Influencer marketing has taken the world by storm. With perfectly curated Instagram feeds, these girls (and guys) have taken over the digital space. The job title “YouTuber” or “social media star” didn’t exist a few years ago and many individuals with social media platforms are trying to cash in on this new phenomenon. If you’re considering incorporating influencer marketing into your digital marketing strategy, we have a few pointers so you get a return on investment by working with influencers with real audiences.

Influencer in their bio

Influencers will have bios that describe what they do and what their content covers. However, beware of individuals who call themselves influencers. Influence is powerful but quiet and subtle, not in your face and loud.

Many likes, little comments

Dig deep and have a look at the interaction they’ve received on their photos over the past few months, not just the past month. If the likes on their photos have gone from 50 likes to suddenly getting 2000+ likes with very few comments, you can be sure that either the “influencer” bought followers, which doesn’t equate to a real, engaged audience or they’ve put paid media behind their posts. Paid media isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, if every random picture they post has to be boosted in order to garner engagement, it’s a red flag.

Poor Image quality, yet thousands of followers

Take a good look at their feed overall. Real influencers with real audiences usually have beautiful images that are of either high resolution or their photos were at least taken with a smartphone that has a decent camera. Their feed will usually also have a consistent theme running through it, whether it’s the type of content they post or the same editing style and filters.

They will also have been active on their platform for a few years already and not just a month.

No website or other social media presence

Be wary of individuals who only have an Instagram account and no presence on other social media platforms or no blog or website.

Dodgy demographics

It’s easy to spot fake followers and bots. They usually have stock images as their profile pictures (often of a beautiful, heavily made-up girl), follow thousands of accounts with no common thread linking the accounts and have no photos on their own feeds.

Don’t poo-poo micro influencers

With all that said, don’t just look at the number of followers and page likes an Instagrammer receives. Many micro influencers don’t have massive amounts of followers but their followers are heavily engaged in their content and will make a purchase decision based on something the influencer recommends. That is the type of engagement and exposure you want for your brand.