Don’t just go out there and hire influencers based on who has the highest number of followers!
There is so much more you need to know and look out for before hiring someone to be your brand ambassador.
History has it that many brands who invest top dollars on influencer marketing in the hope of gaining more exposure and increasing sales end up chasing other marketing techniques after their investment failed to yield results.
This happened not because influencer marketing isn’t a sound strategy, but mainly because those brands failed to analyze critically the influencers they were hiring.
In order not to make the same mistakes, here are five tests you can conduct to determine whether an influencer will deliver good results or not.
- Test for Relevance: Are their followers really relevant to my business?
- Test for Authenticity: Are the followers real or bots?
- Test for Engagement: What’s their engagement rate like?
- Test for conversion: Will their audience respond to your business?
- Test for ROI: How much can profits can you expect?
Test for Relevance: Are their followers really relevant to my business?
Before hiring an influencer, the first test you need to carry out is the test for relevance.
Once you’ve decided it’s time to delve into influencer marketing, and you’ve made a list of all the possible influencers you’d like to work with, the next thing is to start analyzing them to see which one best fits your ideal buyer persona.
To test for the relevance of influencer to your business, you need to look out for the following points:
- Theme/tone of posts: Influencers with the types of posts that resonate with your audience.
- Audience demographics: A women-centered influencer is not a good fit for a brand focusing on men’s products. Other demographic factors include age, net worth, location, employment, etc.
- Audience geography: An influencer popular in Massachusetts may not be a good option for a brand in Texas.
- Audience psychographics: Audience psychographics refers to elements such as the audience’s beliefs, aspirations, priorities, motivations, and the likes.
PRO TIP: Follow this link to learn how to find Instagram influencers that are relevant to your business.
Test for Authenticity: Are the followers real or bots?
Next is the authenticity test.
This will tell you whether the supposed 78k followers displayed on an influencer’s account are actually real followers or bots.
You can carry out this test using any of the tools listed below:
IG Audit (A free tool): randomly scans 200 followers and rates an account as either authentic or fake based on a score out of 100.
FakeCheck.co (you pay $1 per): analyzes influencers’ accounts by collecting data regarding their account followers’ engagement level.
Social Audit Pro (you pay $5 for 5k followers, $20 for 20k followers check): to determine the authenticity of an influencer, compares influencers, and also to determine how many people an influencer is truly reaching.
Test for Engagement: What’s their engagement rate like?
By engagement, we mean what their comments, likes, shares, subscribers, and views are like? The higher the numbers, the better your chances of getting results when you hire them.
To analyze an influencer’s engagement, you can use the follower engagement (FE) to follower size (FS) ratio.
How does this work? You wonder.
Well, the idea here is to find an influencer with the highest FE: FS ratio, knowing fully well that the higher the ratio, the greater the results they’ll likely generate.
A quick case study:
Influencer X has 10k followers and gets 500 engagements (shares/views/subscribers/comments/likes). And influencer Y has 100k followers and gets 1,000 engagements (shares/likes/comments/subscribers/views). Although influencer Y appears (FE: FS = 1%) to have the higher engagements, influencer X (FE: FS = 5%) is the better option here because he has a greater FE: FS ratio, which means he’s got a stronger influence on his audience.
Test for conversion: Will their audience respond to your business?
Strangely, an influencer might check all the boxes above and still not generate good results when you hire them.
That is, an influencer might be relevant to your business, boast a good number of real followers, and enjoy a sizeable engagement rate. But when it comes to generating sales, they fall short!
This is very possible. And most times, it’s always because of the “conversion ability” of the influencer.
It’s one thing for an influencer to be loved, followed, and trusted by people; it’s another thing for them to boast the kind of influence needed to influence people’s purchasing decisions.
You can find out about an influencer’s conversion abilities by looking at their track record – that is, the stories and reports of the previous brands they’ve worked with.
You can ask the influencer directly for this information or reach out to brands you see they’ve worked with in the past, or check their posts regularly for comments relating to purchases or interest in purchasing.
Test for ROI: How much can profits can you expect?
This test is slightly related to the #4 test above. The only difference here is that you’re more focused on the number.
That is, how much can you expect in return from your investment.
According to the Influencer marketing hub, brands can expect to make at least $5 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. That is, if you spend $100 per post on a nano influencer (someone with, say 3k followers), you should expect nothing less than $500 in return.
To test whether your target influencer can fetch you this, simply ask them directly what the estimated ROI for your investment is? Their response to this question should give you the impression of what to expect if you shell out the money.
To hold them responsible for their words/promises, you can propose to sign a contract that states the possibility for a refund if they don’t meet the target ROI.