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No, You're Not an 'Influencer'.

Ok, before everyone gets mad at me let me share some background.

At the current moment I have over 450k followers on Instagram, over 250k on Facebook, over 50k on Tumblr, and a handful on Twitter- and that is just on my fun accounts, not even my personal or business pages. I have also worked for multiple businesses deciding which influencers to choose to work with. I believe I am well qualified to say who is and isn't an influencer.

You have less than 10,000 followers

And 10,000 is being generous. With like for like websites, follow for follow groups, 10,000 is a very easy number to be reached for someone. A few good hashtags, a really pretty selfie, and bam 100 new followers per post. If a business is looking for worldwide traffic, 10,000 is too small of a number to get decent traffic. If you are a local business, be sure to have them send you city insights. Most of their following comes from Bangladesh? The followers were more than likely purchased.

Your follower and following count is similar

Say you have 2,500 followers but are following 1,000 people. This implies you only have 1,500 organic followers. Why? Again, follow for follow groups. People, for the most part, do not engage with the accounts they follow in follow for follow groups, they are just looking for a large number of users.

Your engagement rate is too low or too high

The ideal engagement rate for Instgram is 3%. If you have less than 2% or over 6% there are usually other things to look into. If your engagement rate is under 2%, you could be dealing with a majority of 'ghost' or inactive followers. Some 'influencers' have purchased these followers to make their accounts seem larger but they do not interact! Who are you influencing?

If your engagement rate is well above the normal (overall, of course a post here and there can do far better than expected. Use this as an overall measurement) you may be purchasing likes or using like for like services to get attention on a specific post. I have seen influencers online who average 100 likes a post but get 5,000 likes on an ad. Why? No people aren't that excited to see your advertisement, unfortunately. The influencer bought likes.

You beg for free stuff

Who doesn't want stuff given to them for free? An influencer creates engagement via their posts. For the most part, businesses will come to YOU if you are worthy of being an influencer. (My work with Samsung, and Netflix, were both sent from them to me. Not the other way around).

Being an influencer is the new 'it' job, and understandably so. It just frustrates me when a business asks me "hey, should I give this person a service for free?" I look at their page and I see all the red flags I listed above.

For businesses:

If you are looking for influencers take a few things into consideration.

  1. Always do a background check on your influencer. They can say the majority of their following is in your city- make sure they send stats to back it up!

  2. Know the audience you're looking for. If your influencer only posts about cars, you may not want them to advertise your newest makeup line. (Have them send you their gender statistics! Who knows, they may have a large female presence!)

  3. Set up your budget before contacting influencers and stand firm. Some influencers just want free stuff instead of a cash payment- if this works better for your business do that.

Influencer marketing is still a go-to for many businesses due to the 'personal' touch. For many local businesses, I will still suggest a paid social advertisement rather than an influencer in most cases. If you are a client with Digi-Buzz, be sure to send us an email if you have any questions about an influencer.

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