In my area of expertise, I work with many business owners who want to align with a social media influencer, but do not know what to expect or how to determine the right fit for their brand.  Very recently, I spoke with a client who had hired a young staff member with what he thought was a large following on TikTok, however, what my client did not know was that I had viewed a post by this employee on Instagram, clicked through to her profile and was shocked to see VERY inappropriate personal posts depicting nudity, sexuality and overall bad behaviour.  It prompted me to write a few tips on what to look for and what to avoid when seeking to align your business with an influencer.

Social media has emerged as a powerful platform for businesses to connect with customers and promote their products or services. However, with millions of users on social media, it can be difficult for companies to reach their target audience effectively. This is where social media influencers come in. A social media influencer is an individual who has built a large following on social media platforms and can influence their followers’ behaviour. In this article, we will discuss what a social media influencer does, how they can add value to marketing your business, five things to look for in a social media influencer, and five things to avoid or watch for that might negatively affect your business.

What does a social media influencer do? Social media influencers use their platforms to share their opinions, experiences, and recommendations with their followers. They have built a loyal following by creating engaging content and establishing themselves as experts in their niche. They are trusted by their followers, who often look to them for advice on products or services they should try. Influencers can use various formats like photos, videos, stories, and live streams to engage with their followers and create content that resonates with them.

How can a social media influencer add value to marketing your business? Influencer marketing has become a popular tactic for businesses looking to promote their products or services on social media. By partnering with influencers, businesses can tap into their follower base and reach a wider audience. Influencers can also add credibility to a business’s marketing efforts by sharing their authentic experiences with the product or service. Additionally, influencers can provide valuable feedback to businesses, helping them to improve their products or services and better meet the needs of their target audience.

Five things to look for in a social media influencer:

  1. Relevance: Look for an influencer whose niche aligns with your business. For example, if you sell skincare products, partnering with a beauty influencer who specializes in skincare would be a better fit than partnering with a fitness influencer.
  2. Engagement: An influencer’s follower count is important, but it’s equally important to look at their engagement rate. An influencer with a smaller but highly engaged following is more likely to have an impact on your business than an influencer with a large but disengaged following.
  3. Authenticity: Look for influencers who have a genuine passion for your product or service. Influencers who are transparent and honest about their experiences with your product or service are more likely to be trusted by their followers.
  4. Professionalism: A professional influencer will be reliable, responsive, and easy to work with. Look for influencers who have a track record of successful partnerships with other businesses.
  5. Ethics: It’s important to partner with influencers who follow ethical guidelines when it comes to sponsored content. Look for influencers who are transparent about their sponsored content and who disclose their partnerships with businesses.

Five things to avoid or watch for that might negatively affect your business:

  1. Fake followers: Some influencers may use bots or other tactics to artificially inflate their follower count. Partnering with an influencer with a large but fake following can damage your business’s reputation and lead to wasted resources.
  2. Controversial behaviour: Watch out for influencers who engage in controversial or offensive behaviour on social media. Partnering with an influencer who is embroiled in a scandal can damage your business’s reputation.
  3. Poor content quality: Influencers who consistently produce low-quality content may not be a good fit for your business. Poorly produced content can reflect poorly on your business and turn off potential customers.
  4. Overpromising: Influencers who promise unrealistic results or make outlandish claims about your product or service can create unrealistic expectations among their followers. This can lead to disappointment and negative feedback for your business.
  5. Lack of transparency: Influencers who are not transparent about their sponsored content or who fail to disclose their partnerships with businesses can damage your business’s reputation and violate FTC guidelines. It’s important to partner with influencers who follow ethical guidelines and are transparent about their sponsored content.

In conclusion, social media influencers have emerged as a powerful force in marketing, and partnering with the right influencer can be a game-changer for your business. When looking for an influencer to partner with, it’s important to consider factors like relevance, engagement, authenticity, professionalism, and ethics. At the same time, it’s important to watch out for fake followers, controversial behaviour, poor content quality, overpromising, and lack of transparency. By partnering with the right influencer and avoiding common pitfalls, you can create a successful influencer marketing campaign that adds value to your business and helps you reach your target audience on social media.