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Influencer marketing definitively isn’t something new. In fact it’s more of a standard when it comes to social media marketing. We’re in a day and age where it’s not just big brands who can score celebrity spokes people. Today brands of all sizes can build a team or select a few influencers to help them with their branding efforts. It’s a unique way of advertising, because these influencers have a built in audience who value what their opinions. There is no doubting that when executed correctly and with the right  influencer marketing works. There are a lot of moving parts that goes into a successful influencer marketing campaign. And choosing influencers plays a big part in that success.

Choosing Influencers Based On Followers Alone

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At the end of the day your influencer marketing campaigns will only be as successful as the influencers you choose to work with. However the process of choosing influencers to work with might not be as obvious as you might think. A lot of things have changed when it comes to how you measure an influencer’s success. Let us give you an example. Say you’re a new fitness app looking to work with influencers within your niche. You’ve found some influencers that align with your brand identity, and there are 3 in particular you’re wanting to work with first. The question now is, who do you choose?

Anita has 275,000 followers                    Jordan has 57,000 followers                    Josephine has 14,000 followers

Many would assume to pick Anita, seeing as she has the highest amount of followers. While that measure of success worked in the early days of social media, these days we know that followers can be bought. Truth be told this was somewhat of a trick question. Follower count is not sufficient enough when choosing influencers to work with. And in some cases someone with 5,000 followers might bring you more value then someone with 100,000 followers. Things like content quality, brand identity and engagement rate should be what you take into consideration.

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This is not to say that influencers with high follower counts aren’t ideal to work with. What will help you in your overall decision when it comes to choosing influencers, is having a solid plan as your foundation. This includes a variety of things like your goals for the campaign and choosing the right social media platforms. And follower minimums might be a requirement. Or you might choose to work with influencers of all follower ranges.

Let’s take a look at the things you should consider in the influencer selection process.

Things to Consider When Choosing Influencers

Know Your Overall Goals

Not every influencer marketing campaign is the same. You can actually use them for a variety of different things, and even manage them in completely different ways. Generally speaking you might consider running a campaign to promote your brand. This might be for a new product launch, a sale or to promote an event. However you can also run a campaign simply to generate digital content that you can then use on your social media channels. This is especially a great idea for small businesses who might not have large teams to support content creation.

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When thinking about your goals, you might also consider how you go about choosing influencers to work with. You might want to create a hand selected team of ambassadors to work with on a reoccurring bases. This is an easier way of doing things, that does require a bit of effort. Building a team of influencers requires important to continue to foster those relationships on a reoccurring basis. In that case, you might prefer just reaching out to select influencers every time you have a campaign.  What will contribute to those details will be what your goals are when it comes to social media marketing.

Determine Your Target Audience

When choosing influencers, think of things in traditional marketing terms. Each influencer is like their own publication. They have a particular demographic that follows them, and a specific content niche. An influencer’s niche can be one area of interest like travel or a variety of like-minded things like fitness and health or fashion and beauty. All this to say, that when you are selecting influencers to partner with, knowing who your target audience should be your first step.

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Your target audience is in simpler terms who your ideal customer is. This might be a very specific demographic say 18-25 year old females living in New York City. Or your products and services might cater to a broader audience. In any case you want to be sure that the influencers you choose, as the advertisers, can reach the audience you’re looking for. The most obvious way to ensure this is by choosing influencers who work within a niche that fits your brand. Let’s say you’re a clean, vegan skincare brand that is newly launching with a campaign. Your ideal influencers would be ones within the beauty and skincare niches. You might also consider reaching out to influencers in the natural health and vegan food areas too. Because their audiences would be ones interested in skincare products that use clean and all vegan ingredients.

Choose the Right Platform

Knowing your target audience not only helps with the influencer selection process. It also helps you figure out what social media platforms you should be looking for influencers on. Although the world of social media marketing started with Instagram, today anyone with a large following on a platform is considered an influencer. The most popular platforms asides from Instagram are YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat and more recently, TikTok.

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Each of these social media platforms have a specific demographic of users that are most active. TikTok for example is an app that is extremely popular with the Gen Z demographic. Although as it gains popularity Millennials and even Gen Xers are getting in on the fun. So if you’re looking to reach a younger demographic you might want to consider reaching out to TikTok influencers. Your goals for your campaign might also dictate where you find influencers from. Let’s say a fitness clothing brand is looking to get influencers wearing their products while doing workout tutorials. Then they might want to look to platforms like Instagram or more so YouTube where long format video content is created.

Identify Your Brand Image

Even influencers within the same niche have a specific tone or look to their content. This is why having a clear sense of your brand’s image is important when choosing influencers. When working with influencers you can definitively set perimeters in terms of content requirements. This might be having the work within a certain theme, or using specific language or keywords within their written content. However you can’t fully dictate the direction of their content when it comes to the style of it. After all, you chose to work with this influencer, and the quality of their content plays a part in that decision. This is why you always want to choose influencers who’s brand identity or style of content is similar to yours.

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Beyond their content you might decide to only select influencers who’s values align with your brands. This isn’t always as obvious, as not everyone chooses to share those aspects of their lives. However at times you might find influencers who support the same causes your business does. For example an business that is looking to work with influencers who support animal welfare might find a kinship with dog or cat owners. Finding influencers that align with your brand identity is also a great way to improve the odds of building a long term relationship.

Ask for Performance Metrics

Finally, once everything is said and done, and you’re in the process of influencer outreach there is still one last thing to consider. Like we mentioned earlier you want to base your decision on the influencer’s performance. While follower count was a great performance indicator years ago, today it’s important to see behind the scenes. Brands asking for profile insights or performance metrics isn’t unheard of. A great way to inquire about this professionally is to ask for a media kit when reaching out. More often then not influencers already have this on hand ready to share. A media kit is a package that includes the influencers profile insights such as follower demographics, engagement rate and types of content they create. It’ll also include their fees for collaborations should they have them.

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If someone doesn’t have a media kit they can easily share with you screenshots of their profile insights that are available on most social media platforms. There are also tools available for businesses like Grin that perform profile audits for platforms like Instagram. These tools use algorithms and formulas to do a review of profiles in order to check their authenticity. It will measure things like follower count, engagement and impressions to determine if the influencer is boosting their profile or not.