Social media influencers. The concept is pretty straight forward. Let’s start off with what an influencer is: these people have a significant following/fan base on social media, and their ‘influence’ can be used to persuade their audience to invest in a company’s products. Pretty much anyone with a faithful audience and some type of niche market has, to an extent, the ability to become an influencer.

Social media marketing has huge potential to increase revenue for a company. 40% of the world uses some form of a social media platform. You can reach a lot of people. And a lot of people can reach you. But just because an influencer has a large following, doesn’t necessarily make them a guaranteed token of success to your business. Influencers are only as powerful as the people who trust them. Now a days, there are more bot-like apps out there than we’d like to take the time to sit here and name. Basically what they do is automatically engage with other users, and these generated comments are often identified by being very generic, painfully corny, and littered with emojis.

So, what are some keys to successfully utilizing these so-called influencers? And what are some red flags to look out for in weeding out the fakers?

First of all, do your research. The key to successful influencer marketing lies in analytics. Yes, this means you’re gonna have to record numbers, engagement rates, accounts reached, profile visits, follower fluctuations, all that good stuff. Think of social media as an experiment. You have to produce measurable results. Then the results can be analyzed to deem whether or not your influencer is drawing enough attention/adding significant value to your company or product. Stay thorough!

When our full-service ad agency works with influencers, we keep a close eye on follower count over time and track growth to make sure things are stable and consistent. Sudden spikes in followers are a tell-tale sign of a fake influencer because these spikes are often the result of bought followers Plus, it has come to light that around 20% of mid-level influencers have fake followers. If big names like Pampers and Neiman Marcus are padding their numbers, who’s to say lower-level influencers aren’t doing the same? Or even more likely to do the same?

Engagement is another huge tool to utilize. Without engagement, social media doesn’t matter. If an “influencer” with tens of thousands of of followers is getting a suspiciously low amount of likes and comments, they probably don’t have a legitimate following. Womp. It’s probably best to put your money is more suitable hands, brother. Always calculate an influencer’s engagement rate to determine if the interactions going on on their profiles are legitimate. Additionally, you might want to take a peek at an influencer’s previous collaborations: have they worked with legitimate brands? Do they promote any old product they can get their hands on? When it comes to social media, we always pick quality over quantity.

The bottom line is you can’t just throw money at people and hope it produces results. Without paying proper attention to analytics, you’ll end up making your brand look bad and waste serious dollars on a useless marketing effort. When we work with influencers, our most important goal is to make sure we know that what is being done is actually working. We do business with a win-win-win mentality: the product wins, the client wins, and as a result, so do we. Now that you have some basic influencer knowledge, don’t let those bots get ya!

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