given influencer. After all, there’s no point in paying for a “popular” influencer if they are not able to command the attention of their audience with your brand.
Engagement rate is also a great way to determine how much of an influencer’s audience has been padded out with fake followers or bots. Fortunately, there are tools like Influencity that help you see the reality of an influencer’s audience, giving you an accurate percentage. You should always work with influencers who have at least 85% real followers.
Frequency / Saturation rate
The final point we are going to look at in this “How to find influencers” guide is post frequency and saturation rate.
So, what do we mean by this?
Put simply, how often does an influencer post sponsored? Too often? Not often enough?
Remember, people follow influencers for their organic content, not their promotional posts. They want to be entertained or learn something new. If an influencer’s is feels over-saturated with ads and paid publications, then their audience might disengage.
The key here is finding the right balance between genuine content and posts that advocate specific brands. Too little, and your message won’t come across; too much and you risk scaring aware potential customers.