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5 Ways to Identify Influencers Worth Your Brand's Time and Money Not all influencers are created equal. It's important to identify the key factors that make an influencer a good fit for your brand to avoid wasting time and money on someone who will not deliver the results you need.

By Lucas Miller Edited by Maria Bailey

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

In the current digital marketing landscape, few advertising options are more popular than influencer marketing. After reaching a global market of $16.4 billion in 2022, 90% of brands report that they find influencer marketing to be an effective tactic.

Of course, not all influencers are created equal. Influencers may charge different rates based on the number of followers they have or the type of promotion your brand wishes to engage in. But just because an influencer delivered great results for one brand, doesn't necessarily mean they're right for yours.

By understanding key factors for identifying influencers who are the right match for your brand, you can spend your marketing budget wisely.

1. They have a relevant (and quality) audience

Generally speaking, most influencers price their sponsored posts based on the size of their audience. For example, while nano influencers on Instagram with 1,000 to 10,000 followers may only charge $10 to $100 per post, "mega influencers" with over 1 million followers may easily charge over $10,000 per post.

While a large audience size can dramatically increase reach and brand awareness, this doesn't tell the whole story. You must also ensure that their audience is actually made up of real people who are interested in their content. Bot or fake accounts may boost the number of followers, but they don't provide worthwhile engagement.

Similarly, be wary of influencers who follow more people versus people who follow them. They may be using "follow for follow" or "follow unfollow" efforts to artificially grow their audience.

Related: Why Consumers Care About Influencers, and Why You Should Too

2. The more specific their niche, the better

Aside from ensuring that an influencer actually has real followers, it's important to narrow in on individuals whose content is the closest match for what your own brand offers. The easiest way to determine this is by reading their bio and going through their previous content. This can help you identify their interests, previous sponsorships they've participated in and the primary topics they cover with their content.

Quite often, choosing an influencer who focuses on a more specific sub-niche can be more beneficial than someone with a broader influence. Think along the lines of someone who discusses yoga content, rather than a broader focus on exercise in general. They may have fewer followers, but these followers tend to be more engaged with their content — and therefore more likely to respond to your marketing partnership.

3. They have strong credibility with their audience

Another advantage of influencers in more specific sub-niches is that they tend to have strong credibility with their audience. Through their values, the quality of their content and their personal or professional background, they've created a persona where their followers will trust what they say.

This credibility is what leads to desired results in brand partnerships. For example, consider this case study involving Kraft Heinz. The brand selected 12 influencers based on topic relevance, audience demographics and follower engagement to develop two campaigns focused on millennial families.

Not only did the campaigns achieve over eight million combined impressions with a 5.7% engagement rate, but they also delivered 103% more engagement than Kraft Heinz's standard campaigns.

4. Their content fits your brand image and values

During your review of an influencer's content, don't just pay attention to the topics they cover. Look at how they present themselves and their content. Does it fit your brand image and the values that you try to portray to your customers?

For example, if you pride yourself on creating a family-friendly brand, then an influencer who frequently uses adult language and humor is probably not going to be a good fit. The level of disconnect between the influencer's persona and your brand could confuse their followers who discover your company through their content. Worse yet, it could alienate your current customers.

Remember, an influencer is going to be telling a story to convey the appeal of your brand. Good influencer partnerships give them creative freedom in how they do it — so be sure they share your vision and values to create content that tells the story properly.

Related: How Brands Are Leveraging Social Media Influencers to Tell Their Stories

5. They pride engagement above all else

When it comes to generating meaningful results for your brand, total engagement is perhaps the most important metric to consider. You want to work with influencers whose followers like, comment, share and click on their posts. And while social media algorithms mean that no one will ever approach 100% engagement, being aware of platform benchmarks can help you determine the quality of an influencer's following.

Keep in mind that engagement rates vary based on the platform and total number of followers. For example, Instagram influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 followers average 4.84% engagement, while those with over one million followers average 1.23% engagement. On TikTok, influencers with 1,000 to 5,000 followers average 12.43% engagement, while those with over one million followers average 13.7% engagement.

Ideally, your influencers of choice should meet or exceed the averages for their platform and number of followers to ensure your campaign reaches the maximum number of people.

Maximize the potential of your influencer campaigns

Countless brands have proven the efficacy of influencer marketing campaigns — but these campaigns have been successful precisely because companies partnered with the right influencers. By taking care of the necessary groundwork to identify quality, relevant influencers in your niche, you can move forward with confidence as you begin your next campaign.

Lucas Miller

Founder of Echelon Copy LLC

Lucas Miller is the founder and CEO of Echelon Copy LLC, a media relations agency based in Provo, Utah that helps brands improve visibility, enhance reputation and generate leads through authentic storytelling.

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