In an age where our lives pretty much revolve around technology, it is more important than ever to take the time to understand new apps and social media platforms, make the effort to understand how your customers consume the content on the different platforms and adjust your marketing plan accordingly.

Most of us understand the importance of influencers by now and the crucial role they play in introducing your brand to new audiences but how do you know who to choose? What do you look for? How do you identify the right influencers for YOU and YOUR business?

The obvious, but maybe not so obvious numbers can be a great indication of how popular the influencer is or how much engagement he or she receives from their audience, the higher the engagement (such as likes / followers / comment etc.) the better the influencer, it’s logic right? Well, not really. Same as with most things, over time technology, groups, apps and people have evolved with the platforms and found ways around it, with things such as paid followers, paid likes etc. and yes, there’s nothing wrong with paying for things these days, it’s inevitable if you want to grow in todays climate but the problem with the quick fix solutions is that they usually consist of bots, fake accounts and/or people who are not genuinely interested in what the individual has to say, needless to say you will not be seeing a return on your investment there and using these kinds of individuals will not translate into sales for your business. So how do you tell the difference between genuine following and fake accounts? Well, this isn’t exact science, there will be a lot of trial an error either way, but you can start by becoming aware of the possibilities and taking the time to examine all the different aspects while applying simple logic to the process. If an account has high following they should have the engagement to match, if an account has very high likes but extremely low comments be aware that they may not be the optimal choice if you’re looking for influencers who can promote actual content. Take the time to read the comments on the influencer’s posts, who are the people who are commenting? How do they align with your customer? For example, if you’re looking to sell products to females, a female influencer with predominantly male following might not be ideal in some cases. Pay close attention to smaller accounts as they often tend to have much higher engagement rates, are much more open minded to working together without wanting to charge exorbitant rates and can prove to be extremely valuable in the long run.

Reality has become extremely fast paced, people are consuming such high amounts of content that putting up one post every few days while wanting to dominate your industry is simply not gonna cut it. Finding influencers who have the ability to create good quality content for your brand can be a bit harder to find but can prove to be extremely valuable for any brand long term. Finding an individual who is talented and capable of creating engaging content native to their platform of choice that speaks to your target market is an amazing benefit and will go a long way, if you can find an individual who can create engaging content and has good following and engagement he or she is definitely a keeper!

The main key when looking at any new influencer that you’d like to consider for the job is to always try and analyse the individual from all angles. Ask yourself – What kind of message does the individual send? Who is within their reach and what kind of customer will I gain from working and aligning my brand with this type of individual? Would it be a customer that will be interested in my products? Would it reflect positively or negatively on my brand to align with the individual? Would they be able to create the kind of content that you’re looking for?

The reality is that there are many different associations a brand can look at, it can be from a skill or an achievement point of view (being the best in a certain industry that the brand caters for, having special talents etc.), it can be a persons look from a photographic campaign stand point, it can be because the individual has got a good Social Media reach and has built a good reputation with their followers and there’s an added marketing value to having them endorse the products, but in most cases it’s important to look at every single aspect of the individual’s being while trying to find candidates who can tick off more than one box.

Gaining a holistic view of any individual and assessing their compatibility to your brand as a whole is the most crucial part of the process. If you’re unsure, don’t be scared to test things out either, we can only learn from experience.