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Oct 28 6 Indicators of a Successful Influencer

When it comes to identifying the right influencers to represent your brand, [audience] size isn’t everything. The number of followers an influencer has does not directly correlate with success and shouldn’t be so highly valued by marketers when making partnership selections.

Instead, there are several other valuable indicators your brand should examine to determine if an influencer is an ideal candidate. With the 200+ programs our team has managed for leading consumer brands and retailers, we use the attributes below (plus several other key indicators) to help guide our influencer recommendations for clients.

6 Indicators of a Successful Influencer

Note: In order to gather and analyze many of the items outlined below, your team may need to purchase a third-party tool if you’re doing this in-house. If you have an agency partner, make sure they have the resources on hand to provide you with this information. (We do for our clients!)

Finding the Perfect Influencer Partner; 6 Indicators of Success

Audience Makeup

Every strategy is built with a target audience in mind, and when evaluating a potential influencer, you should look to see if the influencer's audience matches that target audience. It’s unlikely 100% of their following does, but if the majority of their followers line up then you’re in a good place.

This is especially important for programs targeting specific geographic locations. In that case, you’ll want to ensure most of the audience also resides in your target region.

Audience Engagement

Whether it’s a Like, Share, Retweet, or Click, influencer content is designed to elicit a response from the audience. Because of this, it’s important to evaluate how the audience currently engages with an influencer's organic and sponsored content. To do this, run an analysis of the influencer's average engagement rates by channel and content type. Then compare that performance to accounts similar in size and category to determine if their audience engagement is above or below benchmarks.

Make sure to keep an eye on outliers. We’ve seen influencers do everything from buying engagements to changing the copy in sponsored content to falsify results and boost their numbers. That’s why we manually review influencer content for these red flags to ensure we’re not putting all our faith in blind data.

Audience Growth

Believe it or not, fake followers are still an issue today. This is another reason why an influencer's audience size doesn’t matter so much, especially if they’ve grown in an unethical way. To help evaluate the overall health of an account, look at the follower growth (or loss) patterns on key channels for each influencer to determine if their accounts are growing and thriving or bleeding followers.

Kimberly Renee Carusele qStack scoreLearn more about Carusele's qStack Audience Quality Rating

Saturation Rate

Influencers lack influence when all they do is post sponsored content. Data has shown that as an influencer's saturation rate goes up, their engagement rates go down. So, take a moment to look at how often an influencer is publishing content and evaluate how much is sponsored versus organic. Your brand is going to want an influencer who is selective about their partnerships and blends their own authentic, organic content with sponsored content.

FTC Compliance

You can trust that you’re working with a quality influencer if they’re publishing FTC disclosures on all of their sponsored content. These disclosures are legally required and something that we ensure is included in all of our client campaigns. If it’s clear and conspicuous that a piece of content is sponsored, this shows that they’re reputable.

Not sure what the current guidelines are? Check out our FTC Compliance Cheat Sheet!

Multi-Channel Presence

While some influencer marketing programs focus on a single channel (cough cough Instagram), the recent Facebook outage has shown all of us that it’s important to not keep all your eggs in one basket. Strategize working with influencers who either have a strong presence on other social media networks and/or have a personal blog. By working with them to create content for multiple channels, you’ll enhance the reach of your organic content.


These six characteristics are designed to help your brand identify the right talent for your brand's influencer marketing campaigns. If you want to dive even deeper, check out our ultimate guide to vetting influencers.

If you don’t have the internal resources to dive into an influencer's history, consider partnering with a full-service influencer marketing agency such as Carusele. We fully manage our client's programs from strategy to execution to reporting, taking all the heavy lifting off their internal teams. Contact us if you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your brands.

Additionally, feel free to sign up for our bi-weekly e-newsletter, The Spin, below to keep up with news and trends in the influencer marketing industry.

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