Katharina Faber is Senior Concept Designer at Social Match, Germany’s leading influencer marketing agency. Social Match connects brands and influencers on a national and global level.
In the previous articles of our series The 5 Steps of Successful Influencer Marketing Campaigns, the experts of German influencer marketing agency Social Match explained to us the importance of the onboarding process and how the planning of a campaign proceeds. A central part of every campaign is the matching procedure. Katharina Faber explains how she and her colleagues find and analyze influencers tailored to individual campaigns.
Katharina, do you have a consistent procedure regarding the matching process that can be applied for every company interested in influencer marketing campaigns?
Like all of our steps, the matching is a highly individual process. It does not only have to be tailored to our customer – a company or brand – but also to the sort of campaign. Depending on whether the campaign involves, for example, product placements or is based on testimonials, different steps come into play.
What are the steps in the matching process? Can you explain these for us?
First, we define criteria that help us find fitting influencers. These differ depending on the sort of campaign. Not every criteria is important for every campaign and the criteria can also have different emphases. Some campaigns are mostly metric-driven – numbers such as follower base and engagement rate are extremely important. For other campaigns, criteria such as content quality are rated higher and the metrics only play a minor part.
Afterwards, we start our research based on the chosen criteria. The InfluencerDB software helps us identify influencers from different sectors. We also use hashtags for our search: Common hashtags quickly show us those influencers that are active in different niches.
In this course, we also analyze the metrics of influencers. With InfluencerDB, we can analyze data such as follower growth, engagement rate, target audience fit and audience quality.
Next, we use the spider chart from the onboarding process and add the analyzed influencers.
Example of synergy potential
This helps us to recognize the influencer’s strengths and whether the influencer can support the brand in reaching the desired objectives. In other words, it shows the synergy potential of the influencer regarding the brand.
Next to the metrics we analyze with the software, we also have a look at the influencers’ content quality. This has to be done manually – our experience is a huge help for identifying influencers with extraordinary content quality.
In the course of analyzing an influencer, we also always have a look at the target audience of the brand and potential influencers. An influencer must have a target audience that aligns with the audience the brand wants to approach. An influencer might have outstanding metrics, but is not valuable for the brand regarding his or her target audience. For example, for a brand that targets German consumers it makes sense to work with influencers with mainly German followers.
Another important factor for choosing the perfect influencer is the brand environment. The outgoing mentions of an influencer signify which brands are situated close to him or her and to which companies the influencer is already connected. This can also be helpful to see if an influencer cooperates with competitors or if he or she is engaged with rather low-quality brands.
Example of an influencer’s brand environment
To analyze the standing of an influencer in his or her sector, we use the section engaged influencers in the InfluencerDB tool. Engaged influencers are those influencers that engage with the influencer through likes or mentions. If an influencer is mentioned by other influencers regularly, this signifies that the influencer has a certain standing in the influencer scene and enjoys a high prestige among influencers.
You mentioned using the InfluencerDB software. How intensively do you use the software for the matching process?
Next to the onboarding questionnaire, the software is the most important tool for the matching process. Having a look at an Instagram channel only gives indication of the content quality and solely shows the status quo. It does not, however, show if a channel is still growing or give any indication of audience quality or target group fit. For an in depth-analysis, these analytics are indispensable.
Regarding the metrics you analyze: Which metrics are most important?
In general, the metrics cannot be ranked by importance. Depending on the campaign, however, some metrics might be more important than others. Nonetheless, we look at all these metrics for every campaign we execute:
A channel should have an ongoing growth rate when we cooperate with the influencer. This is especially important for testimonial campaigns since these are long-term cooperations. A brand would not want to work with an influencer who will stop attracting followers halfway through the campaign.
A high engagement rate indicates active and engaged followers. Therefore, this metric is essential for every campaign.
Target Audience Fit & Audience Quality
A low audience fit can have negative effects on the success of a campaign since the content might not reach the right addressees. In a similar manner, the audience quality score signifies the activity and engagement rate of the target audience, which is an essential factor for a campaign’s success.
Engaged Influencers & Outgoing Mentions
As mentioned before, the outgoing mentions and engaged influencers provide indications about the standing and the brand environment of an influencer in the Instagram universe.
Apart from these metrics, what else do you focus on when deciding on influencers for a campaign?
The influencer has to have authenticity regarding the topic and the brand. An influencer cannot promote a product credibly if he or she does not have any interest or connection to the topic. To come back to the example I used before: An influencer that appears very young is not the perfect fit for promoting a new car model and a health nut is not suitable for advertising fast food.
Additionally, a channel needs more than solely sponsored posts to be authentic. The followers want to get insights into an influencer’s life and not be bombarded by paid advertisement on a daily basis.
And last but not least, the quality of an influencer’s content plays an important role. Being a visual medium, attractive content on Instagram performs well for several topics. Again, this depends on different factors. Some influencers are very successful due to their authentic everyday-life pictures without focusing on the perfect setting and lighting.
What do you consider more important: Good metrics or high content-quality?
This highly depends on the campaign and its objectives. For performance-based campaigns like those aimed at conversion and for testimonial-campaigns, metrics are key. If an influencer is booked as a content creator only, his or her metrics are rather subordinate.
Are there disqualifying criteria that exclude an influencer at the outset?
There are indeed. We avoid cooperating with influencers that purchased followers, simply because we believe in the value of organic followers that are genuinely interested in an influencer’s content. We want to support those influencers that attract organic followers by creating content that is tailored to their audience.
Regarding metrics, a negative follower growth can be a disqualifier, as well as a bad audience fit and low audience quality. The engagement rates should be on a certain level to warrant the success of a campaign, and we avoid working with influencers that have an overload of sponsored content to prevent an oversaturation of the audience.
How important is the exclusiveness of an influencer towards a brand?
Our customers decide on how exclusively an influencer should work for the brand. An influencer known for having a car of brand A might not be able to trustworthily promote a car model of brand B. This is highly dependent on the context and the product, though. In the case of some everyday items, it is only natural to own and use several products from different brands.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today, Katharina!
It was my pleasure!
If you are excited to learn more about influencer marketing strategies and how to use the 5 steps for your company’s benefit, stay tuned and explore the upcoming articles of this series!
This series was developed in cooperation with Social Match, Germany’s leading influencer marketing agency.