An Influencer Marketing Guide

by SocianSelect.com

Here's the rundown:

High quality Instagram Influencers can be key difference makers for your business. They enhance the awareness and visibility of a product or brand, with followers that can total in the millions across the world. They offer access to new audiences, can increase sales, and even provide valuable feedback on products and brands.

As part of marketing campaigns, genuine Influencers can offer what conventional advertisements cannot: consistent engagement and real-time interaction with your target demographic. And with social media now penetrating into every area of society, their influence on consumers is only set to grow. Advertising industry watchers estimate that the amount businesses will spend on Influencer marketing will reach billions of dollars in the coming years.

 

This is important:

Despite the massive potential of Influencer marketing for businesses, not all social media Influencers are created equal. Since social media is a space with low barriers to entry, almost anybody can get into the game with glitzy photos and an appealing image.

It’s not easy to avoid the pitfalls of a failed Influencer marketing campaign if you’re not knowledgeable about how such a campaign can add true value. As marketing experts know, successful influencing is much more than impressive photography skills. Convincing people to take action through social media is a whole other game. Developing the tools to know if an Influencer is of high quality is essential for businesses that are ready to dive into Influencer marketing.

Read on for advice on how to find Instagram Influencers that are worth your investment...

1. Get to Know Your Influencer

The first step to identifying quality Instagram Influencers is taking an in-depth look at their profiles. This might sound obvious, but all too often businesses will spend their marketing budgets without a clear understanding of what an Influencer can actually offer. Just as you’d research any other business partner, it’s worth your while to get the details on a potential Influencer.

First, identify their niche. When an Influencer specializes in a specific industry or product, this is a sign that they’ll have more credibility with their followers, making them more likely to convert leads for you. Be wary of the Influencer who seems to promote anything and everything – customers prize authenticity very highly when it comes to recommendations. What you’re looking for is genuine enthusiasm for your industry, and a track record of relevance. A good sign that an Influencer can stay current is whether their social media posts talk about trending topics related to your industry.

Next, gather information on their followers. What’s the size of the Influencer’s audience, and are their followers in the same demographic as your customer base? Look at a sample of their followers’ social media profiles. This will give you an idea of whether an Influencer's audience is one that you’d want to reach out to. An important point to bring up here is to watch out for fake accounts that artificially prop up follower numbers. Computer bots can be hired to inflate an Influencer’s numbers. For inexperienced businesses that fall into this trap, it is costly as well as damaging to your brand. Red flags for fake followers include spam comments and next to no engagement activity. Influencers with a real follower base can be measured through their engagement metrics (more on that below). Knowing the size and demographics of an Influencer’s audience is key to deciding whether to partner with them.

 

 

You should also pay attention to the reach that an Influencer has. How many platforms are they active on? What coverage have they received from various media sources? This will give you an idea of the reach your campaign could have through them. An Influencer that is active on multiple platforms at once, like Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, can reach your target audience across different mediums. The opportunities for cross-promotion are more numerous as well. Keep in mind that an Influencer’s reach isn’t necessarily their defining metric. If they are dominant on a few platforms, this could be more valuable than a small presence on many platforms. To evaluate your Influencer on their reach, pair it with your target audience’s preferred method of engaging with social media.

After you’ve taken a closer look at an Influencer’s profile, you’ll have a much clearer understanding of how their presence and approach aligns with your brand or product, and whether they are the right Influencer for you.

Now it’s time to examine the quality of their engagement...

 

2. Check Their Engagement Metrics

A general rule of social media marketing campaigns is that traffic doesn’t always mean engagement. An Instagram Influencer may attract a lot of traffic due to their celebrity in a certain domain, but this doesn’t mean they can convince people to act, or that followers really see them as credible sources of information. If an Influencer claims to have thousands of followers, but their posts get only a few dozen likes or comments, this is a sign of low engagement. It could even be a sign of a fake Instagram account.

Measuring engagement is not as easy as it may seem. One common method is to track shares, likes, and comments on original posts over a period of time, comparing them to the number of unique followers. This will reveal an "engagement rate" that can be compared with the engagement rates of other Influencers working with similar products. Remember that high engagement rates are more valuable than having many followers. Micro-Influencers are a great example of this fact. Micro-Influencers run channels with smaller overall audiences, but which are highly specialized and engaged with a loyal following. They’re capable of moving people to act more effectively than “larger” Influencers, due to their high credibility and engagement rates. For example, a lifelong mountain-climbing enthusiast is far more likely to impact their followers’ decisions on climbing equipment than a movie star (no matter how ruggedly handsome said star may be). In fact, HelloSociety recently came to the conclusion that Micro-Influencer driven campaigns are almost 7 times more efficient, per engagement, than campaigns based only on Influencers with large followings.

