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article imageSo you want to hire a social media influencer?

By DJG     Nov 11, 2019 in Internet
If you're looking to tap into the influencer movement, here's how you can dig into their audience without direct access to their channels.
The following is a guest post by DJG.
Over the past five years the average cost of a single post from a social media influencer has risen dramatically, according to new data released from IZEA Worldwide. Looking at 13 years of data on the cost of posts across five digital platforms, IZEA found the average cost for a sponsored Instagram photo has risen 44 percent in the last year alone. In 2019, sponsored YouTube videos are the most expensive type of content for brands to purchase — and command a premium of 4x compared to the next highest-priced form of sponsored content..
Michelle Pinchev, executive director of this week’s Social Media Week in Toronto, says she’s excited about the evolution of the influencer space for social media marketing in 2020.
“A lot of cleanup happened in 2019. There was an oversaturation of influencers and a need to rebuild trust with consumers. There were questions around whether influencer marketing was a bubble,” says Pinchev. “The traditional way of thinking about influencers has changed. Brands are now asking about true return on investment.”
It’s no surprise to hear that given influencer marketing budgets nearly doubled from 2018 to 2019, according to Social Media Today.
The good news is that measuring ROI for influencer marketing campaigns gets easier every day as social media platforms release more sophisticated ways to measure, track and report on performance, says Pinchev. But before hiring your next influencer and setting KPIs together, she recommends first analyzing the audience that influencer reaches.
“Does the influencer’s audience line up with what you’re looking for and who you want to reach? In early days, people might hire a Toronto influencer, but not realize that influencer had a U.K. audience,” she says. Not only will this help you confidently select the best influencer to work with, it will also help you develop informed KPIs.

Analyzing an Influencer’s Audience Before You Hire Them

With 61 percent of marketers saying it’s hard to find the best influencers for a campaign, according to Mediakix, we wanted to share a fast and easy way to understand an influencer’s audience (without direct access to their native analytics): Use a third-party tool.
To get a high-level sense of whether or not the influencer can reach the right amount and type of people, a few (but not a full list) of the things you’ll want to look at are:
• Mentions
• Geography
• Word cloud of follower bios
At DJG, we do this regularly for our clients — especially as part of our live event coverage services — when they have narrowed down a short list of influencers and want to determine which one is best aligned to the campaign goals. Or, when they get pitched by influencers and are looking to see if it’s worth engaging.
Here’s how we take a quick look at an influencer using a third-party tool (in this case, Meltwater). For this step-by-step guide, we’re looking at two digital transformation influencers and their audience engagement from May to October 2019:
1) Ronald van Loon
2) Brian Solis

How Often Do They Get Mentioned?

Ronald van Loon is a prolific source of information in the digital transformation conversation. When comparing him and Brian Solis, van Loon drives significantly more mentions than Solis. A majority of the mentions for both of these influencers are on Twitter. So if you’re a brand looking to drive awareness in the #DigitalTransformation conversation on a different platform, these two individuals may not be an ideal fit.
Untitled
Screenshot from Meltwater
The number of mentions raise a red flag for us here. Both of these accounts have more than 200,000 followers, so it’s not surprising they each drive a lot of mentions. But Twitter has a known bot problem, so it would be worth running these accounts through a separate tool to confirm the number of active, non-bot accounts if you’re looking for more than a bump in reach.

Where Are Their Followers?

As Pinchev mentioned, it’s necessary to take a look at where the influencer has followers and if they’re in the geographic area where you want to drive awareness and engagement. Looking at Solis and van Loon, there is a clear bias toward a U.S. audience as well as English-speaking countries like the U.K. and Canada in general.
Untitled
Screenshot from Meltwater
One point we should mention: It is always worth asking how a third-party tool determines details such as geography, age, gender or other demographic factors. Some tools rely on user-reported data while others use machine learning to group users. Either way, how the tool sorts people can impact the results. Remember to take a look at absolute numbers and understand how much of the audience the tool is basing their conclusion on.

How Do Their Followers Describe Themselves?

To add additional colour to your understanding of an influencer’s follower base, consider looking at a word cloud of their followers’ bios. This is how the followers describe themselves and can be a source of intel, since people often mention their job titles, their employer, likes, hobbies and other topics they are passionate about.
Untitled
Screenshot from Meltwater
For Solis and van Loon, both have followers interested in marketing and digital tech as well as people who identify as founders and entrepreneurs. ‘Speaker,’ ‘creative’ and the title ‘marketer’ appear in Solis’ word cloud. In van Loon’s, ‘blockchain,’ ‘learning’ and ‘engineering’ appear.
With this information, you can ask yourself:
  • Which type of audience are you looking to drive more awareness with?
  • Can you shape the content of your message to resonate more knowing the differences in these audiences?
  • What hashtags can I test to reach related conversations that may have similar audiences?
    These are only three indicators you can dig into to understand an influencer’s audience using a third-party tool. While this does require a small time investment, it can pay off in terms of results for your partnership with any influencer you are considering.
    Looking for more insights on influencer marketing? Grab your ticket for Social Media Week in Toronto and consider attending the panel session Influence To Aspire To, Featuring & Donté Colley, Alysha Newman, & Scott McGillivray.
    This article is a guest post from DJG.
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