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Ryan Gould

Ryan Gould

4 years ago 5 min read

10 Qualities to Look for When Selecting the Right Social Media Influencer

Featured How to select the right social media influencer
Ryan Gould

Ryan Gould

Looking for a guide on how to select the right social media influencer for your brand? Well, you’re in right place! In this article, you’ll find how to choose the perfect influencer to sell or promote your products and brand on social media.

To attract mass attention to your brand offerings, it helps to connect with one or more social media influencers.

As you may know, these individuals or brands can drive significant interest in your organization while at the same time lending legitimacy to your products and services.

They also serve to put your organization center stage, top-of-mind, and directly in the spotlight’s glare.

According to EMarketer, 89% of marketers agreed that influencer marketing could positively impact how people “feel” about any given organization.

That’s probably why the field has grown significantly in the past two years, and by a whopping 198% as of just last year!

Does the process work? You bet as Linqia reported that 92% of marketers used the method to great success in 2017.

Isn’t it prime time you jumped on board?

Whether you are promoting a product, service, event, or any other type of offering, the trick to hitting your campaign goals might be to invest heavily in finding one or more of these popular social media experts to promote your brand.

But you can’t just reach out to any profile on social media with mass amounts of followers.

Only the right individuals or brands will deliver a significant boost of interested parties your way.

What is a Social Media Influencer, Really?

This best describes someone who holds sway over the opinions and feelings of other social users.

influencer marketing

Don’t just consider celebrities, since nowadays more people are trusting of YouTube creators and other non-celebrities.

With so many influencers to choose from, it’s no wonder why nearly 70% of marketers claim to have difficulty selecting the proper social media content producer for the job.

Find out your biggest fans and turn them into your brand ambassadors

The Dangers of Improper Outreach

Select the wrong individual, and a single errant move could undo all your hard work.

An example of this would be someone who is volatile and can’t be relied upon.

The person might have a low number of followers or might have views that don’t necessarily align with your own.

Instead of focusing on what the ideal promoting brand should NOT possess, it’s best to focus on those qualities you do long for in a thought leader and niche expert.

Here are the top qualities you should be keeping an eye out for, and never accept anything less than full compliance whenever reaching out, at least if you hope to achieve maximum results.

  • You Share the Same or Similar Audiences

The ideal influencer will be relevant.

This means they have an audience similar to your own or you may share the same audience altogether.


Finding a suitable “trendsetter” is about boosting the value of your own social media reach and engagement.

Check out the reach and engagement for your profiles on social media.

That can’t happen if the influencer you’re reaching out to and your audience isn’t relevant to one another.

Not only should you look for individuals with significant audience overlap, but the best ones will generate intense interest for their followers on a grand scale.

Look through previous posts to determine if the content will appeal to your audience.

If it does, you may be on the right track, but relevance is only one small piece of the overall pie.

  • You Both Use the Same Social Media Platforms  

Instagram is famous for being a hotbed of social media influencers.

How to automate social media

MarketingProfs revealed that Instagram was the top choice for the third-party brand promotions in 2017, and – most recently – Dana Rebecca Designs released a survey that showed 72% of respondents made a fashion, style, or beauty purchase after viewing someone flaunting those same products and ideas on Instagram.

However, 70% of brands are active on Facebook, 50% on Snapchat, and 42% on Twitter.

That doesn’t include YouTube, Pinterest, and other social networks your audiences might frequent.

Through your research, you should have a good idea of where your primary audience tends to congregate online.

Find out your biggest fans and turn them into your brand ambassadors

Once you do, strive to find social media contacts that possess large followings on the various platforms you have in play.

You probably won’t find one individual that is popular on all of the social networks you use, as brands tend to use social to reach out to various audiences for differing purposes.

If you can find a brand or individual that is popular on all your social profiles, congratulations, you got mighty lucky.

Otherwise, try to find at least one “big name” on each of the platforms you use and conduct your outreach accordingly.

  • Shares the Same Values

Look for brands or individuals who are producing content similar to your own.

You’ll want to gauge their posts according to tone, language, and the social profile’s reputation over the past few months’ or even years.

If you have a family-friendly audience, for example, you wouldn’t want to partner with someone who regularly shares racy content that could offend your following.

The Body Shop, for instance, doesn’t work with other brands or people who wear fur, as doing so is inconsistent with their mission to halt animal testing.

Instead, they work with influencers who happen to be pro-veganism, as they often share the same audience.

  • Promotes Social Media Authenticity

Apart from being transparent, the best influencers don’t put on an act.

They’re genuine, the real deal, which is something today’s web-savvy consumers’ value.  

