One of the most crucial steps in running successful influencer marketing campaigns is influencer research. If you end up partnering with the wrong people, you’ll only end up wasting your resources with little to no real returns from your campaigns. In fact, many brands have paid a dear price by partnering with an influencer who wasn’t right for their brand.
To make sure that you don’t end up making the same kind of mistake, it’s important to conduct thorough influencer research. This might sound simple enough but there are quite a few things that you need to analyze and evaluate. So, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you conduct effective influencer research and run successful influencer marketing campaigns.
What to Look for When You Conduct Influencer Research
Thorough influencer research is essential for the success of your influencer marketing campaigns. Given how popular and lucrative this field has lately turned out to be, there are hundreds of thousands of influencers out there. But how can you differentiate the right ones from the wrong ones?
A large follower count on social media shouldn’t be the only thing you look at when you conduct influencer research. Many individuals resort to shady tactics such as buying followers and likes to grow their social media presence. However, these followers are mostly comprised of fake accounts or bots which can’t provide you any value.
So, you need to vet your influencers carefully when you conduct influencer research. Here are the criteria you need to use to evaluate them.
When you conduct influencer research, your top priority should be to make sure that your potential influencers are relevant to your brand, products, or industry. This will make sure that your offerings or marketing messages are relevant to their followers.
If not, your messages are likely to reach people who have little or no interest in your brand or products. This is the reason why hotels and airlines prefer to work with travel influencers and brands that sell products for kids prefer to work with mom influencers.
Image via Instagram
The next step in your influencer research should be to make sure that your potential influencer’s posts resonate with your style and values. If there’s a stark contrast between your brand’s personality and the influencer’s, it’s not likely to go down well with your audiences. Such collaborations will appear to be forced and inauthentic.
So, go through some of your potential influencer’s posts to get an idea of their personality, voice, and values. If they resonate with those of your brand, you’re good to move on to the next step in your influencer research.
Go through some of the sponsored content posted by your potential influencers and see if they come across as loud, pushy, or spammy. Do the captions on these posts reflect the influencer’s expertise or authority in their niche? Or do they simply serve to promote the products without adding any real value to their followers?
When you conduct influencer research, you need to make sure that your influencer’s posts look and feel genuine. Take a look at what their followers have said about their content in the comments. This should give you an idea of how well their posts are being received.
Here’s an example of a post that’s drowning in negative sentiments from users. Watch out for such red flags.
Image via Instagram
The next step in your influencer research should be to check how aesthetic your potential influencer’s content looks. Do their posts appear creative, tasteful, and attractive? Have they used a uniform color palette throughout and do those colors appear soothing to the eyes?
You’ll need to make sure that the content created by your potential influencers is catchy yet pleasing or else, it can do more harm than good.
Here’s an example of a beautifully crafted post from influencer, Wendy Nguyen.
Image via Instagram
When you conduct influencer research, you should also check how frequently your potential influencer publishes content. The more active they are, the better for you.
Greater activity from an influencer keeps their followers more engaged. If you find that your potential influencer publishes content erratically with long periods of inactivity in between, they’re probably not the right choice for you.
The next step in your influencer research should be to find out some of the quantitative aspects of “influence” of your potential influencers. Their follower counts on their social media accounts is an important criterion that you should take into account.
In addition, you need to also find out how many people they’re potentially able to reach via shares of their content by their followers. It might be difficult to do this manually, but influencer marketing platforms can help you with this.
One of the most important steps in your influencer research should be to find out the engagement rate of your potential influencers. This is even more important than their reach or follower counts.
An influencer might have thousands of followers on Instagram. However, if you only find a few hundred likes, comments, and shares on their posts, it’s a cause of concern. This is an indication of how well their followers are receiving their content. So, if the engagement rate is poor, collaborating with such an influencer won’t do you much good.
Studies have found that the average engagement rate for influencers with:
- Fewer than 2000 followers = 10.7%
- Between 2000 and 5000 followers = 6%
- Between 5000 and 10000 followers = 4.9%
- Between 10000 and 25000 followers = 3.6%
- Above 1 million followers = 1.5%
You can use these benchmarks to make sure if your potential influencer has a strong engagement rate or not.
8. Traffic and DA
Finally, if you want to collaborate with bloggers in your niche, a crucial step in your influencer research would be to understand how much traffic they get every month and their Domain Authority (DA).
The higher the DA, the more valuable the backlinks you earn will be when the influencer mentions you on their blog or website. Also, the greater their traffic, the higher referral traffic you can expect to get.
For the success of your influencer marketing campaign, you need to build a solid foundation. This needs to start with figuring out your goals, knowing your audience, and conducting thorough influencer research. Your influencers play a vital role in your campaigns, so make sure that you select them after proper evaluation.
Grin can help you zero in on the right influencers easily – you can filter them by industry, reach, engagement rate, and many other parameters to find the right ones for your campaigns. It takes out much of the manual work that might be involved in influencer research so that you can make the best use of your time.
Can you think of any other crucial tips to conduct influencer research? Let us know in the comments below.