Top 3 Things to Consider Before Collaborating with a Social Media "Influencer"

In this day and age, it seems like everyone needs to have a social media page for their business. From someone who sells cleaning supplies to your typical fashion brand to even a financial planning company – they all have it and assume that there will be an instant ROI from using social media.

Yes, this may especially be achievable when you know how to play with ads, create viral content and can churn out good copy with call to actions that ultimately lead users to your landing page. And sure, we could choose to talk about good strategies and tracking analytics but I will choose to save those topics for another time. Today, let’s talk about what those good ol’ “influencers” can do and how they can bring you your return of investment.

Following my previous article about Brands vs. Instagrammers, how does one pick the right influencer on social media? Here are 3 key things to ask them before you engage with their community:

1. Are they creative with their content?

Think of it this way – the influencer is like an art curator and he/she is about to agree to display your product in their gallery. Now the question is, how will they display your product? Will there be more than one photo? Will they make a special video? How will they share the information with their audience about your product? Do you believe their communication style suits your product? Do they fit your buyer’s persona? Never mind the number of followers (or likes) they have do they actually have a creative edge to the way they share their content? Remember, an influencer is not only a model. They should be your brand ambassador and are genuinely enthusiastic in talking about your product. And if they are not inserting personality into it, you might want to reconsider engaging with them.

2. Are they very responsive to you and their community?

The first point of contact with an influencer is usually sending out an email /DM introducing your brand and how you believe they are the right fit and that you would like to collaborate with them. It could also go the other way round where they contact you and that makes your job a little easier but you’re going to want to ask them point number 3 (which I will elaborate further below). But the point here is that once they respond, don’t be afraid to ask them questions like, what product(s) are they planning to engage in? What do their audience usually enjoy commenting about on their page? Who are their general audience? Would they be open to holding a contest once they provided a review? You have the right to ask these questions as it will determine whether they will bring you back any ROI. If they refuse to answer these questions then you know that they are probably not as legit as they seem or prefer to be paid in cash than in products.

3. Do they have statistics to share?

Now this is key. If an influencer is open to share their stats then you got yourself a keeper. It means that he or she is serious about providing value to your business and isn’t afraid to prove their worth. Of course for some of the bigger ones its easy to know that they have traction (by looking at their comments, followers, and likes ratio) but there are currently so many more out there who claim they have the audience but when you send them a product receive barely any growth for your social media page let alone enquiry. Now isn’t that fishy? Trust me, people go through extreme lengths to get freebies. And as a startup or SME with minimal budget, we’ve got to invest in the ones that are willing to be as transparent as possible. So go for those who don’t mind sharing their social media stats – female to male audience ratio, location of audience, traffic they have brought to other brands they have worked with, audiences responses to their giveaways etc. These will allow you to decide on whether they are worth working with.

While these are only 3 key things that I’ve highlighted, there are certainly many more considerations to look at when engaging with an influencer so if you have other notes, be social and share them in the comments section below!

*This article originally appeared on Nadzirah Hashim’s Linkedin Profile.