How to Choose the Best Social Media Influencers for Your Business

Syed Balkhi
Influencer MarketingPhoto byAdobe Stock

It’s safe to say that influencer marketing has fundamentally changed the way brands connect with their target audience.

Influencer marketing is a social media strategy where businesses partner with content creators and bloggers with a dedicated following. The creators then share posts, videos, and articles about the products or services offered by their partners.

Under the right circumstances, this strategy can help boost brand awareness, build trust, and improve conversions.

Once you look at a few social media statistics, it’s easy to see the benefits of investing in influencer partnerships.

About 60% of all people (4.74 billion people!) globally use social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. What’s more, the average person spends close to 2.5 hours across all social sites every single day.

There are plenty of opportunities to form influencer partnerships, regardless of your industry, and take your social media marketing strategy to the next level.

Today, I’ll share a few things to remember when choosing high-quality influencers for your business. We keep these tips in mind whenever we select an influencer for our business.

Let’s dive in!

Match Your Target Audience

The first thing you should do when choosing an influencer is find someone whose target audience matches your own. Having an influencer promote your product or service to a group of people that don’t want or need your product will cost money, time, and resources.

Think about it this way; if a dress shoe company wanted to promote its latest styles, would they see more organic traffic when working with a fashion or gaming YouTube channel?

The obvious answer is the fashion channel. Fashion creators cultivate an audience that wants to know about the latest fashion and lifestyle products. On the other hand, viewers on the gaming channel are not consistently interested in buying dress shoes.

In my experience, the best way to make sure you’re choosing an influencer with the right target audience is to review your own buyer personas. The more you know about the people most likely to need your product or service, the better your chance of finding an influencer with the same audience.

Track Social Media Mentions

Social listening is the practice of tracking conversations centered around your industry and products. It’s also an excellent way to find influencers already familiar with your company.

If you see that someone with a substantial following gave your brand a shoutout on their Instagram account, consider reaching out to them and asking if they would like to build a formal partnership.

Since these people already know about your brand, you’ll save plenty of time onboarding them into your influencer program. I also like partnering with people who mention us on social media first because they’ve shown their audience that they are passionate about your product or service, even without a direct incentive.

These influencers are great picks for promoting a product before launch. For instance, you can send trusted influencers your latest release early so they can share their feedback with potential customers on launch day.

Weigh Audience Size Vs. Engagement

Now, let’s talk about audience size vs. engagement. There’s a misconception that the best way to generate quality leads is to partner with influencers with millions of followers. I’m here to tell you that this is not always the case.

Before we look at specific case uses, let’s go over the commonly accepted metric for influencers based on their followers:

  • Nano 500-5k followers
  • Micro 5k-30k followers
  • Power 30k-500k followers
  • Celebrity 500k followers

Finding a good influencer for your company with 500 to 5k followers is possible. Shocking, right? It all starts to make sense when you consider the benefits.

Nano and micro-influencers tend to have extremely niche channels and, thus, audiences honed in on one specific topic. Working with these creators can help you promote your brand if your product matches the needs of their audience.

Larger creators with more than 50k are great for boosting brand awareness and can help you connect with potential customers. The thing is, working with power and celebrity influencers is more expensive and not practical for businesses that sell extremely niche products.

Check Their Reputation

Your reputation – and the reputation of the people you choose to work with – can dramatically impact your business. You don’t want to choose an influencer that recently had a large controversy or promotes values that don’t align with your company.

For example, a company that sells vegan gummies could see backlash if they partner with a food creator that regularly cooks meat. These inconsistencies between what customers expect and who is promoting the product could impact their decision to shop with your company.

Another reason reputation is important is over 59% of people turn to social media when they need shopping inspiration. Someone may be on the fence about your company and suddenly change their mind because of the people promoting your brand.

I recommend carefully reviewing each potential influencer before you reach out to them. You’ll want to check their content, recent news stories, and general attitude on social media platforms. If you’re worried their reputation could impact your business negatively, move on to someone else.

Prioritize Communication Skills

When choosing the best influencer for your business, look for people who are effective communicators. Influencer partnerships can change over time, especially when new products or campaigns are introduced.

Working with influencers with poor communication skills could result in late projects and make it difficult to plan for the future.

On the other hand, if a partner answers you within a few hours every time and works to understand exactly what you expect from the next campaign, they are worth keeping.

The best way to determine if a person has strong communication skills is to reach out to them and introduce yourself. The first few emails or direct messages should give you a general idea of how well they communicate.

Establish KPIs

Finally, it’s a good idea to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) around your influencer program. KPIs let influencers know exactly what you expect to gain from the partnership. It’s also helpful to ask your influencer partners if there are any goals they would like to include on the KPI sheet.

This tip will help you learn if an influencer is a good fit for your business over time. Content creators that consistently meet their KPIs take their role seriously and want what’s best for themselves and the partner company.

Here are a few KPIs you can use when striking your next influencer deal:

  • Reach - How many people will see the post/video?
  • Conversions - How many people clicked through and made a purchase?
  • Engagement - How many people interacted with the post via comments, liking, or sharing?
  • Cost per conversion - How much does each conversion from an influencer cost your company?

Tracking and managing KPIs will help you narrow down your list of influencers into one group of high-performing business partners.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best influencers for your business takes a lot of time and energy. But this is one strategy that’s worth pursuing. Research shows that 78% of marketers who use social media marketing (including influencers) see more sales, conversions, and engagement when compared to their peers.

If you’re not sure where to start your journey, I suggest checking YouTube and Google for independent creators whose content and personality would be a good match for your business. Before long, you’ll have cultivated a list of the best potential influencers for your brand.

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Syed Balkhi is on a mission to level the playing field for small businesses. 19+ million websites use his software to grow and compete with the big guys. 100+ million people read his blogs every year to grow their website traffic, sales, & conversion

West Palm Beach, FL

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