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How to Tell Relevant Social Media Influencers From Imposters

Date published: December 09, 2020
Last updated: December 9, 2020

Influencer marketing has become an effective way to sell products to relevant demographics. Influencers flood social media with personalized content detailing their lives and interests. By connecting with like-minded individuals, social media influencers humanize the brands they represent.

The question is, how can you tell real influencers from imposters? The key is to look for relevance. Social media influencers who are relevant in their space are worth investing in. Here’s how to find the right influencer for your brand:

Look for Organic Reach

The first thing many businesses look for when choosing a social media influencer is how many followers they have. While this is a solid indicator of their value, it can be fool’s gold at times. Some influencers purchase followers to up their count, making their numbers look better than they actually are. 

What you want to look for is organic reach and engagement. An influencer with 100,000 followers with a 90% engagement rate will reach about as many people as an influencer with 1,000,000 and less than 10% engagement. Not only that, but smaller influencers tend to be more affordable and more effective.

Look out, in particular, for “follow for a follow” techniques. This is a cheap way to inflate a follower count without developing an actual audience. If an influencer is following tons of people, it likely means that their own follower base isn’t of the highest quality.

Match Up Audiences

The audience of your influencer of choice should closely match up to your target audience. If you’re looking for an influencer to market your new line of beauty products, choosing an influencer who shares knife-throwing videos might not be the best choice.

Look at influencers’ content to get a feel of who watches their videos and what they’re interested in. You can also dive into comment sections and followers to scope out their audience. If their follower base lines up with your own audience, you will have found a relevant representative for your brand.

Analyze Past Partnerships

Forming brand partnerships is a vital part of the financial life of an influencer. That’s why it’s likely that most of the influencers you’re considering have had prior brand partnerships. Analyzing these arrangements allows you to see just how successful past campaigns with this influencer have been.

Look at a few posts with brand sponsorships. How does the engagement and viewership of these posts compare to their others? If their brand-related content performed well, that’s a good sign for you. If it fell flat, try to determine why before ruling them out completely.

Also, take note of what percentage of an influencer’s content is sponsored. An influencer is more trustworthy if they share a lot of authentic and personal content with some sponsorships scattered throughout, as opposed to only sharing sponsored content.

Check Their Voice and Values

Social media sites are great for sharing content authentically. To develop a brand, either personal or for business, the influencer’s voice should be genuine and consistent. If it’s not, they may not be right for your brand.

An influencer that sounds like someone different in every post won’t be as reliable as one with an established voice. Their steadiness will support your brand as you develop your own voice, which should at least be in the same ballpark as your influencer partners.

Besides consistency, make sure potential partners’ values line up with your company mission. This way, you won’t have to worry about statements or comments that may put your brand in a bad light. Audiences can be unforgiving if they think your brand has “sold out.”

Focus on Quality

A relevant social media influencer puts time and effort into their content. This will be apparent in their copywriting and content editing, as well as the uniqueness of the content they share. These influencers will be more successful than others who rely on content that’s rehashed, copied, or unimaginative.

Are you impressed by an influencer’s content, or does it leave a lot to be desired? If you like how their posts look and can imagine your brand being featured in them, then you have found a relevant option.

Another important aspect of content creation is frequency. An influencer with a haphazard or infrequent posting schedule will not be as relevant as a more reliable one. Take note of the frequency of their posting to make sure they’re staying on top of relevant trends.

Prioritize Professionalism

Pay attention to how potential influencer partners communicate with you. Are they agreeable and willing to work with you? Are they clear about their expectations? These are signs of a social media influencer you’ll want to work with for the long haul.

Influencers who fail to respond promptly or take a “my way or the highway” approach aren’t just difficult to work with. They likely won’t help you reach your goals. Just as you would with any other business partnership, make sure they’re a good match.

How successful your influencer marketing efforts are will depend on how carefully you select your influencer partners. Gauge their relevance, test before you trust, and above all, get the agreement in writing. If they don’t perform, you’ll be glad you did. 

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