Emily Maupai Zinberg - 08/29/2022
Influencer marketing is a great tool for engaging consumers and creating more awareness for your brand. Read through our advice and tips for vetting and selecting the influencer that suits your brand the best.
By Angelina Scozzafava, Intern at 3E Public Relations
What is Social Media Influencer Marketing?
According to Forbes, “Influencer marketing is a relationship between a brand and an influencer. The influencer promotes the brand’s products or services through various media outlets such as Instagram and YouTube.” Social Media Influencers (SMIs) have been playing a large role in marketing recently. In fact, Influencer Marketing Hub estimates that by the end of 2022, the Influencer industry will be worth approximately $16.4 billion.
Why is Influencer Marketing Effective?
Influencers can enhance marketing content and create an opportunity to increase consumer engagement and awareness of your brand. This type of marketing allows brands to specifically reach target audiences who have common interests with influencers. In many cases, this approach helps brands to get in front of new consumers they might not have been able to reach as cost-effectively through other marketing channels.
In addition, influencers have loyal and typically trusting followings. Brands can tack onto this credibility to build their own brand trust. It is important to note that a consumer’s perception of social media influencers has a direct impact on whether they trust an influencer’s recommendations or promotions, so brands need to be careful about the SMIs with they choose to collaborate.
How to Identify and Vet Influencers
The process of vetting the correct kind of influencer to work with can seem overwhelming. First and foremost, it’s important to remember that follower count is not the most important metric to evaluate. Some characteristics to consider when identifying influencers are:
- Alignment of their content and messaging with your brand
- Quality and frequency of their content
- Reach of their posts and the level of engagement they receive
- Location of their following if your brand had geographic limitations
It’s also important to consider your budget for out of pocket influencer compensation costs. Influencers are ranked into categories based on follower counts and fees range depending on category. According to Linkfluence, these are the most common influencer categories:
- Nano-influencers: 1,000-10,000 followers
- Micro-influencers: 10,000-50,000 followers
- Mid-tier influencers: 50,000-500,000 followers
- Macro-influencers: 500,000-1M followers
- Mega-influencers: 1M+ followers
Fees for collaborating with nano-influencers can be as low as $25 – $200 for an Instagram post. Whereas compensation fees for a mega-influencer can be $15,000-$20,000.
Looking at influencers’ metrics and engagement can help you avoid SMIs that have large amounts of “fake followers,” which in other words are bot accounts. Yes, an influencer may have 530,000 followers, but let’s say hypothetically that 28% of those followers are fake. This means that the influencer can only reach a maximum of 381,600 active followers, which could change their influencer category. In this specific example, the influencer moves from a macro-influencer to a mid-tier influencer. Make sure you are evaluating engagement impressions such as active accounts, likes, shares, saves, reposts, comments, etc.
When scanning for influencers, it’s also pivotal to understand which platform your target audience uses the most. A partnership could potentially be misdirected if the marketing takes place on a platform where your target audience doesn’t spend time. Your audience might also be more likely to buy products or services from one platform over another. Understanding how your audience uses social media will allow you to be more precise with reaching followers who are going to purchase their products or services.
Why You Should Focus on Quality over Quantity
In many cases, it is more valuable to partner with multiple nano or micro-influencers rather than one mega-influencer. For smaller and even mid-size brands, it might not be realistic to obtain partnerships with mega-influencers who have achieved “celebrity status.”
Many SMIs concentrate on a specific subject matter. For example, some influencers focus on beauty, food, travel, fashion, etc. Whereas others only post about fitness, healthy eating and sports. You can gain significant value out of partnering with multiple lower level influencers whose content aligns with your brand’s product or services. The same hold true if your company has a certain geographic reach. Some influencers have dedicated followings in specific locations or post heavily about certain regions where they live or vacation. Partnering with a few of these influencers can help to attract local customers.
So, What Type of Influencer Is Best for My Brand?
Generally speaking, micro-influencers cost brands less and have proved to be more effective due to the nature of their niche content and engaged following. Their content is also typically relatable, causing them to have a closer connection to their followers. However, it’s important to evaluate all the criteria discussed in this blog as well as your brand goals before developing an influencer strategy.
To learn more about influencer relations and influencer marketing, download our free e-guide here.