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The Evolution of Influencer Marketing Part 2 – The 5 Influencer Attributes That Matter Most

Influencer Marketing, Social Media Listening, Social Media Management, Social Media Marketing, Social Media Strategy

The following is the second post in a two-part series about the evolution of influencer marketing and the 5 influencer insights that matter most

Which criteria are to be used in identifying and engaging the social influencers most capable of helping your brand? What should you look for in your target influencers and their followers? Which metrics matter most in calculating your influencer marketing spend? Let’s take a look at the five influencer insights that matter most.


Relevance is the degree to which an influencer’s messages, posts, comments, and other social mentions align with your brand’s most important keywords and interests. The more precise your company’s understanding of these connections, the more easily you can rank and prioritize the particular influencer relationships you wish to pursue.

Additionally, the greater the synergies between your brand’s interests and those of your influencers, the more likely you’ll be able to establish a mutually successful relationship. Influencers enjoy the status conveyed by their association with your brand, its products, and services; and by extension brands benefit from more personally relevant access to an influencer’s audience.

Furthermore, brands can leverage their own credibility, thought leadership, content, and followers to assist influencers in expanding their own reach, relevance, and impact. Or as Lee Odden, founder of Top Rank Online Marketing, puts it, “Work with an influencer, you’re friends for a day. Help someone become influential and they’re a friend for life.”


Relevance is a measure of social media’s
most visible metric – e.g. followers, fans, likes, subscribers, etc. Because these figures are the most obvious (and often gaudiest) indicators of influencer popularity, it is easy to understand why many brands focus a disproportionate amount of energy and resources on them.

But popularity alone does not equal influence. Instead, brands are advised to consider less obvious but more substantive expressions
of an influencer’s reach, such as the number of followers actually engaged on a particular subject or the influencer’s credibility on a topic.

Or as social media strategist Julia Cantor writes, the influencer a brand may really
want to engage is “someone who has regular conversations with their audience and engages their followers in particular ways.”

Skittles’ campaign featuring Super Bowl star Marshawn Lynch was considered a success this year in large part because of Lynch’s large social following AND his well-known fondness for the candy. In other words, he had reach and credibility.

Brands also should consider the influencer’s potential reach – which is the total number of followers, fans, subscribers, etc., who are connected to the influencer across different media channels.

And of those channels, which days of the week does the influencer post and which channels are strongest in terms of follower interaction?


Impact measures the number of followers who interact with an influencer’s brand-relevant posts as well as the number of interactions generated by a particular social mention. Impact can be gauged across the entirety of an influencer campaign, including:

  • Ranking influencers during the selection process
  • Measuring audience interaction
  • Determining whether those interactions translate 
into direct brand engagement (i.e. does an audience member actually buy or otherwise make contact with your organization)

Impact is where most brands begin to see actual earned media outcomes as a result of their influencer marketing efforts. Considerations include the kinds of content that influencers deploy in their posts and the ways in which social links propagate across the Web. 
With Facebook and Instagram offering native video support, for example, video will become even more important as an influencer platform.

Recent polls show a majority of teens follow YouTube producers and nearly two-thirds confirm they’d try a product based solely on
a YouTuber’s recommendation. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s Variety magazine recently acknowledged that YouTube stars now enjoy larger followings than major film and TV stars.


Quality takes into account the number of followers interacting with an influencer and, more importantly, gauges their relative value. A weighting formula gives credit proportionate to the quality of the interaction, meaning that a retweet is going to rank lower than a reply but higher than a Facebook like.

The deeper the degree of audience engagement, the more relevant the post and/or influencer. In other words, the more effort put forth by the follower, the more likely the influencer post is resonating with him or her. A single-click action is not going to rank as high a response to a blog post, for example.

Ultimately, the brand wants to recognize the influencers and audience members who
are sufficiently moved or motivated to take meaningful action on behalf of the brand. This enables brands to identify and even nurture up- and-coming influencers who may have brand- friendly opinions but lack the reach and impact to make an appreciable difference.


Activity tracks where, when, and how often your influencers post. This information is important not simply for determining the ideal intersections with your own brand goals, but also will enable you to monitor their posts and follower engagement once your influencer campaign has begun.

For example, your influencer campaign might kick off by establishing measurement benchmarks for what an influencer said, where and when they said it, etc., then compare with the same data collected during and after your campaign.

This is particularly important given the constant evolution in the kinds (and popularity) of channels, devices, content types, and influencer outposts. Each influencer uses one or more combinations of social channels to communicate, foster conversation, drive engagement, and interact with an audience and it is imperative that your brand be in the right place and right time to have the best chance of driving brand-friend activities.

Similarly, you can connect the dots between an influencer’s posts and your own brand touchpoints, such as website visits, upticks in social connections, and more.

To learn more best practices and how influencer marketing can benefit your brand, download The Evolution of Influencer Marketing and The 5 Influencer Insights That Matter Most below!

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