Here’s how most brands choose influencers to work with:
- Find them through a relevant niche hashtag.
- Ensure they hit a certain follower count
- Ensure they have the right keywords in their bio
That’s it. They decide it’s a good fit and reach out to them. This is the wrongest way to do it. Which is why you can differentiate instantly after reading this post.
It’s surprising how many factors get ignored simply because brands want to prioritise volume over quality, which is a losing game to play in the long run.
In this post, I’ll share a quick essentials checklist of things you need to worry about before reaching out to a creator to endorse your brand.
My criteria is split into two categories. Quantitative and qualitative.
Followers and authenticity
You need to make sure they need to fit the desired follower range for your campaign, obviously. More importantly though, you need to check if their followers are authentic. Some influencers tend to buy fake followers just to beef up their social media profile and rip off brands that are naive (or rich) enough to go with them just based on follower count.
This is especially important if you want to make an impact on their audience. It tells you what % of their audience actually engages with their content (ie likes, comments, shares, etc.).
A simple formula for an influencer’s engagement rate is: Avg[Likes + Comments per post] / Number of followers. Here’s a tool that does it for you. Or you can choose to go fancy with AI Driven Analisa.
You want to aim for influencers with engagement rates of 1% or more, as a general rule of thumb. For smaller nano influencers, 5%+ engagement rate is great. As their audience gets bigger, their engagement rate drops gradually.
Once you decide to get in touch with them, or with their agency, you should ask them for results they drove for other brands. They’re likely to be in a similar space and you can get a accurate, real world picture of how this influencer performs in terms of clicks and revenue for brands.
Check how often they post. Sometimes influencers are inactive despite having a sizeable audience. You only want to work with creators who actively create content for your target customers.
You can check this by looking at their last 3 post dates, or if they have an active story. Some good activity benchmarks based on platform are as follows:
- Instagram: 1–2 posts per week and 1–2 stories every day, on average.
- Youtube: 1–4 videos per month, active in their YouTube community every day.
- TikTok: 1–3 posts per week
You should work with creators steadily on the way up, not plateaued or declining follower counts. The latter may mean they don’t post much, or have lost touch with their audience.
Use tools like SocialBlade to track this, or simply check it with the Saral chrome extension 😃
Try the Chrome Extension here
Now, let’s move on to what’s arguably more important than plain old numbers, qualitative analysis and gut feel. Human stuff.
Is their philosophy, thoughts, and actions aligned with the message you want to convey as a brand?
Eg: It would be stupid for a minimalist-themed brand to work with an influencer that shows off Lambos and Rolexes on their feed.
You’ve already checked their engagement rate but it helps to spend 3 more seconds reviewing the quality of engagement. Just like fake followers, some bad actors also buy engagement. Here are some indicators of fake engagement:
- Emoji-only comments
- Sudden spike in the number of likes
- Generic comments like “Nice photo!” or “Love this ❤️”
- Comments and likes from accounts with no profile pic
- Comments and likes from accounts with meaningless usernames eg: “@lyb08a”
Content Creation Ability
Actually go watch some of their videos or reels, read their captions. Does the media seem like something you or your target customer would consume?
See if they’re able to adapt their content to the latest trends and tie it back into the message they convey. This shows savviness and shows you their ability to cohesively tie in your product into their overall message.
Charisma and Connect
This flows well from the last point. Check if the creator is able to be funny, witty, or hook you in their content till the end. Do you feel like clicking away? Do they know what they’re talking about? Does it come from a place of passion?
All this matters as they’ll speak about your brand in the same way.
It’s good to work with influencers who are platform-savvy. They should have a healthy mix of different content types allowed on social media.
- Instagram: Photos, Videos, Reels, Stories
- TikTok: Videos of varying lengths
- Youtube: Normal videos, Shorts, Community posts
Make sure they have a good mix of sponsored content with normal posts. 20–80 is a good split.
Well connected — Tags
This is icing on the cake. Check their “Tagged” posts on Instagram. See if they’re being tagged in other influencers posts. Having an influencer who’s well connected in their space helps generate awareness for your brand among other creators, which helps when you eventually reach out to them 🤝
That’s it. I know this may seem like a lot of work, but it becomes easy after you do it for a while. You don’t even have to consciously think of these parameters once you’re in the zone. Taking 5–10 seconds doing some QA for your potential influencer partners is a great way to ensure your campaigns work in your favor.
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