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How to Select the Best Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

101 LGBTQIA+ in Tech, Business & Storytelling

Influencer marketing is the 21st century version of word-of-mouth marketing, and its popularity continues among brands and content marketers. Experts predict that the influencer marketing industry will be worth almost $14 billion by the end of 2021— one of the few industries expected to grow despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the popularity and the growth projection, it must work for businesses. However, for influencer marketing to work, it's important to choose the right influencers for your brand.

Choosing your audience

It all starts with a relevant audience. The influencers you work with should have an audience that you also target. That's why you must first define your own target audience.

Start by creating buyer personas. Don't limit personas to demographic factors only. Include psychographic factors such as values, lifestyle choices, personality traits, motivations, and priorities.

Once you have your target audience defined, find influencers who share this audience. You can use Alexa's Overlap Tool to find influencers your target audience engages with.

Key factors to help you choose the best influencers

Audience is important, but it's only one of the important factors when selecting influencers for your Instagram marketing strategy. Here are other key factors to consider:

Engagement rate

A large number of followers does not always translate to a good ROI for your social media marketing strategy. Engagement rate is a better metric to track. Recent research finds that smaller influencers — people with 1k to 5k followers — have higher engagement rates. There is no rule, though. Your influencer marketing goals should dictate who you pick.

For instance, if brand awareness is your top goal, engage with a really popular influencer who doesn't have an impressive engagement rate. The goal in this case is to get views. Here is a free tool to check engagement rate of Instagram influencers. Alternately, you can take the average number of likes and comments an influencer gets on a post, divide it by their number of followers, and then multiply the result by 100 to get the engagement rate.

Ratio of sponsored vs. organic content

The influencer marketing industry is undergoing a shift towards more organic influencers. These are people who post authentic content and are more trusted by their peers. When selecting an influencer for your content marketing campaign, see the ratio of sponsored versus organic posts on their social media channel. A high ratio of sponsored content is less trustworthy, and won't fetch you the desired results.

Social and political values of influencers

The influencers you engage with are a direct reflection on your brand's social and political alignment. You don't want someone who's paleo to promote your vegan fashion line. It will send mixed messages and alienate your target audience. Carefully check the content influencers post across their social media. Shortlist ones that reiterate the values your brand stands for. Relevant hashtags are a simple way to eliminate potentially problematic social media influencers.

Other than those factors, consider the quality and tone of content that influencers post, the frequency of the posts, and the quality of the audience they attract. Typically, reliable influencers post once every one or two days. Likewise, a high ratio of followers with weird usernames or no photos typically points to an inflated follower count.

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