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What brands should look for in social media influencers

On the hunt for social media influencers? You’d probably want to know what metrics brands find most important, what aspects they value in an influencer the most and more. At Socialbakers, we had the opportunity to ask companies these questions to get real answers. Here’s what we found.

1. Average Number of Interactions on Posts

Unsurprisingly, businesses (almost unanimously) told us that the average number of interactions a social media influencer receives on their posts are one of the most important factors they take a look at before doing business. Interactions are a great way to gauge how successful an influencer is within their own community. It’s one thing to have a huge following – but it’s a whole other ball game if your content is so good that community members are interacting with it regularly. More and more brands are leveraging influencer marketing to speak to audiences outside of their own community, to expand their branding and potential customer base. To make sure they get more bang out of their buck they need to carefully select a social media guru that can turn content into social magic.

2. Percentage of Fake Interactions

Sometimes what you see isn’t what you get – and influencer marketing is no exception. Seeing that interactions and engagement rate are a must for brands, we can expect that it’s just as vital for brands to make sure they get the real deal. While a high number of interactions looks great a glance, it can cost influencers big business if they are relying on inauthentic means, such as bots. Social media is supposed to be a space where authentic conversations can take place, and last time we checked bots just aren’t there yet (ever try to have an intellectual conversation one? Case in point).

3. Age Distribution

This one is pretty interesting. While age distribution may look insignificant compared to key metrics such as interactions, it plays a huge role in marketing of any kind. Brands heavily rely on audience personas to build strategies that are tailored to a specific group and age often plays a huge role in segmentation. Looking at the age distribution of an influencer’s following gives brands insight into how well their community matches their own. Age is a powerful demographic because it helps gives marketers a sense of where an individual is at during their lifetime. Are they packing up for college, starting a family, getting ready for retirement? Only age can tell!

4. Brands Influencers Have Partnered up with Before

Turns out, brands are very interested in learning about who influencers have cooperated with in the past. There are many reasons why this is the case. Knowing which brands a social influencer has worked with allows you to effectively gauge which products or services their community members are most responsive to. Companies want to know if influencer’s past brand relationships have any similarities with their own. Is the brand in question something their audiences know or currently have an affiliation with? Of course, brands can also use past partnerships as an opportunity to assess performance. Taking a deep dive into some social media data can help paint a picture of how successful the influencer campaign was.

5. Percentage of Fake Followers

This is a big one. Influencer marketing is such a hit with brands because it gives them an opportunity to reach new audiences. And what good are those audiences if they are bots or fake profiles? You wouldn’t pay for a billboard if no one would be able to see it, so why invest in social campaigns where no one is actually listening? This is exactly what is going through brands’ minds during their influencer quest.

Influencers should especially be careful of this fake follower trap. Remember the backlash celebrities faced when it was found out they bought fake followers? Bigger doesn’t always mean better, and brands are recognizing that. It’s the exact reason why micro-influencers have become so popular!

6. Personal Interests of Influencers

You can learn a lot about someone by knowing what they like. Are they a cat or dog person? Do they prefer coffee or tea? Maybe they are the long walks on the beach type? You get the point. Brands want to know what influencers like. And by taking a look at their page affinities, they can learn just that. Of course interests and values are the building blocks of something much bigger – personalized content marketing. Getting a holistic view of who an influencer is as a person helps brands uncover if they have things in common with their current or target customers. Using data to inform their decision making helps brands better match influencers to their audience personas. Once brands feel that they have the perfect influencer, they can be sure that relevant content will be created effortlessly.

7. Country Where Influencer is Located

Location, location, location right? Brands want to select influencers relevant to a specific region or country. This makes perfect sense. While the most popular influencers might have global reach, opting for someone who’s a hit in a specific area could generate a greater impact on the audience. Taking an influencer’s location into account can help brands tap into a desired market naturally, without the use of any mass media tactics. It’s undoubtedly a fantastic way to gain credible visibility from the people that matter. And of course, we can’t talk about location without mentioning language. Region-specific influencers have a huge advantage and are able to communicate with their audience in the language they and even dialect they resonate with most.

The Takeaway

Searching for a social media influencer that checks all the boxes can be challenging. There are many factors brands need to consider before they unite forces with an external member. Influencers also need to be mindful of what brands are looking for so they can be discovered more easily. A word of advice? Authenticity is key.

The pros of social influencer collaborations certainly outweigh the cons. The hardest part of course, is finding an influencer that aligns with your brand as well as your customers. If you’re willing to put in the time you’ll be sure to reap marketing rewards! Once you’ve narrowed in on the right one you can start up a partnership that will help expand your reach even further.

Co-written by Jordan Julian, Content Marketing Specialist, Socialbakers

Charles Tidswell

Charles Tidswell is the Vice President of JAPAC at Socialbakers and is based in Singapore. For the majority of his professional career, Charles has been involved with early stage start-ups and companies entering the high growth stage across the South East Asia region.