The importance of selecting the right influencers

With 63% of people trusting what influencers say about a brand more than what brands say about themselves, it’s always surprising to see household brands choose influencers who aren’t clearly aligned with their product or service offering and what their company stands for. But it’s important to learn from their mistakes.

Influencer campaigns are an integral part of any brand’s marketing strategy, with 93% of marketers stating they’d used influencer marketing within their overall strategy. It is important that whoever you choose should be an extension of your brand’s ethos. If not, you could regret it. Here are some things to consider when sourcing the right influencer for your brand.


Time and time again, we see influencers promoting products that have no relevance to their niche, and we always ask, ‘what was the thought process behind this collaboration?’.

The strategy behind working with, and often quite heavily investing in, influencers is to harness their usually large reach and audience engagement. However, it’s all wasted if the influencer is in a field that has nothing to do with your brand.

As consumers, we’re often bombarded with mega-influencers and celebs promoting random things like crypto or finance products, when their usual content offering is fashion, wellbeing or lifestyle. It’s frustrating to see collaborations miss the mark, but at the end of the day, money talks, and they need to pay the bills. Or check in to the Savoy when the boiler breaks!

Before you even start your outreach, set out your campaign objectives and ensure the influencer can successfully, but also naturally and authentically, market your product or service. You might see more conversions from smaller influencers who make relevant content, rather than chasing larger ones with little to no relevance to your brand or objectives.

An engaged community

Essentially, a large following means nothing if the audience is not engaging with the influencer’s content. As a brand, you’re working with an influencer to convert people to purchase or start conversations. You want to align with an influencer with a high engagement rate – this is proof that people care about what they have to say. Our work with Freetrain incorporated this exact strategy by engaging with influencers across the running, health and fitness and sports sectors to help drive brand exposure and communicate the value of their product offering.

According to Hootsuite a good engagement rate for micro-influencers is between 1% to 5%. However, the higher the following the harder this is to achieve. It’s also important to delve into the type of engagement and conversations followers are having about the content. Does their content have the power to influence or move people to action? If so, this should be factored into your collaboration decisions.

Additionally, it’s important to analyse their past brand collaborations, to see audience reaction. If an influencer has done very little in terms of brand collaborations, it may jar with their community and could impact engagement levels, thus doing nothing for your brand.

Working with an agency will mean they do all of this heavy lifting for you.

A good person

Take Australian influencer Belle Gibson, for example. One of the ‘original’ wellness bloggers boasting more than 300,000 Instagram followers who claimed to have cured her inoperable brain cancer through healthy eating.

Her five-year journey led to Gibson releasing a popular wellbeing app called The Whole Pantry and a cookbook of the same name. However, her story took a turn in 2015 when an Australian reporter exposed that Gibson has been falsely claiming to followers that she was donating portions of her profits from these ventures to charity.

This really does highlight the control some influencers can have over their audience. It also shows that brands must be eagle eyed when it comes to selecting an influencer and can’t just assume that if you spend a huge amount, it will be the right decision. Therefore, brand should ensure an influencer is aligned with their core company values and that their target audience is similar to that of the influencer.

From the other side 

Influencers themselves are becoming more conscious of what they share with their audience too, with many stating they will only sign up to work with brands they genuinely love. This was a big learning from BBC Three documentary, Blindboy Undestroys the World, in which TOWIE’s Lauren Goodger agreed to advertise a fake drink that contained cyanide. During the embarrassing episode, she admitted that despite advertising Skinny Coffee and claiming it helped her lose 12lbs in three weeks, she had in fact never tried the product. Transparency from both the brand and influencer is vital to protecting reputation.

Lasting potential 

Longevity is also an important consideration, and securing an influencer when they’re hot off the press – so to speak – doesn’t always pay off. Ekin-Su had barely won Love Island when Oh Polly secured a collaboration worth a reported £1 million, only to drop her six months later due to poor sales. The power of Love Island has been questioned in recent years as the constant churn of new influencers has over populated the market, decreasing their actual influence.

If you’re considering collaborating with a Love Island or other major reality star, don’t expect it to be an overnight success that will increase sales dramatically. More and more, consumers appreciate authentic collaborations that make sense for both parties. There’s a wealth of influencer options outside of the realms of reality TV that may be more suitably aligned to your brand and its beliefs.

Influencer marketing is a proven way to reach new audiences, and build brand loyalty and customer retention – but it can be so easy to get wrong.  If you’re interested in discussing how to engage the right influencer for your marketing campaigns, get in touch today.

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