Recently we were having a discussion with an influencer and their brand manager who we were potentially going to use for a client’s new product release.
We could see from their Instagram profile that they were verified and had almost 300,000 followers. Their business manager also mentioned to us in one of our communications that a typical video post of said influencer gets over 500,000 views and over 1,000 comments.
Of course, that all sounds great in terms of this influencer’s reach and engagement. However, at HEEDGROUP we like to do our due diligence and not only look at the number of followers, but also look at who those followers are. We always ask ourselves, are they “high quality” followers, or are they just random accounts or bots?
You also must ask yourself, are they going to end up purchasing this product we want the influencer to promote? With this influencer, the short-winded answer to that was no. Obviously, we did not individually check 260,000 accounts to come up with this answer – so what we do is scroll down the list and focus on their handles.
One of the most important things to do is look at their Instagram username. Is it a real name or word, or a bunch of random letters strung together? Or are they just a bunch of random emojis in a row? As marketers, we are all avid social media users in both our professional and personal lives so you will just "know". We are on these platforms a lot so trust your mind and it will instinctually tell if a follower is going to be a high-quality one or not.
You should also do a “spot check” – take 10 - 20 mins and go in a click on a bunch of followers – below are the red flags you should be aware of.
- If someone has a small number of posts – we mean 3 or less. This means they are probably not an avid user, thus will most likely not convert.
- Look at the photos themselves that they have posted – many of the followers in this example only posted images of cartoons/ their profile image was also a cartoon. For this case, this has nothing to do with our client’s product. You must make sure even your influencer's followers are related to what you are promoting, not just the influencer or brand ambassador themselves.
- Look at what the comments are on some of their past posts – obviously, there is always going to be spam/ weird comments on influencers' posts, but do they account for most of them? Are people using profanity or lude comments? Or are people perhaps tagging their friends saying, “hey @alana look at this new product, it’s SO you” or “omg @alana you should buy”. Again, use your best judgment which I know you have, and look for comments that show these followers will turn into customers.
It's always quality over quantity in the world of digital marketing – and the number of followers an influencer has is no different. Remember to take the extra time to do your homework before signing on with an influencer or brand ambassador because you want to have your brand or your client's brand only shown in front of the right and qualified audience.