Even Regional Businesses Need to Choose Their Influencers Wisely

Some influencers don’t influence anyone.

Regional businesses are always looking for new and effective ways to connect with their audiences. With the introduction of Influencer Marketing, a door has opened to a whole new universe of advertising through individual’s social popularity.

When vetted properly the correct influencers can reach a targeted audience, build trust, and drive engagement, through original and truthful engaging content. It is marketing that comes across as being effortless and natural. These techniques work well because audiences no longer want to feel “sold” to but rather want the straight scoop from influencers that come across as trusted “friends” sharing a new product or service they know you’ll like.

Finding influencers who engage a large trusted following and will truthfully share their experience about a product or service seems ideal in so many ways. However, just like so many other forms of digital advertising, fraud has creeped its way into this newer method of advertising. Since influencer marketing isn’t going away anytime soon, businesses need to be on their guard and use a more sophisticated selection approach when choosing the correct influencers to represent their brand.

Influencing started out as something only “the rich and famous” did. Now social referrals have become big business for “regular people” who have discovered that having a large following can pay the bills, quite nicely.

However, to appear to have a larger following, many unscrupulous influencers are turning to bots to boost their reach and grow their personal vanity metrics, falsely inflating their profiles. Many are now buying their following to inflate their accounts and make them appear more valuable. They know the larger their following, the more interested businesses will be in working with them to promote their products and services.

Influencers that artificially grow their accounts using bots, have many followers that are not real people or are not true loyal followers. Their own followers may be following thousands of people but have no followers themselves or they have no posts in their threads. Any influencer that has a low engagement rate isn’t likely going to be a good promotional investment for any business.

Regional businesses should protect themselves by doing additional investigating before agreeing to work with any influencer. Some signs that tip off a fraudulent influencer may be:

•A sudden increase in followers
•Many followers with little to no engagement
•Post comments that make little or no sense
•Comments or likes from the same people over and over
•The use of stock photos on their accounts

Those influencers that have used bots to grow their following will probably be sharing your message with no one. True influencers will grow their followers organically over time, posting relevant content and videos that truly connect to their audience. These are influencers that you will want to work with.

And, finally regional companies should research exactly where the influencer’s audience is located. With proper analytical tools and an honest influencer, a regional company can determine exactly how many of the influencer’s followers lie within their operating footprint. Then a regional company can negotiate its deal based on only the following found within its operating footprint and not outside it.

Regional companies can find great opportunities using local influencers if they navigate the social waters correctly.

Author: Frank Gussoni

President & Founder of A3 media. We're Type A. We transform media from an expense into a smart investment.