Influencer marketing has developed into a multi-billion-dollar industry in the past few years, and big companies from every industry have been known to employ the method. Influencer marketing is a great way for brands to reach their goals in branding as well as engagement, sales and much more.
However, you don’t need to be a huge company to benefit from influencer marketing. Small, local businesses can benefit from this strategy.
But, the success of your business is contingent on the selection of the appropriate social media influencers for your business. It can be difficult at times, particularly for smaller companies with fewer resources. So, if you’re a smaller business that’s interested in influencing marketing, continue reading for information on what to look for when you want to find influencers.
Before we begin, where can you find influencers?
There are three main methods to identify influencers:
- Social media
- Influencer marketing platform
- Influencer marketing agency
The most efficient way to accomplish this is to use an agency, however it’s the most expensive option, which is probably not feasible for a majority of small businesses. An influencer marketing platform requires a subscription, but is far less expensive than an agency.
If you use this type of software, it’s possible to discover influencers faster than if you use social media on your own. But if your budget is very limited, don’t be afraid to search directly via social media. It’s not the easiest method, however, it’s also free.
To decide which option is the best one for you, consider your goals, the resources available and budget. Whichever method you decide to use, it is essential to have access to performance metrics. They can be obtained through agencies or an influencer marketing platform, or you can ask the influencers for their media kit.
What should you look for in influencers?
Let’s examine the various metrics and characteristics small-scale businesses should be looking for in influencers.
1. A follower count you can manage within your budget
Prices for influencers are dependent on a variety of factors, including follower count and engagement rate, the country, as well as the type of content you’re looking for.
Follower count is among the easiest methods to quickly determine the price an influencer could cost. To illustrate this, we’ll arrange influencers into 6 levels:
- Nano influencers, 1-5K followers
- Micro influencers, 5-50K followers
- Medium influencers, 50-100K followers
- Macro influencers, 100K-1M followers
- Mega influencers, 1M+ followers
- Key opinion leaders, no range of followers
Smaller businesses should avoid working with celebrities like Kylie Jenner or Charlie D’Amelio because you can’t afford them. Mega influencers can have a cost of tens of millions of dollars for each post or even more!
In the same way, a KOL (or key opinion leader) isn’t always the best option for a small business, either. KOLs are industry experts who have impressive influence both on and off social media. This means they’re costly and busy, which makes them difficult to get in touch with. So if you’re a small company, working with a KOL might not be a feasible option.
Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives for small-sized companies. Nano influencers, who have 1-5K followers, usually cooperate with brands in exchange for free products alone. Micro influencers, who have 5-50k followers, might work for free products, for products plus a small fee.
You may think that these influencers, with very few followers, will not be able to make a difference in your marketing campaign. However, think twice because these influencers have the most engaged audiences of all influencers, which brings us to the second quality.
2. Good engagement rate
Engagement rate determines the degree of interaction between an influencer and their followers. The more a group of followers trusts and appreciates the content of an influencer, the more inclined they will be to engage with it. Engagement rate is dependent on the amount of interactions with content as compared to the number of followers.
In the end, the closer an influencer’s connections are to their audience, the greater chance they have of translating their engagement into engagement with your company. As small businesses aren’t able to afford huge influencers with millions of followers across the globe, it’s best to advertise your brand’s message to targeted, engaged niches. You reach fewer people this way, but you reach the right people.
So, what is an impressive engagement rate and what’s a poor one? You should compare influencers’ engagement to the average engagement of their peers. This can be done using the help of an influencer marketing platform, or get the media kit of an influencer and look up benchmarks for similar influencers on the same network.
It is important to note that engagement rate averages differ based on the categories, social networks, and number of followers. Don’t make the mistake of comparing TikTok creators with the averages of Instagram influencers, for example. And don’t compare fashion influencers with just 5K followers with sports influencers who have 500K followers.
In the end, you should look out for excessively low or high engagement. If it’s extremely low, it means that people don’t like the influencer’s content, their followers aren’t active, or worse, they are fake. On the other hand, if it’s very high, the influencer might have purchased fraudulent engagements (like fake comments or likes).
3. A real audience that matches your buyer personas
All marketing campaigns must keep in mind their target audience. It’s impossible to be successful without directing your message to a particular segment of people that match your company’s buyer personas. Moreover, the target audience also helps you determine the right influencers.
If you are looking for influencers, check to see whether their followers are similar to the audience you want to target. Look at demographics such as gender, age, location, interests, and languages. Can this influencer connect you with the right people? If you don’t have access to demographic data, you can ask the influencer to provide it.
A breakdown of audience interests from an influencer marketing platform. We can see that over half of the influencer’s followers are interested in surfing.
When examining the audience, also look into their authenticity. Conduct a fake followers audit to identify any influencers who have audiences heavily composed of bots. False followers are said to have caused brands to lose $1.3 billion in the year 2019. As a small-sized business with a modest budget, it’s crucial to not waste your time and money advertising to bots.
An authenticity analysis of audience members by an influencer marketing platform. 8.46% of the followers of this influencer have shown some sort of suspicious behavior that is typically seen in bots.
There are a variety of ways to identify bots:
- There is no profile photo or biographical information
- Names appear to be random strings of numbers and letters
- Content is not very good, or content is heavily advertorial
- Comments appear odd or off-topic, as though they were not made by a real human
Validating the authenticity of your audience is a crucial step to ensuring that you have the most effective influencers for your small-scale business.
4. Local presence
Large brands have the ability to work with influencers from all over the world because their businesses have a global presence. For small-scale businesses it’s a different story. It is better to keep your business local.
What’s the reason? A local influencer will be able to better understand your brand’s culture and image and may even come to visit you if you have a physical presence. Additionally, local influencers will be able to connect you with individuals who live in your region, who at the end of the day are people who could be your future customers.
5. Content and personality that are aligned with your brand
The last one is applicable to any brand that is working in influencer marketing: Find influencers that align with your brand’s values. It must make sense to followers why your brand and a given influencer are working together.
This can’t be quantified through data, so you must examine the profile of an influencer and trust your gut. Think about questions like:
- Does this influencer produce content in the same style that my company does?
- Does their content quality meet my expectations?
- Is their voice capable of delivering my message?
- Does the influencer adhere to the values of my brand?
- Do their aesthetics align with my own?
Engaging with influencers who align with your brand’s image will result in more authentic, credible collaborations.
Influencer marketing is an enormous business, however even smaller businesses can utilize this method to increase their sales. Remember that success depends on identifying the right influencers to collaborate with.