Many brands and businesses are putting a lot of money into influencer marketing. Your brand or business maybe looking into doing the same. If you have done your research you may have found that the return on investment isn’t always there when trying to collaborate on social media with influencers or creators. Let’s talk about a few key mistakes to avoid when choosing an influencer or creator to work with. These mistakes can make the outcome less than desirable or worth the money spent for your brand or business.
The first thing to remember is a high number of followers on an account doesn’t always mean a good reason for a brand or business to offer a collaboration. If an account has a large amount of followers, but they are based in an area outside a business’s demographics the collaboration is pointless. For example, an account that has followers predominantly in India when a brand is based in the USA would’t be a good fit. Ask your yourself, “do the demographics of an account’s followers match the demographics your brand or business wants in a customer”?
Fake Followers, Bought Likes and Comments
Look deeper at the number of followers on an account vs the number of likes and comments on the account. If the interactions on an account (likes and comments) don’t match the high number of followers it could mean they are guilty of buying their followers. An account with a large following having low likes on the majority of their posts for example might be a red flag. Many large accounts got there by purchasing followers or participating in loops to gain their following. These types of followers likely won’t convert to customers however, for a business or brand.
Some of the accounts padding an influencer or collaborator’s high follower numbers are themselves fake, not even having real people behind them. Typically these followers are without profile pictures, have a low followback rate vs their following, few or no posts of their own and may have odd handles (account names). If a majority of the influencer or collaborator’s follower are fake they certainly aren’t going to be purchasing anything from your business or brand.
Make sure to look at the content of the comments on the influencer or creator’s account too. Remember likes and comments can be purchased. Look at if the comments are more than a few words or if they are miss-spelled or contain a lot of emojis. Some accounts pay for services that use bots to systematically comment and like on their posts. Working with someone that has this type of engagement definitely isn’t going to help your brand or business.
Hashtags and Hashtag Pods
Additionally, if you keep seeing large amounts of the same people commenting on every post this account could be in a group or hashtag pod where they have a set group agreeing to like and comment on each other’s posts padding the engagement. This won’t help your brand because these influencer or creator’s followers are only out to promote each other and likely won’t want to buy your product or services either.
Looking at an influencer or creator’s hashtags can also, help you determine if they are in a hashtag pod. Hashtags that seem to be unusual for the post could be a red flag for being in a hashtag pod. Make sure to scroll and look for hashtags in the comments too. In a hashtag pod accounts all use the same unique hashtag on a post and agree to like/comment on everyone’s posts with this same hashtag. Test this out by pulling up the unique hashtag and seeing if the influencer or creator also, liked on a large majority of other posts with that same hashtag. This should not be confused with an influencer or creator following a certain popular hashtag.
If hashtags being used aren’t relevant to a post there maybe something more to their purpose and you should investigate. Influencers and creators that use hashtags for fraudulent growth or likes and comments will leave you high and dry on your influencer marketing investment. Friends in pods are looking to like/comment due to obligations and move on not to buy the product or support the brand.
If everything checks out on an influencer or creator’s followers and hashtags a brand or businesses should still be savy and ask an influencer or creator to share with them their insights/engagement data. An account might be defined as a micro or nano influencer by numbers , but give your business or brand a larger percentage of followers within a specific demographic that is more useful than a larger account. Ask yourself if the age, sex and location of this account match your brand or business’ targeted demographics.
Ask questions to determine if a collaboration is a good fit.
Finding an influencer or creator that agrees that a collaboration should be about more than them getting something free or them making money might be important to your brand or business too. If an influencer or creator knows they can’t offer a brand or business what they are asking for and takes the collaboration anyway they are essentially being dishonest. Make sure to ask questions to help determine if someone is the right fit for your brand or business. Don’t support dishonest influencers or creators.
Asking a question like, “what is a favorite brand you’ve worked with”, can reveal what an influencer or creator expects to give and receive from a business or brand. Asking other questions like, “would they tell a brand if they didn’t think they would be a good fit for them”, can help determine if they are only out for their own personal gain and not really forming a beneficial partnership with your brand. Ask if the influencer or creator can give you references of their past work. Anyone can tag brands in their post and even add a paid partnership label. Reach out to other brands or businesses the influencer or creator has claimed to have worked with to confirm if necessary.
Don’t get scammed by fake influencers or creators!
If you are a small business or brand you should look deeper before you spend your money on an influencer collaboration. Look at how long an influencer or creator’s account has been on social media. If an account is new or with few posts, but has a huge following something maybe off. Unless an account has had a post or reel go viral it is unlikely they have grown so quickly in a short amount of time without some assistance. Look at the engagements on early post and see if they progressively grew or is it a sudden boom of engagement. If the account has reels on it check out how many people are watching them too.
Unfortunately there are a lot of people pretending to be something they aren’t. Small businesses especially are easily swindled out of products and money because they may lack the time or resources to combat these scammers. If something seems off when researching an influencer or creator go with your gut feelings and don’t work with them.
Small businesses are the heart of many town and cities. There maybe resources in your area to assist with your growth and to facilitate networking. Talk to people in your niche or community about influencers or creators they have used or what has worked for them. Reaching out and asking for support from other businesses in your community for engagement on social media might also, be helpful to your business or brand. Remember you work too hard for your money to waste it on someone that isn’t going to be beneficial to your business or brand. Please share this article with other small businesses and let’s keep honest influencers and creator working.