Influencer marketing has evolved into a strategy that is used in some capacity by more brands than not. Which is why I still get so surprised at how many brands struggle with their influencer marketing strategies. Particularly, influencer identification.

One study that sheds light on the influencer marketing struggle is a recent report from Fashion & Beauty Monitor report in partnership with Econsultancy. While it focuses on fashion and beauty brand and influencers, the key takeaways are universal.

With 73% of marketers saying that identifying the right influencer is the greatest challenge, clearly it’s time we revisit influencer identification and help each other get caught up and on the same page.

84% of influencer research is carried out manually searching social media platforms and forums; 73% state identifying the right influencer is the greatest challenge.

Identifying the PERFECT Influencers

I’ve spent years working with hundreds of brands on their influencer identification and blogger outreach, and I have found that coming up with influencer qualifiers is one of the hardest parts of the process.

Not only do marketers need to consult their buyer personas, but they need to take those a step further and figure out their influencer personas before reaching out.

Once verticals and niches have been decided, I like to pull a big list of influencers and then run them through my filters of three influencer criteria standards. Content fit, reach and engagement.

Content fit: Ensuring that an influencer’s content lines up with your brand is crucial and going to determine the success of your efforts. Remember think niche not vertical. Here are things to look for when determining whether or not an influencer is a good fit contextually:

  • Common tags influencers give their blog posts
  • Hashtags they use often
  • Titles of recent blog posts
  • Read the “about me” section of the blog and the profiles of their social accounts

Reach: Once an influencer has been approved for content fit, deciding a minimum reach helps marketers ensure that consumers will hear their story. I put more weight in content fit and engagement so I caution marketers to not be strict with their reach criteria.  Think about the channel(s) that your buyers are on the most and use those channels to set your reach qualifiers:

  • Social following on individual channels
  • Monthly traffic to blog
  • Total reach (combination of all social following and blog traffic)
  • MozRank

Engagement: Engagement is the reason why influencer marketing is so successful. Brands work with many influencers who may have a lower reach than an “a-lister” but are more engaged with their network and thus a move valuable influencer.

Engagement is part of the vetting process that needs human eyeballs. Tools will help you pull lists of influencers with a certain reach in minutes. Your job is to then apply human vetting to see if they are engaged. Check for the following:

  • Comment section on blog posts
  • Social posts
  • Replies to tweets
  • Collaborative CTA’s

What Happens When Marketers Don’t Have the Right Influencer Identification Tool?

In the report I mentioned above, marketers report that 84% of influencer research is carried out manually. What!? No wonder why they are having so much trouble identifying the right people.

Manual influencer identification can take days if not weeks. The right platform can pull lists of influencers in minutes which allows marketers to spend more time actually reading an influencer’s content and creating awesome content assets.

Of course I advocate for GroupHigh for influencer identification but there are plenty of other tools out there depending on your needs. Time is money and marketers save hours by simply having a tool to identify influencers, making the cost moot at the end of the day…

Please share your tips and strategies that you implement to identify influencers. Using the comments below let’s talk!