Influencer marketing is playing a bigger role in marketing plans these days as consumers become less responsive to traditional advertising methods. It makes sense – people are more likely to believe the advice and recommendations of an expert or leader over an ad.


In fact, surveys show that 92% of consumers trust recommendations more than branded content, even when they don’t know the person making the recommendation. But to truly maximize your ROI you need to make sure your influencer is truly connecting with their audience. If the only followers your influencer has are bots, it’s not going to help you connect with customers!


Understanding Influencer Engagement

When you’re trying to gauge an influencer’s effectiveness, it’s easy to confuse reach with actual influence. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on the influencers with the greatest number of followers – huge followings can be bought and these impressive numbers can be a bit of a vanity metric.

Instead, look at the influencer’s engagement rate. This metric tells you how much of an influencer’s audience actually interacts with their content. The interaction can take a number of forms:

  • Shares
  • Likes or other reactions
  • Comments
  • Views

Why are engagement levels so important? A few factors add to its value. Determining an influencer’s engagement rate helps you see if their audience is responsive to the content they post. This gives you a good idea whether a campaign with this influencer would deliver the ROI needed.

If you decide to work with an influencer, their typical engagement rate can act as a benchmark for measuring your own campaign’s success. If the influencer posts content about your brand and it garners significantly less engagement than usual, there’s probably an issue with your campaign or you didn’t choose the right influencer.


How Influential Is That Influencer?

There’s no doubt that calculating influencer engagement before working with an influencer can boost your odds of success. But how exactly do you figure this out? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Crunch the numbers: To get an overall idea of your influencer’s engagement rate, it’s worth calculating their average engagement rate per post. Tally up the total amount of engagement an influencer gets across a particular social platform – all the likes, comments, shares, etc. Divide that number by the number of followers the influencer has on that platform and then divide that figure by their total number of posts. If you don’t have the time or resources to do such an exhaustive analysis, performing the same calculation across a decent-sized sample of an influencer’s posts on a platform should give you a reliable estimate.
  2. There’s no right answer for what the right engagement rate should be and it varies drastically from platform to platform. A top performer on Twitter might have a 2.7% engagement rate, whereas on Instagram, one might have 17.8%.
  3. Look for their niche: Many influencer marketing campaigns are more effective when the influencer specializes in a particular niche. It’s easy to spot an influencer who’s just trying to sell something. However, an influencer with a niche they’re passionate about will bring that passion and excitement when they’re promoting your content and allow you to connect with true enthusiasts.
  4. Ask for proof: Even if you’ve done your research and determined that an influencer has strong engagement levels, it’s still a good idea to ask them for their press kit before making a formal deal with them, especially if they’re a bigger name. Their press kit will contain statistics about their followers and engagement rates and will provide information about campaigns they’ve worked on. You wouldn’t hire a new employee without a resume, so it’s natural that you’d want to see proof of an influencer’s track record.


Engagement is Key

It’s clear that influencer marketing works, but strong engagement numbers are necessary for success. With a better understanding of influencer engagement and how to measure it, you’ll be able to get a clear picture of an influencer’s impact and boost your chances of success.