Look for third-parties who are big on using personal stories and who tend to share intimate details about themselves with their followers.

Even B2B brands can use authenticity by showcasing what goes on behind the scenes and delving into the history of the brand from its humble beginnings to present-day success.

  • Showcases Transparency (As Per the FTC)

We live in the age of dropped veils, where social media users are quick to jump on any instances or hints of trickery or manipulation.

In September of 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) established strict guidelines for marketers and influencers.

The rules dictate how influencer relationships should be formed, and how their business dealings should be fully disclosed.

In simpler terms, this means that – as a brand marketer – you must disclose to your audience the details of your relationships with the brands or individuals who are promoting or endorsing your offerings.

One way this can be done is through the use of the hashtag (#ad) or (#sponsored), as many marketers have been doing to maintain good legal standings.

That’s why you may have seen the 1.5+M Instagram posts tagged with a #ad hashtag in 2017.

  • Presents Value on a Consistent Basis

The days of paid ads that look and read like advertisements are over.

In 2018, it’s time to start creating ads that appear and act more like content marketing.

This means that influencer ads should be useful, informative, and entertaining.

By examining a prospective content creator’s previous posts, you can gauge the value of the posts they share.

This can help you determine if they would be the best fit for your audience and whether or not they would actually help your audience solve problems and achieve their goals.

If not, keep searching, as you haven’t found the ideal social media influencer just yet.

  • Focuses on Mass Engagement with Each Post

Many marketers immediately hone in on a profile’s follower count and reach out according to who possesses the bigger pool of potential customers.

While a high follower count is important, it’s more about engagement.

Most specifically, it’s about resonance.

You can tell if content posters resonate with their audience by the conversations taking place and the mass sharing of their posts over time.

Your best bet is to find someone who has a significant follower count and is able to engage on a high level.

  • Never Discount Outright Those with Lower Follower Counts

While mass amounts of followers are ideal, according to Tapinfluence, engagement rates on social media are higher for micro-influencers, which represent those with 5K to 25K followers.

If you’re just starting out with the concept of reaching out to influential social media posters, finding micro-influences may benefit you, as there won’t be as many marketers competing for promoted posts.

Furthermore, the barrier to entry may be lower, which means you may not have to pay as much to keep your promoted ads in constant rotation.

  • Has the Bandwidth to Partner Up

Partnering with influencers that already have a full-plate of organizations they’re working with will limit your reach, engagement, and may saturate the value you’re trying to convey.

Instead, look for prime sponsorship opportunities, where the relevant and popular profile shares very little promoted content.

Selecting an individual or brand that already shares a good amount of paid ads may not lend you the exposure you expect.

Speaking of the frequency of paid ads, an added tip is to consider how many promoted posts they’ll share on your behalf.

Too many paid ads, after all, may decrease engagement and cause follower counts to plummet over time.

Instead, think about co-creating and collaborating on posts to make them feel more organic.

This will require rapport-building on your part with the brand-in-question.

If you can manage to create more organic content with the brand or person in question amid paid advertisements, you’ll show your audience you care while delivering more high-quality content they’re sure to be interested in.

  • Interested in a Long-Term Partnership

To find success with influencer marketing, it’s best to see thought leaders as partners, not just as a  means to an end.

As a marketer, you should be making the brand or individual feel valued and let them know you genuinely care.

Do that correctly and the one you’re reaching out to should respond in kind, treating your brand with more trust and promoting your offerings with more enthusiasm.

If you treat the third-party social poster as a one-off marketing opportunity, you’re less likely to get the results you expect.

On the other hand, if you treat the partnership as one that will boost both brands long into the future, you’re more likely to create a mutually-beneficial partnership that is immensely valuable for brands and audiences alike.

Measure the success of your collaborations with social media influencers

Consider Creating Influencer Personas

You’ve likely already done your homework and developed a series of buyer personas, which represent your ideal prospects and customers.


Now that you know the best qualities to search for, which include a shared audience, aligned values, transparency, authenticity, and a few others, why not create similar personas for your brand’s ideal social media partners?

By creating profiles of the perfect and most trusted content creators across a wide net of social channels, you’ll increase your chances of finding those social media influencers who are most likely to help you achieve the success you crave.

Want to know more about social media influencer marketing?

Check out our another article: Local Influencers Marketing: How Connecting with Local Influencers Can Help You Grow Your Small Business?

Written by
Ryan Gould

Ryan Gould

Ryan Gould, VP of Strategy and Marketing Services at Elevation Marketing. He is an expert search, social and content marketer.

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