Posted by Paladin on May 31, 2017
Unlike earned media outlets, you pay influencers to write about your product. Is bigger always better? There are many in the world of influencers who say it is. When looking for influencers to work with on a PR level, the question always arises: are numbers everything? How important are numbers? They may not be as important as some would think, though. As you start juxtaposing numbers and interaction, it’s important to look at the community your influencers serve, as well as their price point for involvement. Let’s look at the importance of community, engagement, and price.
Are you trying to be all things to all people? If so, you may want to hire a celebrity. Sometimes, the influencers in a specific area are so niche that their numbers are much lower than those of A-list influencers. Do you want to reach out to the homeschool tech community, or all parents in general? Are you looking for all women who wear plus size clothes, or middle to upper income businesswomen? Those influencers will have vastly different numbers and differ in what will get them to act. If you know who you want to target, you can choose a more specific influencer.
Engagement is a window to the effectiveness of an influencer’s followers. Are people asking questions on Facebook about where something was acquired or how it works? Does their Instagram feed have comments? These rates may be more important than the number of followers someone has.
Ask if they do affiliate sales and how many clicks they get through their links. If someone only has 1,200 followers, but they get 120 affiliate leads every month, that means that they have a 10 percent conversion rate. Comments, likes, conversations, and clicks all show that people are really considering what influencers are saying, rather than just looking at their pictures. Also, it proves that most of the influencer’s followers aren’t just bots.
This is the mathematical analysis based on audience and engagement. If someone has 10,000 followers, but only a one percent interaction rate, while someone else has just 5,000 followers, but 10 percent interaction level, it is clear who gets a better result. Even if you paid both influencers the same amount, or provided them with the same amount of product, you’re going to get a much better pay off from the smaller influencer. You can generally pay the smaller influencer a little less, unless it is a very competitive niche. Often, the quality and quantity of the coverage that the small influencer provides is much greater for the same price, making it a greater value. That all just increases your return on the investment.
The bottom line is that the number of followers cannot be the only criteria you use to pick influencers to work with. If you’ve got the skills it takes to work on a PR team, check out our jobs here.