Social influencers have been a hot topic in the affiliate industry as of late. Search just about any vertical and you’ll find thousands of social influencers. We’ve personally seen how they increase brand awareness, but the cost to work with them has gone up recently as well. With so many influencers out there, how do you find the ones most likely to provide the upside you’re looking for? Here are a few tips from a local that’s been there.

We have a saying around our office, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” As our publisher development team can attest, building an influencer campaign is A LOT of work! It’s hard to be sure that your campaign will be effective. But there are ways to put the odds in your favor.

Let’s dive in. Having thousands of followers doesn’t make you a great influencer. There, I said it. When you see an influencer with a lot of followers, be curious. How did they get a large following?  Are they posting interesting or valuable content, or did they pay their way to the top? Paying for followers is fine, but ask yourself, will those followers bring value to your brand? You want people to be genuinely interested in your product or service. Look at the quality of the content they’re publishing. Have they worked with any other brands in the past? Are followers engaging with them? These are all great questions to ask when filtering out influencers.

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Check for proper use of hashtags. Seneca Creek, an outdoor lifestyle brand (shown above)  does a great job utilizing hashtags. Nick Comanici, Marketing Director at Carney.co told me that “hashtags have value, but only if they’re relevant to the content in the post.” By using hashtags like #hiking, #fishing and #outdoors, Seneca Creek can target users interested in the products they promote. Nick also mentioned that “hashtags should be used sparingly. The primary use should be to build your personal brand.”

Watch out for the use of improper hashtags. Hashtags such as, #follow4follow, are used to gain a large amount of followers in a short amount of time. I call this the “smoke and mirror effect.” Having a lot of followers that offer little to no value to your brand. As Nick mentioned, hashtags should be relevant to the content in the post. Why? Because this helps target people who are genuinely interested in your product.

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Once you find an influencer you know you can trust it can be a great opportunity for your brand. A quality social influencer can lend credibility to your brand. Credibility that can often take months and even years to build up otherwise. Social influencers are also a great way to build brand awareness. These influencers can give you quick access to thousands of people that are likely to be interested in your product.

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Despite rising costs, these social influencers still tend to be a less costly alternative compared to other advertising methods. With thousands of influencers out there, you’re bound to find some that are a good fit for your brand. Be sure you take the time to research the right influencer for your brand. If you do, you could find yourself cashing in on the growing trend.

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