Working with influencers is one of the best ways to reach new audiences and encourage product sales.
However, partnering with the wrong influencer can do more harm than good for your brand marketing efforts.
In this blog post, we’re sharing 6 essential questions to ask yourself before working with an influencer partner — so you can set yourself up for success:
6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Working with Influencers:
#1: Are They a Natural Fit for Your Products or Services?
When it comes to working with an influencer, the first question to ask is: how well do they align with your brand, products, or services?
If you’re struggling to see the connection, the chances are your audience will too. Consumers are hyper-aware of sponsored posts — especially if the partnership seems forced and unnatural.
When assessing how well an influencer aligns with your brand, consider these 4 key areas:
#1: Industry Niche
The best partnerships happen when an influencer can seamlessly integrate a product or service into their day-to-day content.
It should be such a natural fit that it doesn’t even feel like a paid partnership.
For example, if you’re a dog food company, look for influencer partners who regularly post content about their favorite pups, rather than a general lifestyle influencer.
Working with influencers who already have a connection with your products or services also helps make your partnership feel genuine and authentic — which is a recipe for success.
#2: Content Style and Aesthetic
The next thing to consider is how well an influencer’s aesthetic aligns with your brand values.
“Sometimes you’ll find an influencer you want to work with who doesn’t match your brand aesthetic,” explains Later’s PR and Influencer Manager Chrissy Abram. “In this case, you may want to consider being less prescriptive in how your product/service is highlighted on their channel.”
But, if you want to ensure your partnership aesthetically aligns, you can seek out influencers who align with your brand style.
If your brand is known for hyper-saturated colorful designs, you might want to avoid an influencer who favors minimal, muted designs. A sponsored post could look jarring on their feed, or will be misaligned with your brand aesthetic.
Look for influencers who are already sharing posts, Reels, IGTV videos, or stories that you could easily see your products or services in.
If you’re wanting someone to share their in depth thoughts about your products on their feed, you may want to work with an influencer who typically shares long, informative captions.
Similarly, if you’re looking for an influencer partner to create video content, take note of what is already on their feed. Are they regularly creating and sharing video content with their audience? Is the quality what you’d hope for?
Finally, it’s important to question whether an influencer has the right audience fit for your brand.
Choosing an influencer with an engaged following is one thing, but if they aren’t the right audience for your product or service, you’ll likely see little to no return.
Take note of the type of followers who are regularly commenting and liking on an influencer’s posts — are they the type of person who would be likely to engage with your brand?
#4: Beliefs and Values
More than ever before, social media is a place for people to share their beliefs and values.
However, not everyone’s beliefs and values will align with those of your brand. With this in mind, it’s important to do some due diligence before entering into a partnership.
Take a good scroll through an influencer’s previous posts, do a thorough Google search, and ask any contacts you have in the influencer marketing industry.
An influencer can become synonymous with your brand, so if it doesn’t feel like quite the right fit, err on the side of caution.
#2: Does Their Performance Data Align with Your Campaign Goals
Asking to see an influencer’s media kit and performance data is one of the most important questions to ask.
Anyone can buy followers to inflate their follower count, so you should always delve a little deeper into an influencer’s performance data.
If possible, ask your influencer partner to provide a verified analytics report, such as Later’s Performance Report, which includes:
Profile statistics (follower count, impressions, profile views, and website clicks)
Audience demographics (top countries, age, gender, and most active times)
Post summary (median reach, likes, comments, and engagement rate)
Top performing posts
Instagram Stories summary (median impressions, reach, and replies)
Top performing Instagram Stories
This will help you gain a reliable picture of an influencer’s performance, and whether or not they are likely to meet your brand campaign goals.
Chrissy Abram, Later’s PR and Influencer Manager, explains: “It’s important to review an influencer’s analytics and ensure there is an authentic fit with your target audience.”
#3: How Engaged is Their Community?
An engaged community is about more than just Instagram likes. It’s about genuine connection, conversation, and authenticity.
The most effective influencer marketing partnerships are based on trust, so look for influencers who have created a community of people who truly value their recommendations.
One of the best ways to scope out a positive engaged Instagram community is through the comments section.
Take influencer Filipa Jackson for example. Not only is her community engaged in the comments section, but she is too. Filipa makes an effort to engage with her community with a thoughtful comment back.
Another way to tell if an influencer has a good relationship with their audience is through Instagram Stories.
Every influencer will have a different strategy, but generally, the more engagement that’s happening on stories (whether through questions, polls, sliders, or DMs) the better.
#4: Do They Align with Your Budget?
Before you work with an influencer, you’ll need to consider whether they align with your budget.
Sponsored posts can cost anything from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars — so it’s worth making sure you’re on the same page right from the outset.
There are a few ways you can explore influencer rates.
“You can make the bold request and ask for a rate card,” explains Later’s PR and Influencer Manager, Chrissy Abram. “If the influencer is interested and curious about working with you, typically they’ll be able to send over their rate card.”
Some influencers may have a flat rate, while others will have more wiggle room.
There aren’t many formal guidelines on how much an influencer should charge — or how much a brand should be paying them for a collaboration. It really depends on the type of influencer partnership you’re interested in and the influencer.
Ultimately, you need to consider how much you will gain from an influencer partnership, versus how much you are able to pay.
For lower budgets, you can explore working with Nano or Micro influencers — who typically have a smaller follower count, but a higher engagement rate.
Want to find out which size of influencer is the best fit for your next marketing campaign? Get the free Later x Fohr influencer marketing report now:
#5: How Are They Working with Brands Already?
An influencer’s previous collaborations can be a valuable indicator for how they approach brand partnerships.
Consider the types of products or services they’ve promoted, how high the production quality is, and how they’ve tied it into their day-to-day content strategy.
This will give you a good idea of their creative approach, and how they connect the dots for their audience to encourage sales.
Take note of how much an influencer engages with their community in the comments for sponsored posts, and whether they archive sponsored posts after a certain amount of time.
Obviously, some brands are more prescriptive than others — so it’s worth chatting with your influencer partner about how they like to work with brands, and what creative ideas they have to promote your products.
It’s also worthwhile assessing if there’s a conflict of interest based on previous brand partnerships.
“It’s important to scan an influencer’s feed and orient yourself with possible competing brands the influencer has partnered with.” explains Later’s PR and Influencer Manager Chrissy Abram.
“Look out for multiple posts from a competitor brand, which could signal to you they have an exclusivity agreement.”
An exclusivity agreement means they are legally not allowed to work with competitor brands, so it’s a good idea to check this in advance.
#6: How Do They Disclose Sponsored Posts?
Our final question to ask influencers is all about disclosure.
As a brand, you should always aim to be FTC compliant — and the same should go for your influencer partners.
When looking at an influencer’s past partnerships check to see if they:
Place the disclosure so it’s hard to miss
Use simple and clear language
Use the same language throughout
Don’t assume a platforms disclosure tool is enough
Share honest endorsements only
TIP: Learn more about how to properly disclose sponsored Instagram posts in this blog post.
Finding the perfect influencer partner for your brand can take some time, but with careful consideration and a strong strategy, you can set yourself up for success.
Ready to take your influencer marketing strategy to the next level? Watch our free 30-minute Influencer Marketing 101 course with Gretta van Riel: