How to select the right influencer for your small businesses

Partnering with an influencer to grow your brand awareness can be a great strategy for your small business or start up. However, the world of influencers is crowded and can be confusing if you do not know what to look for. This blog post will help you navigate through this territory.

In the age of social media, it seems like everyone these days is an “influencer”. Accounts with thousands and now even millions of followers are common place.  Without first having a strategy in place, engaging influencers to promote your brand or business can result in missed opportunities and lost marketing spend. This post will help you decide which influencers to approach and how to use them so you can get the most out of your partnership spend.

How to choose the right influencers to represent your brand or company

As I’ve mentioned, there are A LOT of influencers out there.The best way to choose which influencer should represent your brand is to first look at your target audience. 

Ask yourself these questions:

1. Is your audience or customers specific to a certain market or region?

2. Is your audience or customers specific to a certain gender or age group?

3. What is the culture your brand belongs to? I.e. Yoga, Engineers, Gamers.

Once you answer these questions you can begin to look at influencers who match your location, age/gender, culture, etc.


Where do you find influencers?

It may seem like a silly question since I just mentioned that there are a lot of influencers out there, but finding the RIGHT influencer for your brand or company is a more strategic exercise. 

1. Look at other brands that you believe your target audience would like purchase or engage with. Browse their Instagram page for any influencers that they may have partnered with (non-competing brands).

2. Search hashtags relevant to your business for the top posts. View user profiles within the top posts category for any possible influencer matches.

3. Browse top posts at locations. Search a popular location in your market. This could be a university, popular restaurant or pub, park or green space. The top posts at popular locations should reveal influencers.

Record account handles that catch your eye in a spreadsheet. 

Once you have your list of accounts run their profiles through this free engagement calculator.

Record the number of followers, average likes and comments the account receives into your handy spreadsheet. Most importantly, record their engagement rate.

Generally speaking, you want to target influencers with an engagement rate of at least 2%. Accounts with large amounts of followers usually have lower engagement rates and smaller accounts should have higher. I’ve seen micro influencers with rates up to 12% and 20%…which brings me to my next point…

Using a strategy with a series of micro influencers can be more potent than using one or two "big" influencers.

I personally really enjoy working with micro-influencers. They are typically easier to work with, have great attitudes and are eager to partner with a brand. I consider micro-influencers to be anyone with under 10K followers. The best part of these micro-influencers, is their followers are typically very engaged with them and they are not regularly promoting brands. This is important because your promoted post with them will seem more genuine to their followers vs. if they were posting everyday about different brands.

How much should I be paying influencers?

With your handy spreadsheet you can easily add a recommended rate column. . Once you have their average likes recorded, times that number by .25 and you will get their typical rate per post. Any influencer who asks for more than this rate, feel free to push back on them on the rate. Most influencers expect some level of negotiation, especially at the micro-influencer level.

The rate will also depend on the level of activity your are asking out of the influencer.

-How many posts are you asking them to make?

-Will they also promote your company in their story? If so, how many story “segments” will they do?

-Are you asking them to make a featured story that will live on their profile?

Don’t forget to get a contract drawn with the influencer with these deliverables outlined and include language about pre-approving the post and caption before they publish it. I like to include detailed expectations about timing of the post as well (must send me proofs by X time on X date to be published on influencer account by X time on X date).

If hiring influencers for the first time seems like a lot to handle- we got you covered. A lot of small businesses hire a consultant to get them through the first few influencer selection and contracting before going off on their own and handling in-house. 


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From selection to negotiating contracts to measuring effectiveness and ROI, we are experts in Influencer Marketing
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Ann Smith
Ann Smith

Ann is the founder of Indygo Marketing. She has over 11 years of experience producing marketing strategies and campaigns.

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