Evaluating and partnering with social media influencers

One of the biggest challenges you’ll face when starting your social media campaigns relates to how you evaluate the potential influencer partners. Apart from deciding whether to choose a mega, celebrity, micro or macro influencer, you will have to separate the real influencers from those who buy followers and use the low-cost un-follow/follow services. Social media has revolutionized self-marketing and brand representation, so understanding your place among the frauds is vital to your success.

Perhaps, you already know several platforms that automate the addition of followers and the providers who guarantee to add at least 5000 new followers to your social media account within a day. The problem with such services is that the audiences you buy are typically dummy accounts, hacked or abandoned accounts, follow-follow back pods or cloned accounts. Real influencers are those who draw people of common interest.

Tools that will help you identify real influencers

Manual search

The manual search option works best for individuals who are always active on social media platforms. To add new influencers to your current list, open a new spreadsheet and add four columns – influencer name, main social platform, website domain authority and the following. Start adding names of the real influencers you can think of and add their details. Alternatively, you can search the blogs of the influencers you select. Looking at your goals and options systematically is useful when it comes to real growth for your brand. Methodically understanding your brand allows you to consciously plan your strategies for success.

Influencer marketing tools

Influencer marketing tools are faster and easier to use. The tools also allow the users to research the influencers simultaneously. Typically, the tools will provide you with a snapshot of the influencer’s social presence such as the number of fans and followers, engagement rates, relevant links to other social channels and blogs, their location and details of their followers. Some tools might help you connect with the influencer directly.

Social listening and monitoring tools

Leverage monitoring and social listening tools will help you monitor the relevant keywords and identify the top influencers within your niche. First, monitor your keywords using a social media management tool such as Agorapulse or Sprout Social. After you have identified the top influencers, use paid tools like Brand24 and Brandwatch to find the top sharers and authors.

Evaluating the influencers

Consider the niche of the influencer – whether they are in fitness, travel, beauty, technology, photography or a combination of any of the factors. In other words, a florist may not need to collaborate with food bloggers. Check the topics an influencer shares and find out whether their followers are your main target.

The quality of influence is also important. The number of followers is not conclusive but if paired with the engagement rates, it will provide you with an accurate idea of the influence. Use the Twitter Report Card or BuzzSumo to compare the accounts of influencers in terms of engagement levels and audiences. Micro-influencers with a small following might provide better results than macro-influencers with a large following.

Collaborating with the influencers

To collaborate with the influencers, you have to select the objectives of your campaign. The objectives should guide you and the influencer throughout the campaign. After coming up with the objectives, you should choose a campaign type. Some of the common campaign types include product reviews, sponsored posts, contests, and giveaways. Select a campaign that will provide you with the needed results.