Working with social media influencers is already familiar to many brands and it continues to evolve and grow. The global influencer marketing industry is expected to grow from $6 billion in 2020 to $24.1 billion by 2025. That’s huge!

This marketing strategy can be highly rewarding for your company no matter what your budget is. You just need to be smart about it.

Do numbers matter? 

You might have heard of different types of influencers: nano, micro, macro and celebrities. To find out more about them, take a look at our article where we cover types of influencers and why we work with them.

But does the number of followers actually matter? Let me cut to the chase - it doesn’t.

If their audience isn’t likely to be interested in your brand, then the influencer’s content about your products or services won’t lead to many engagements or conversations. The results: wasted time and budget. So if you want to find the right audience for your brand, make sure you do your research first! And if you are unsure of where to begin, there are lots of social listening tools (Sprout, Brandwatch or Talkwalker) out there that can help you identify where people are talking about your brand, competitors, or topics.

Picking up the ones with the biggest following or deciding based on how much influencers charge is just a big no-no! Why?

Instead of focusing on the number of followers, look for engagement rates that much better indicate how influential the creator actually could be.

Don’t be afraid to ask for more details about the audience of influencers, you want to work with, to get an understanding of what type of people you would be talking to. Could they be your potential customers? You can use tools such as SparkToro to learn about their audience a bit more, to find topics they frequently talk about or what hashtags they are interacting with. 

What characteristics should you look out for?

Now, when you know that number of followers isn’t the main one, what else you should be focusing on?

Always check what type of content the creators have already produced and how relevant it is to your customer persona. If you also find similar content to your brand, take a look at what type of engagement they were able to drive. Remember, being relatable and authentic is one of key elements of a successful influencer campaign for your brand! (This is something you should keep in mind especially when sending a brief to the creators - be clear on expected content but let them be in charge of the narrative to preserve the authenticity.)

You also want to examine the post frequency and content quality. If they are an infrequent poster or share way too many sponsored posts, chances are their followers aren’t very engaged either and there is not much to relate to.

If they have a website, you can also run it through SEO tools such as SEMrush or Moz to see what keywords they are ranking for and what traffic they are driving. You notice that they’re not even driving the right keyword traffic for your brand to their website.

Why are micro influencers so effective? 

Micro influencers have immensely engaged audiences who trust them. They’ve built a passionate community that is interested in niche topics that are related to your industry.

Ideally, you want to find those who often interact with their followers on a daily basis via likes, comments or DMs. They manage their social community with a personal touch and feel connected to their audience. They drive more meaningful engagement per follower than any other influencers. They are seen by many of their followers as friends which gives their recommendations even more weight. In fact, 82% of consumers said that they are likely to buy a product that was recommended by a micro influencer. 

Building meaningful relationships

Take time to connect with influencers, try to understand what they are about and what their values are. The perceived connection between your brand and micro influencer has a big impact on consumer purchase intentions. And for this very reason, long term relationships often bring better results for your brand than one-off collaborations.

A long term relationship allows creators to produce continuous content for the brand that is honest and genuine. The ongoing promotion helps build stronger brand recognition, exposure and credibility of your brand (that also drives higher ROI). Keeping this in mind, make sure you continue building relationships with influencers after your collaboration and make it mutually beneficial. Show them that you care about them by sending your new products you think they will love, mentioning the content they shared or just by keeping them updated about your new products, sales, VIP promo codes or any updates that might be useful to their followers too.

Choosing an influencer for your marketing campaign is not always an easy task. But following these tips will help you to make the most of your influencer marketing efforts and ensure that your budget is spent on the right audience. Always make sure to take time to do your research first and don’t forget to work on building and nurturing relationships with influencers as they will help you to make more people trust your brand.