Influencer vetting: attain the optimal audience for your product

It is rare to receive a client brief these days that doesn’t at least inquire about the potential of influencer marketing as part of a campaign or full-year strategy.

Launching a food product in Canada

With the continued growth of established and new content creators, there are more expansive and interest- targeted partnership possibilities than ever before. But, more and more brands are questioning the authenticity of influencers, particularly as it relates to ‘fake followers’ and true engagement.

Yes, there are most definitely influencers that fake a truly engaged and real community, but many more do not. The key is proper vetting, not just for fake followers, but real relevance to your brand and product, the type of audience that they reach and your shared interests. Understanding and monitoring for reach and engagement metrics that make sense for your content goals is also important.

Here are a few places to start when trying to assess which partners may be best to work with:

  • 1) Do your homework and act like your audience.

    • Start following relevant figures and/or competitive brands, go back and look at posts over time (how has their content changed as their community/fans developed), read through post comments.
    • Become familiar with the influencer landscape and how your target audience is (or isn’t) engaging with them.
  • 2) Read between the lines.

    • Review follower base vs. likes vs. comments to understand that influencer’s online community. They may have high engagement, but are the comments or actions relevant to what they are posting about (if they post about food or recipe inspiration, are all the comments about their hair or outfit or is their audience actually interested in the content subject)?
  • 3) Monitor engagement.

    • Sometimes dramatic changes may signal fake followers or bots, or it could be the result of a boosted post or a great campaign, message or hashtag that struck a chord with a core audience and expanded their following.
    • Additionally, dig deeper if you see consistently low engagement on posts despite a high number of followers.
    • And check out their ‘superfans’. If a post receives numerous comments from the same user and that user has no posts and virtually no followers, the influencer may potentially be paying for the comments provided by bots.
  • 4) Work with a trusted partner.

    • Trust in an agency partner that is familiar with the influencer landscape and has forged relationships with credible influencers and their agents. Working with a team that has an objective viewpoint and can recommend the best partner creators/influencers versus just pulling from a database, can better ensure a rigorous vetting process, impactful content and measurable and meaningful results.

By integrating these tips, brands and marketers will be able to target the optimal audience and get their product in front of the right consumer in the right way!

Harbinger is a Toronto-based North American marketing agency with expertise in product launches. We help brands get noticed and purchased.


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