3 Qualities to Look for in a Social Media Influencer

3 Qualities to Look for in a Social Media Influencer
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Influencer marketing is gaining immense popularity. In fact, it can work exceptionally well, often outperforming traditional marketing channels. The key is to connect with the right social media influencers who can help you drive brand awareness and revenue.

Related: Influencers vs. Ambassadors vs. Advocates: Stop the Confusion!

Of course, a seemingly endless supply of influencers can be found across popular social platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Vine. But your task to be choosy: Here are three qualities to look for as you identify potential influencers to help market your brand.

1. An audience and personality that matches your brand's

Looking solely at follower count is a common mistake that leads to a poorly performing influencer marketing campaign. It doesn’t matter if an influencer has 3 million followers -- if there isn’t a similarity between the influencer and the product or service you are selling, there's going to be very little-to-no interest from his or her social following.

An example? While Snoop Dogg might be a great influencer to help build brand awareness for a hover-board company, you probably wouldn’t want to market a female fitness product to his following. You need to immediately sense a connection between this individual's following and what you yourself are promoting.

You also want to be cautious because of the financial element: Securing a notable influencer doesn’t come cheap; some brands are literally shelling out millions to get their products into the social feeds of personalities with massive followings.

Influencer marketing campaigns with a mismatched personality and/or audience, then, will result in just one thing -- a wasted marketing budget.

Related: Marketing Via Paid Online Influencers Sees Dramatic Growth in Survey

2. A social media profile with high levels of engagement

Again, follower count isn’t everything. A social media influencer with a smaller following that likes, comments on and shares content is more valuable than one with a larger audience that doesn’t engage. The latter group is going to be more likely to follow your brand or click-through and land on your website or social media profile.

So, while a global superstar with millions of followers looks appealing, oftentimes you will see more success with a more targeted influencer who has a smaller, but highly engaged, following. 

When you do identify the right potential influencer, spend some time looking at his or her previous posts and check out newer posts carefully to see what kind of engagement they experience. Take your time to make sure you find the best influencers for your brand. 

3. A true understanding of marketing and branding

You are going to encounter some influencers who will gladly take your money and post your content or promote your brand, but are people that don’t truly understand marketing.

You are also going to encounter some that will go the extra mile and interact with their followers to help your campaign be a success.

To find the latter instead of the former, ask to see examples of previous campaigns and check whether this influencer interacted at all within the post. Don’t be afraid to say what it is exactly that you want.

If you want this influencer to be involved, say so. These people aren’t mind readers, so be very detailed when discussing your expectations.

Related: 5 Free Influencer Outreach Templates for Your Content Campaigns

The influencers you choose should be accommodating, especially if they are anticipating a long-term relationship with your brand.