Making sure you book the right influencer for your brand is important to create a successful campaign that delivers results. Recently, there has been a growing demand for digital marketers to do influencer vetting in order to ensure they are getting the most out of their marketing initiatives.

Because influencer marketing campaigns involve identifying key opinion leaders, bloggers or social media stars with large followings who have a potential impact over others when endorsing brands, it’s good practice to do some due diligence or research by studying the influencer’s content on social platforms before making a decision.

With so many famous people with social media accounts these days, there are plenty of opportunities for businesses. So, we’ve put together the nine things you need to check before engaging an influencer on your campaign. Treat it as your simple and easy to follow influencer vetting checklist that will set you up for campaign success!

What is their engagement rate?

This is the percentage of the influencer’s audience that like or comment on a post. Don’t be concerned about low numbers – an excellent engagement rate is 4% and above! Between 1-3% is a good rate, so it’s good to identify the right influencers within this bracket.

Where is their target audience based (country and city)?

If you offer a product or service that only operates in a particular geographic area, then checking where an influencer’s followers are based is very important. If you own a hair salon, restaurant, or gym, you may want to partner with the best influencers in your particular city. If you are a brand that only ships to Australia, then you wouldn’t want to work with an influencer who has a big following in the US!

What is the influencer’s audience demographics?

Similar to the point mentioned above, if you are only targeting males, then don’t book an influencer whose target audience is predominantly female. The same goes for age – if you are looking for consumers over the age of 30, then don’t book someone whose audience’s top age bracket is between 18-25yrs old. Check these demographic data points before you engage someone in your influencer marketing campaign.

Remember that the goal for businesses using this strategy is word-of-mouth advertising, where people see someone they admire promote a product and then decide to try it themselves due to their trust in that person’s recommendation. If this selection starts from a stringent influencer vetting process, then brands can assure that they reach audiences and improve their business metrics through these partnerships.

Have they worked with a competing brand?

Some content creators in the influencer marketing industry would focus on partnering with different organizations to make more money. If they very recently promoted a direct competitor, then it will seem disingenuous for them to then promote your product. Their followers will recognise this immediately. Most brands want someone who has not worked with a competitor for at least 6-8 weeks before engaging them for an influencer collaboration. Obviously, this can depend on the brand category or niche they’re in.

If an influencer is promoting a restaurant, lipstick, wine, etc it’s highly likely they would use multiple brands in their life and so promoting competitors within days of each other is fine. If it’s content posted for an industry like banking, telecommunications, aviation, skincare, or other products or services that someone is unlikely to change on a regular basis, it is recommended to wait for a few weeks before working with someone who has promoted a competitor.

What is the quality of their content?

Are you going to get high resolution, professionally shot images or iPhone photos in this collaboration? Both of these are fine, but factor this into the fee you are paying an influencer. If one clearly has a higher production value and better editing, then the cost should reflect that, and it also means this is content you can use on your social media channels or for retargeting ads (with the influencers permission).

How good can they tell your brand story?

Go to their Instagram, and find a paid post, and have a read at the caption. Does it sound authentic? Is it in their tone of voice? Does it sound like something copied and pasted from a briefing document? Is it interesting and informative? Does it make you want to learn more about the product or service?

How do their followers respond to branded content?

Again go to Instagram and find a paid post, and read the comments. Are people saying ‘Hey, nice photo!’ or ‘You look hot, babe!’ or are they saying ‘Oh that looks delicious, does it come in other flavours?’ or ‘What size is this top?’. Comments like the latter two examples are good indicators that the audience is interested in the product and trust the influencer’s recommendations.

Do their content and audience align with your target customers?

Are you trying to target mums on a budget? Then don’t pick an influencer who doesn’t have kids and is always posting designer handbags! Or if you want to find an engaged audience of vegans, find a vegan foodie who is knowledgeable in the area and whose followers are likely to be seeking information about vegan products. Empathetic content is king!

Also, look at their content – is it highly stylised when your brand is all about being chill and down to earth? Is it sexy or provocative when your brand is about every regular girl or guy? Do they regularly post about partying, alcohol, when you’re in the healthy food space? Think about their brand context and values and see how they align with your brand message. Evaluate if this person is an effective brand advocate and if your followers will believe the authenticity of the partnership between the influencer and your brand on social media platforms.

Have you checked their follower growth over time?

It is important to check and see if they haven’t bloated their vanity metrics. You certainly don’t want to devote time, energy, and resources to someone engaged in mass following and then unfollowing in an attempt to gain followers, which ultimately leads to an inauthentic audience. Or worse, don’t go with someone who buys followers! You want to check for slow, organic growth and changing activity trends.

The Right Fit has made it super simple to see all the things you need to know on the analytics tab of a talent’s profile. When you click this, you can see a detailed breakdown of their audience and performance over time. This is offered in the platform for just $99/month, and you only pay for the time you use it (simply downgrade when you don’t need to vet any more influencers; no lock-in contracts).

Vetting influencers before booking is important, so don’t miss this vital step.

Need more help? Download our 48-page influencer guide that includes briefing templates, rate guides, and more HERE.