The FOUR things you need to do when it comes to influencer marketing.
It’s 2018, and if your brand isn’t working within the influencer-sphere, you’re behind. There’s no excuses; it’s the most cost-effective way of attracting genuine users and customers towards your brand.
With an average ROI 11x that to traditional digital advertising, it’s not a question of why, but when. It can be a daunting task to begin working with influencers – who are they, why do they deserve to be paid and what impact will they have on my audience?
There are a myriad of factors to consider when investing in influencer marketing, but here are four of the most important things I look out for as a Social Media Manager.
1. Fake Followers
Perhaps the most debated topic of 2017 is the issue of fake followers. With anyone now able to purchase fake followers, likes, views, comments and clicks; how the heck do you tell the difference? An easy fix is to first examine their profiles on Social Blade – if they’ve got unusual spikes of activity, that’s the first red flag.
There can be excuses for one or two big spikes e.g. featured by another major blogger or news source, but these are unusual and don’t happen often. Secondly, take the time to manually look through their followers. Scroll through the list and click every few – do they have profile photos, are they real people, what is the ratio of followers v following? If the majority of their followers have no profile photo and seem to be following between 7000-8000 people and only have around 100 followers themselves, they’re nearly always fake profiles.
2. Engagement Rate
With the use of buying comments, comment pods and just bloggers commenting on posts in general to boost their own profiles, it can be extremely difficult to gauge what is real and what isn’t.
Are the same people commenting on each of their photos with comments that don’t really relate to the photo? If so, they’re probably in a tonne of comment pods. This is a really difficult thing to spot, but remember to keep in mind that a lot of comments aren’t genuine. A more accurate measure is how many people are watching their stories (ask for screenshots) and also weekly reach, which we’ll touch on in the next couple of points.
3. Proof of analytics
It’s very, very easy for someone to just lie about how many viewers, followers or unique visitors they’ve got. It’s even easier for a social media manager or PR manager to just accept these figures, take them back to the client and then be act surprised when their figures don’t match up with the influencers.
Always, always ask for proof of analytics. For Instagram this is a screenshot of their analytics, and make sure they show each pillar measured (age split, gender split, location split) as well as screenshots of their latest stories and the viewers present on these.
It can be difficult on a blog, but asking for Google Analytics screenshots is the most accurate way to gather real-time data about a website (plus, they can’t manipulate these). For any influencers/bloggers reading this, an unreal tool to show all of your statistics and analytics off in one place is using Zine. It’s an online media kit program that will actually connect to your Google Analytics, and makes it easy for brands to quickly find out about yourself, your rates and your stats in one easy place.
If someone says “I don’t have an IG business account” or “my blog isn’t linked to Google Analytics”, there really isn’t an excuse. If someone is using their blog or social media platforms, not only does it look unprofessional, but it’s also illegal to not be using a business account.
4. In-depth look at analytics
When you’ve received these analytics, make sure you properly analyse them. Let’s use Instagram analytics for example. Say you’re working with a UK influencer that mostly shares photos of them in various outfits. You’d assume that their following would be mainly London based/female but the analytics don’t lie.
Here are the things to always look at:
- Age: Are most of their followers within your target demographic? If you’ve got a brand aimed at women 35+, there’s no point working with an influencer who’s following consists 90% of 18-24.
- Gender: Let’s be frank here; men aren’t going to buy women’s fashion off of women they follow. If you’ve got a female product that you want to sell, it doesn’t matter how many likes that influencer is getting – if 80% of their following are men, then already you’re reducing your chance of ROI by 80%.
- Location: Firstly, this is a great way to pinpoint if someone has a high fake following; their top countries or cities will include mostly third world countries, or countries that they aren’t associated with. Also, look at their audience and compare it with your target audience. If you’ve got a UK based product that is only able to be purchased within the UK, then you should be looking for accounts that have a genuine UK following – this is why micro-influencers can be so helpful.
- Reach: This is how many unique people have seen the influencer’s content over that week. Whilst their reach might seem low, remember this is how many individuals have seen their content. Compared to impressions, which counts each time someone sees their content. So whereas one individual that has seen 5 pieces of their content counts as ‘1’ to reach, it would count to ‘5’ towards impressions. That’s why it’s easier to go via reach as it will give a more realistic view of how many people will actually see the post.
If you’ve got any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to get back to them. Thanks for reading! You can follow my own social media journey on Instagram at @livewithelle and view my portfolio at ellieparker.me.