 

 

Another way to measure quality engagement on Instagram is to track the most used hashtags related to your product. Research which hashtags are used the most often in relation to your product, and assemble them into a list. Because hashtags are attached to user posts, popular tags are an indicator of engagement. Not only will using popular hashtags make an Influencer’s posts more discoverable, they’re also a clue as to what content might be the most impactful. For example, if your company makes cakes, a quality Influencer will notice that trending hashtags include #doublechocolatecake, #guiltypleasure, #birthday, and create content about a chocolate birthday cake. And just like that, they’ve relevantly jumped into a trending conversation about chocolate cakes, increasing the level of engagement from followers through clever use of hashtags.

A good source of information about an Influencer’s engagement metrics can be their press kit. Many professional Influencers will be more than willing to share their press kit, which usually includes information on their engagement statistics, follower demographics, media coverage, and results from recent campaigns. If an Influencer is unable to provide any information on their activities, this is a sign that they can’t demonstrate their impact and don’t understand the business of marketing through social media.

 

3. Rate Their Engagement Skills

An Instagram Influencer must have excellent engagement skills. For a business, this is what sets them apart from traditional marketing strategies like running magazine ads or commercials. Make sure that the Influencer you partner with produces quality content on their profile on a regular basis. Quality content will engage followers and keep them coming back for more. This is the part where the ability to take glamorous photos can come in handy.

Video content, such as product reviews, is also a great way that Influencers can maintain a dialogue with their audience and boost their authority in a given niche. Take note if their content is fresh, and if they’re able to stay on top of the latest trends in an interesting way. Since there are so many brands vying for people’s attention online, professional Influencers will put in effort to make sure they are relevant.

A skilled Influencer knows how to reach out and nurture their audience. Not only do they produce content, they are open to having a conversation with their followers on products or brands they are promoting. They write back to messages and comments, and are responsive to the content needs of their followers. These actions build trust, and trust is essential to influencing the tastes and demands of your target audience.

 

 

Not only should an Influencer engage effectively with their followers, they should also be experienced in working with businesses and brands. Working with professional Influencers that understand Instagram as a platform for business will save you from running into serious problems. You are running a risk when partnering with an Influencer whose profile has the right look, but has little experience working with branding. Neither do you want an Influencer that does nothing but hawk products. The key is to find those Influencers with the right balance between dealing with corporate sponsorship and achieving authenticity. This is an area where working with a reputable Influencer marketing agency can save you a lot of time and money. Their vetted, proven Influencers will be able to consistently meet your expectations.

There are individuals out there who are just as passionate as you about your industry or product – the key is finding them, and building solid relationships. The impact of Influencers can be difficult to achieve and measure on your own without having devoted digital marketing expertise on your team. After all, you want to be sure that your cash is being spent on projects that offer a return on investment. Constantly tracking engagements rates (and comparing against your competitors) can be onerous for small and medium sized businesses. But if you get it right, investing in Influencers can have an exponential benefit, bringing the visibility of your business to the next level with customers that matter the most.

Last year, Twitter reported that almost 1 in 2 consumers relied on Influencers when looking for product recommendations.

4. Partner with an Influencer Agency

Here at SocianSelect, our Influencer marketing specialists will pair you with top Instagram Influencers for tailor-made social media campaigns. Our cutting-edge data strategies and tools will measure results, and provide your business with timely information that will help you make decisions.

Here are some of the helpful services SocianSelect offers:

  • End-to-end customization and management of client campaigns
  • Data-driven recruitment and monitoring
  • Transparent and intuitive reporting data, including our Influencer Marketing Dashboard
  • Original influencer content delivered monthly for unlimited reuse

Our team will be a key part of your growth story as you pursue your business and branding goals. Our end to end services set us apart from the other social media marketing firms. We start by learning about your vision, your product, and your passion. From there, we identify the right mix of Influencers that meet your unique needs. Our team of experienced Influencers will engage their followers to support your brand. When you partner with SocianSelect, you’ll also own quality content that can be used however you see fit.

As we’ve discovered, finding the right Influencer for your business means taking a deeper dive into their profiles, evaluating their ability to authentically engage, and making sure their passions align with your own. This may be an art, but it’s also increasingly a science. The digital marketplace is a data-driven marketplace. SocianSelect has the tools and expertise to keep you ahead of the game. With an Influencer marketing agency like us, your Influencers’ impact will be continuously assessed through clear metrics. Our state-of-the-art dashboard reporting provides monthly data on your engagement rates, like and comment volumes, with comparisons to your competition.

 

The bottom line:

Instagram Influencers offer an outsized return on investment, provided you partner with the right ones. Partner with SocianSelect to find the ideal Influencers for your business. We’d like to share our social media solutions with you and become your dedicated creative partners.

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