Identifying a fitting influencer for your brand can be tricky with the sheer number of influencers to choose from. Odds are, the kind of “celebrity-labelled” influencers that you think your brand can get a return of investment on sometimes come with a heavy price tag, and may not ultimately prove a worthwhile venture.

With 2020 proving a paramount year for most businesses, marketers are facing more responsibility on tightening budget costs and generating the most impact on consumer spending. According to ANA, 92% of consumers are more likely to trust a micro-influencer’s recommendation than a traditional ad or a celebrity endorsement in respect of the credibility and knowledge in their niche.

Although micro-influencers may be the alternative pick, your choice doesn’t end there. There is a plethora of influencer tiers that exist, each boasting different benefits from engagement rate, number of followers, and ROI. For instance, despite having the smallest follower count (1,000 to 10,000 followers) out of the different influencer ranks, nano-influencers might be able to make up for their lack of followers with authentic engagement from a focused pool of followers. Their influence is far more trustworthy as they possess stronger ties with their followers in their area of expertise, resulting in an engagement rate of about 8% on their social posts, an attractive figure for brands given that macro-influencers with up to a million followers account for only 3%.

If you’re at a loss for which influencer to pick, we suggest using a social listening platform to earmark relevant creators and influencers that meet your target segment, brand identity, and desired impact in the marketing funnel.

Plan Your Influencer Blueprint

Influencer marketing, like most other marketing techniques, require a structured understanding of what your campaign objectives are and how influencers can be used to reach them. You may first want to ask yourself:

  • Why do you want to include influencers in your strategy?
  • Which level of influencers are suitable for your objective?
  • What are your campaign targets? Which customer segments, topics, or areas of interest do you want to reach?

The idea behind this is having a concrete understanding of what objectives you’ll be undertaking before identifying an ideal influencer. As social media is the bread and butter of any influencer’s line of work, this is also the time where you would want to explore using influencer identification tools like Digimind’s to extract and analyze critical insights pertaining to the scope of your project and effectively sieve out the best performers.

Set the parameters of your social listening project around a designated set of criteria. Let’s say you are launching a new line of home fitness products. Your social media listening scope should therefore include the following parameters: :

  • The theme of your project. (e.g. Fitness)
  • Keywords and hashtags to monitor. (e.g. #sweatlife, #homegym, and daily grind)
  • Social networks to monitor. (e.g. 3 Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube)
  • Collection period. (e.g. 2 months)

Pro tip: These parameters around your monitored topic can help to isolate possible influencers of interesting profiles or who are involved in social conversations within a high-engaged community. Further investigation can reveal points of interests that resonate strongly with your target segment. For instance, you might notice that people posting about fitness during lunch hours show a trend of eating a particular diet, giving you the opportunity to explore influencers poignant in the food sector as a possible recruitment for your campaign.  

Mapping Your Ecosystem of Influencers

Next, you want to map your influencers by audience, relevance, and engagement. Visualizing your influencers in this way enables you to:

  • Get an overview of how they relate to your audience, specifically in the topic you’re monitoring or looking to launch a campaign around
  • Streamline your influencer search based on key metrics

Pro tip: Map your influencers in a table, and adjust the rankings based on different key attributes depending on your campaign objectives.

An example of a social listening chart
Social listening chart ranking influencers on Twitter by number of followers.

Analyze key figures of possible influencers under your target segment, which highlights their potential reach:

  • Audience (followers and subscribers)
  • Relevance (topics and number of messages targeting the subject)
  • Engagement (interactions with online communities and followers)

Analyze the vast network of influencers to account for every relationship:

  • Notable partnerships or collaborations with brands, media, other influencers, and fans.

Pro tip: Don’t rule out the possibility that your selected influencer may have collaborated with a competitor! Allow your research to identify intricate connections to show how deeply ingrained the influencer is in your target segment. Identify notable partnerships with entities that could either benefit or be detrimental to your brand identity.

An example of a social listening chart that shows relationship between influencers and brands.
Social listening chart displaying influencers’ online relationship with different brands.

Categorize influencers according to their:

  • Influence score, according to the three pillars of audience, relevance, and commitment
  • Areas of interest within the target segment (eg. within the fitness segment, their niche could be yoga)
  • Socio-demographic profile

Define your scale of micro influencers according to:

  • Scale of influence (this varies widely according to different factors such as sector, region, industry and social network)
  • Market segment

The scale of influence is needed for an accurate assessment of your influencer’s potential in the market you will be targeting. As influence varies from factor to factor, you may be required to adapt and classify your influencers accordingly after data collection. For example, a vlogger may not be as visible on a different social network like Twitter or Facebook, if their presence is primarily recognized through Youtube. A poor performing campaign may not necessarily be the fault of the influencer, but due to the inaccurate assessment of the influencer’s social profile.

Identifying Potential Micro-Influencers

When it comes to value, despite a considerably leaner account size (5,000 to 10,000 followers compared to macro-influencers whose followings range between 10,000 to 1 million), micro-influencers have a possibility to drive stronger sales and lead generation figures with more consumers finding greater authenticity and homogeneity between themselves and their influencer counterparts.

Detecting Micro-Influencers on Social Media

Beyond vanity metrics such as the number of followers, other quantitative indicators which indicate a person’s level of influence should be taken into account in your analysis. As influencers may not in actuality be active on every social network, pay due attention to an influencer’s audience reach, engagement, and number of mentions among your target audience.

As for sieving out available micro-influencers, some social listening tools have a ranking tool that enables you to create rules to rank profiles and mentions automatically. For example, sliding the rank on your scale of influence helps you isolate influencers within a specific rank of reach, engagement, or relevance. This narrows your scope of finding that ideal micro-influencer among the larger influencers around.

An example of influencer-brand relationships displayed by a social listening chart.
Social listening chart displaying a brand’s online relationship with differentlevels of influencers who discuss their products.

Qualifying the Micro-Influencer With Social Data

After you have shortlisted a number of potential influencers, be prepared to churn out a qualitative analysis of their characteristics for fact-checking based on the 4 W’s and 1 H:

Where, What, When, Who, and How.

  • Where is this influencer located?
  • Which social network, media, or event is he or she most present on? Where are his or her audiences located, regionally or internationally?
  • What is the editorial or aesthetic style of this influencer?
  • What is the type and quality of messages conveyed, and in what language? Ensure the content is consistent with your brand identity and positioning.
  • The same question applies to the frequency of his or her posts on your campaign’s desired topics.
  • Who follows this influencer?
  • How is he or she linked with other brands?
  • How does this influencer interact with his or her followers?
  • How does he or she talk about a brand’s target topics and products?

With this profiling in place, you are one step closer to finding an influencer that matches your target description, level of influence, and most importantly, has the characteristics to appeal to their mass of followers with your brand.

Securing the Right Influencer With Social Listening

Finding the right influencer, be it a celebrity or micro-influencer, might work differently depending on your campaign objective. If you are on a tight budget that requires high returns, the obvious bet is to go with a micro-influencer whose network, although limited to their community, usually demonstrates a high engagement rate.

Oftentimes, you would want to deep-dive further into analysis, which freely available social analytics tools on the Internet cannot provide. By matching your preliminary research with qualitative data gathered using a social listening intelligence tool, you can ascertain that characteristics of a potential influencer is based on a predefined criteria in your design, which includes your topic of interest, scale of influence, media source, and country. Turning this data into insights can reveal key metrics on the influencer, such as relevance and sentiment. This makes for a better accuracy of an influencer’s impact and fit for your brand.