Evaluating Influencers: Where Is The Sweet Spot? – By Kim Cashwell

by Jenae Reid on December 19, 2017

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An effective influencer is like a camera tripod. The legs of this tripod represent reach, engagement, and content.

Many advertisers believe reach is more important than anything else, but if you neglect other areas, you may not reap the full benefits from your investment. To gauge influence, focus instead on the intersection between content, engagement, and reach.

Here is what you should you look for in each area:

 

Reach

What to Look For:

An influencer’s reach refers to their audience size. It’s easy to see an influencer with 50k Instagram followers and assume that your brand will get a lot of exposure from a sponsored post. This number only matters if they’re reaching 50k engaged people in your target market, rather than 49k who aren’t as interested.

Watch Out For:

Some people have a large audience, because they post about multiple topics. If a lifestyle blogger posts a food recipe, people interested in money saving tips or parenting hacks won’t be as drawn toward it.

Other bloggers post about freebies or coupons. Their followers just want a good deal and are less concerned with purchasing from a specific brand.

Influencers may also run contests that require people to follow their page, join communities who follow each other to boost their numbers, or purchase followers to create the illusion of reach. Be sure to research engagement and content quality to filter these influencers out.

 

Engagement

What to Look For:

 

Engagement with the audience makes reach meaningful. An influencer may publish outstanding content, but if people aren’t listening, sharing, or commenting, it becomes stagnant. Engagement is the heartbeat keeping a post alive. If engagement stops, the content quickly becomes history.

Watch Out For:

Be aware of bots or spam producing artificial engagement. Some influencers belong to groups that comment and share posts to create an engagement mirage. Before hiring, research previous posts to see what kind of activity they generated.

 

Content

What to Look For:

A blogger who regularly posts quality content relating to your brand’s niche is the best fit. Even with a large readership and meaningful engagement, if they post content about health and fitness, don’t expect a lot of interest from the audience if you hire them to write about software.

Nonetheless, listen to their pitch before dismissing them — they may have a unique spin you haven’t considered yet.

Watch Out For: 

Some sites have vast numbers of followers and lots of engagement but post low-quality content. The influencer may outsource to a poor writer, post generic salesy reviews, or have material that is controversial or promotes your competitors. Exposure of your brand on a site that does not align with your values is worse than no exposure.

 

The Sweet Spot

The sweet spot is a balance of engagement, reach, and content. This balance provides a stable foundation to build brand awareness. Focusing on this intersection also helps you negotiate a fair price. If you evaluate each area thoroughly before hiring, you’ll have a sweet recipe for success.

 

Kim Cashwell works with advertisers and agencies running influencer campaigns through Fresh Press Media.

This article appeared in issue 41 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in January 2018. https://issuu.com/affiliatesummit/docs/feedfront-41

 

 

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