By: Courtney Moser
Ten thousand and one, ten thousand and two… oh, never mind. We’re not even going to pretend that we know how many bloggers and social media users are online today. The total number is overwhelming and constantly increasing! With so many influencers out there, how do you know who to choose for a campaign? The truth is, there are a billion factors you could consider when choosing influencers to work with. A few key metrics will certainly make the search easier, but it’s also important to consider the big picture and ask: “Does this influencer make sense for my brand?”
When evaluating influencers, here are the six most important factors to consider, from the bottom up.
The most straightforward metric to rely on is blog traffic. If an influencer has a lot of daily visitors, then you can pretty much guarantee a certain amount of impressions. This is a great starting point and a metric that should always be considered, but it’s not the only thing you should look at. Plus, have you learned anything from banner ads? Impressions don’t necessarily mean high engagement or lead to conversions. There are a lot of other factors that comprise the big picture.
5. Social networks
One of the main reasons you shouldn’t depend solely on blog traffic is that influencers span many networks. It’s possible for an influencer to have a low or mediocre blog following, but have a huge social media reach on certain platforms. And social media can lead to high conversion rates. An influencer with an impressive social fan base could easily be more influential than an influencer with high blog traffic – it just depends on where your audience is and which platforms align with your goals.
4. Total Reach
The best of both worlds is total reach. To get this metric, you start by figuring out your influencers’ blog traffic or blog subscribers. Then, you add the social platforms they have a presence on – either combining total fans or getting more detailed insight from the influencers. Finally, calculate total reach and compare to other influencers. Prepare to be surprised: it’s possible for an influencer with an average following on many platforms to have a higher reach than an influencer with one stellar platform.
When you’re looking at total reach and traffic numbers, it’s vital to keep it all in perspective. Numbers don’t mean everything, and “celebrity” influencers aren’t always the way to go. It has to make sense for your brand to be real. As wisely said in this article, “Inauthenticity kills trust.”
As we said above, it’s not all about numbers (gasp!). An influencer can have a high reach but also a high bounce rate. If your campaign goals are more focused on engagement – if you’re measuring new subscriber comments or promoting an interactive contest – then this metric might be more important to you than reach.
To determine engagement, start with the influencer’s blog. Are people commenting? Does the influencer have email subscribers? These are all questions to ask if you’re considering working with an influencer. Then, move on to the social platforms. Are people commenting, liking, retweeting and sharing? Ask influencers for their engagement metrics to better understand their impact.
2. Fan demographics
Influencer marketing helps brands reach new consumers – and more importantly, targeted consumers. For the best results, you want to find influencers with a fan base who would love your brand. So, start with your own demographic data — what age groups, location and marital status make up your biggest customer segments? Next, find influencers who have an audience that falls in those specific targets.
If you’re a local brand, be sure to find influencers who have an active voice in your city or state. If your customers are often married with children, parenting bloggers might be a great fit. There are many ways to go about this, depending on how much you know about your segments and demographic data.
The most critical thing to consider when choosing influencers is whether or not the influencer’s content, interests and voice match the quality and goals of your brand. Content is king, always. An influencer with a high reach in an unrelated industry is much less effective than a small influencer with a passionate fan base in your industry. Make sure to choose relevant influencers who are developing high-quality content.
This advice from Forbes best illustrates the sum of all six factors: “Just because a person has an impressive number of followers, doesn’t mean they actually wield any real persuasive power. Take time to do a deep dive into the analytics to understand the influencer’s audience. Who are they? Are they engaged? How often? How does the influencer interact with her followers? What do they talk about? Is the relationship genuine? Would your brand make sense in their life?”
And remember: Before you launch a campaign, it’s important to outline specific campaign goals. With the right goals, metrics and content concepts in place, it will be a lot easier to choose influencers based on your campaign needs.
Of course, if you need help finding influencers, we’re available here at Find Your Influence.