If you’re business is just being formed, only beginning to enter the digital sphere, or even if it’s been online for a long time, it is crucial to consider finding the right kind of Instagram influencer to promote your brand.
Unless you are Bill Gates, Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, or some other gazillionaire tycoon who leads a megabrand, you should be considering how an influencer can be used as your relevant expert to speak to your consumers and communicate your message. The only problem is your choices for influencers are ENDLESS.
There are far too many people to consider as somebody to take a role within promoting your brand. However, they’re all so different! They can’t all be perfect choices. And so, we must really think and consider; how do we choose the perfect one?
Before we get started, let’s just make sure we know why it’s so important. Influencers are credible digesters of content within their social media spheres. They take in what they find online, they consume it, then they share it with their audiences and communities.
However, they are trusted by their audiences due to their credibility. They will only promote something to their audience if they believe in the brand and believe that it can be passed on to their followers to make them believe in it too. Therefore, building a relationship with your influencer will not only help you promote your brand but also help you build relationships with your influencer’s audiences (Snyder 2019).
1. Observe the audience
Firstly, I know that you know that this is obvious. Anyone that’s ever begun to market an idea or product knows how important it is to be aware of who you are selling to. However, a more challenging step is choosing an influencer who has an audience that reflects your consumer base. You will easily find plenty of charming, attractive, bespoke instagrammers out there in every field there is. Visualising any of these people as a cheerleader of your product is simple, yet it can be idealistic.
Instead, read the comments of their followers and observe what the audience is like. Yes, these followers are less likely to be demi-god athletes, embodiments of Aphrodite, or even the confident curly-moustached hipster you need to represent your new au naturale cold brew coffee. However, they will be real people. Your average Joe who will be genuinely interested in your product if they are the right fit.
Additionally, the values of your chosen influencer are imperative. These can be cultural values, social values, personal values, basically whatever is part of the story behind the influencer (Gordon 2020). Your influencer is going to be vital in representing your brand. So, don’t ask Stacey the vegan to promote your steaks, or Neil DeGrasse Tyson to promote your flat earth theory magazines, when you could be asking Mr Zuckerberg to promote your webcam spying software.
2. Influencer Metrics
Let’s be clear here; an enormous number of Instagram followers is a powerful tool for an influencer, however, this often correlates with a more expensive relationship, and often the engagement rate of this kind of influencer is quite low (Ho 2019). So rather than basing our influencer choice on who has the most followers that will observe their content, we can use three metrics that better connect us with our audience.
Firstly, we should look at the engagement rate; being the total likes and comments and influencer gets on a post (this should be done as an average across many posts, e.g. over 10 posts) divided by the number of followers they have (Ho 2019). The calculated engagement rate will suggest to you whether the audience of an influencer is genuinely engaged with and absorbing the content of what is being posted.
Secondly, click-throughs are a vital metric for testing if consumers are quick to purchase and review products straight from an influencer’s post. The click-through rate is the ratio of consumers who click on a specific link or tag towards another page, compared to the total number of viewers for a post (Hamann 2019). Lastly, we have frequency. Observing how often an influencer posts is easy to do, an influencer who posts irregularly is not actively engaged with their consumers and thus may be a poor advocate for your brand. Ideally, look for an influencer who posts once every 1-3 days on their Instagram. But don’t be fooled by just looking at frequency alone, instead compare sponsored content vs normal content. An influencer who posts sponsored content too often (e.g. 3+ consecutive posts) could potentially put their credibility at risk and lose followers (Hamann 2019).
Now this brings us to our next point; is the influencer you are choosing authentic and personable. You can figure this out by simply browsing through an influencer’s feed and reading their captions on posts (both normal and sponsored).
Ideally an authentic influencer writes a caption that tells a story, shows their journey with a product and how it impacted them (Thorsen 2016). It is far better for your consumers to observe the earth-shattering, life changing, astonishing impact of your product on the influencer than seeing a simple picture of a product with a ‘thumbs up’ emoji… YIKES.
But why is it better? Well its simple. An influencer’s audience often idealises or respects them to be honest and truthful. If the influencer puts the time and care into sponsoring your product in their post, they are displaying to their audiences they’re genuine derivation of pleasure from it (Gregorio 2019). As a result, their dedicated followers will trust their local Instagram expert on this display of endearment and attempt to connect to the product in the same way. However, it’s not just about the length of the caption. If Bob from Ballarat writes a 500-word review about your barbeque brand, although he is listing the BBQ’s functions, his followers are essentially just reading data. Compare this to Hayley praising your headphone range and how the audio quality was heavenly and “perfect”, her followers are likely to want to undergoe the same sense of euphoria.
4. Influencer Reliability
To finish off our list we have reliability. The process of choosing an influencer doesn’t just end once you’ve found someone that meets the above three needs. After reaching out to the influencer and negotiating some sort of bilateral bonuses, you will be engaging with your influencer frequently, and thus need somebody who can be relied upon, rather than a burden.
A fast and effective communicator will respond to you promptly, allowing you to spend more time concentrating on your brand and your message (Ho 2019). Contrastingly, an unreliable influencer might be slow at responding, lazy, unfocused or uncompromising, and can have the adverse potential to ruin your brand’s image on Instagram.
My helpful tip here is to use some of the available influencer marketing platforms (e.g. CreatorIQ or AspireIQ) to delve into the reviews other brands have left your selected influencer. Carefully consider what they say because it is highly likely to be a reflection on the relationship you will build with them!
So, you think you’re ready?
What have we learned? Influencers are a great tool obviously, but it is not easy finding the right one.
- Observe your influencer’s audience
- Use metrics to measure the quality of the influencer
- Consider the authenticity of the influencer and whether your consumers will find them personable
- Lastly, make sure they’re reliable as it is an ongoing relationship.
If you take these into consideration and do your research thoroughly, you could really create a special relationship with an influencer who will take your brand to the next level.
Now don’t just sit there reading, go searching!
Gordon, J 2020, The top 19 Instagram Influencer Marketing Platforms (2020 update), viewed 11th September 2020, <https://tribegrowth.com/instagram-influencer-marketing-platforms/>.
Gregorio, B 2019, How to Choose the Perfect Influencer for your Brand, viewed 12th September 2020, < https://www.business2community.com/marketing/how-to-choose-the-perfect-influencer-for-your-brand-02171786>.
Hamann, H 2014, 5 Tips for Finding the Rights Social Influencers for Your Brand, viewed 11th September 2020, <https://www.convinceandconvert.com/digital-marketing/5-tips-for-finding-the-right-social-influencers-for-your-brand/>.
Ho, L 2019, 9 factors to consider to pick the right Instagram influencer for your brand, viewed 12th September 2020, <https://influencermarketinghub.com/pick-the-right-instagram-influencer/>.
Snyder, M 2019, How to choose the perfect influencers for your organization, viewed 12th September 2020, <https://www.prdaily.com/how-to-choose-the-perfect-influencers-for-your-organization/>. Thorsen, H 2016, How to Choose the Right Influencers for your Brand, viewed 12th September 2020, <https://blog.nativeadvertisinginstitute.com/guide-how-to-choose-the-right-influencers-for-your-brand>.
Kim is a final year Commerce student majoring in Finance and Marketing, who is currently working full-time at Grill'd as a Training Coordinator. He is particularly interested in how Politics and Media shape our perception of the world and how we interact with it