Right now, at a time when there is a lot of uncertainty, it is important for influencers to further consolidate trust that has already been built to ensure long-term fan loyalty. Reach is the currency of the 21st century and whoever knows how to use it skillfully has a clear advantage.
But the number of influencers, who do not take their job seriously has grown significantly in recent times too. This affects the seriousness of the brand ambassadors of the entire industry to a certain extent. With how important it is, brands should not make hasty decisions when it comes to hiring an influencer, instead take a closer look first:
1. Numbers of followers and likes are not decisive anymore
When looking at the profile of an influencer, do not just consider the numbers of followers and likes as these are no longer very meaningful parameters when determining the value of an influencer. Pay attention to the community instead to find out whether a cooperation will bring added value. Especially, since nowadays it is a cinch to spruce up followers, likes and other numbers with the help of various providers who promise “qualitative followers”.
Instagram is now throwing a monkey wrench in such activities by removing "fake followers" that have been added on a regular basis, which explains why a look at the influencer's community is much more important. The question you should ask is “how interactive is the relationship between the influencer and the followers and how relevant are comments?” Furthermore, you can also check the availability of the influencer's followers by measuring how many people the average follower of an influencer follows to find out if the influencer gets lost in the crowd of fans. Regarding the interaction, you should check whether the influencer meets the followers through posts and stories: “Are captions structured in such a way that followers can respond meaningfully?” Subsequently, the comments can be examined for relevance by checking whether followers respond to the content of the post.
But when it comes to community, there is (like always) the possibility of simulating a large allegiance to be better ranked by the network algorithm. Some influencers are in so-called “engagement groups”, in which you exchange likes and comments with others to get more coverage. So, they send their freshly posted contributions to a group, in which the first few minutes should be diligently commented and liked, to be preferred by the algorithm. Intrinsically, this is a great way to increase the reach of the posts, but there are now mass tools that cast a slur at this service. It is important to listen to the advice of experts to identify such auxiliary means at an early stage.
2. Media kit is the influencer's business card
By now, the media kit, which is usually sent to the customer as a PDF before a cooperation, is used as an ID and business card for the influencer: numbers, statistics, and beautiful pictures should make a good first impression.
Whether a media kit is attached to the request email, and the way it is prepared, says much more about a potential collaboration than expected: it provides an overview of the influencer’s target group statistics and shows whether the influencer can address corporate messages to the target group appropriately. The usual building blocks of a media kit are firstly sample images that show the quality of the influencer's work. Secondly, the media kit can contain past collaborations that provide further information on the target group. And thirdly, there is often a personal text that helps to find out whether values and attitudes fit the company’s brand. Unfortunately, this document is also often used to whitewash data and to adapt statistics graphically. Hence, you might want to seek the advice of an expert before a cooperation to classify all statistics correctly and to check them carefully.
You can already see a lot in the request that usually contains the media kit. The more personalized a request is, the more attention it gets. The signature, choice of words and email address are also indicators of the influencer's professionalism. Does he still use a free standard email provider such as Gmail, Yahoo & Co. or does he already have a personalized email address? Very often influencers also have a website where you can get an idea of previous collaborations and the person, so you should spare no effort to read through personal texts.
3. Past collaborations are a good comparison parameter
How many cooperations an influencer has had in the past is one of the most meaningful indicators and should be shown in a media kit. You can also find this in the influencer's feed: “Does the influencer only cooperate with selected brands, or does he/she sell with every brand in every industry?” The fact is that the more qualitative and sector-specific the past cooperation, the more interesting it will be for a cooperation. Qualitative and close partnerships are preferable to short and distant partnerships.
Brands that are smaller and do not have much experience with influencers can orientate themselves towards larger brands and rely on their testing expertise. But be careful: not every reference that can be found in a media kit has to be “paid for”.
4. Preferring a selfie queen or a brand ambassador?
With pictorial language, attention should be paid to how the influencer stages products and collaborations. In many industries, and especially in the luxury industry, the divisibility factor is crucial, as whether the resulting image material is shared by other large channels depends on it. This is how influencer campaigns can go viral with the right background and backdrop. Certainly, fashion influencers are to be distinguished from travel influencers, who set their focus differently. But in the field of fashion there are so-called “repost channels” too, channels that publish other people's content and just wait to share the perfectly staged image.
5. Not every influencer fits every brand
When it comes to finding a suitable influencer for a brand cooperation, the most important prerequisite is that the influencer reflects the values of the company and fits the style of the company. In many ways, it is a gut decision whether an influencer fits the respective brand. However, it is recommended to define certain parameters such as wording, imagery, age, niche, etc. to set up a standardized process for the influencer assessment. Above all, you have to pay attention to whether the influencer makes statements on political issues and current situations, which could possibly cast a damning light on the cooperation.
In any case, approach influencer marketing with caution and thoroughly review and use the points mentioned above to continuously adapt the evaluation process.
By Daniela La Marca