AI is a big part of 21st-century life. Siri and Alexa help us manage our day. Activity monitors remind us to get up and move when we have been sitting too long. Google and Facebook can also determine what ads we will see based on our online habits and search history.
Because influencer marketing is digital, it is not surprising that artificial Intelligence has been used to help discover the best influencers. Want to find TikTok influencers from the US who post content about food? Want to find Instagram influencers in Paris with high engagement rates?
This type of search is impossible on social media alone, or at the very least, it would take hours upon hours. But AI is here to help you, so don’t be discouraged!
Do not skip this crucial first step
Know what you are looking for before you begin searching for influencers. If you don’t have a plan for your influencer marketing campaign, you won’t be able to make a decision about which influencers to reach out to.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What’s my goal in this campaign?
- What KPIs can I use to measure my progress?
- Who is my target audience?
- Which network does my target audience use?
- What’s my campaign schedule?
- What can I offer to influencers as an incentive?
The answers to these questions directly shape your influencer search. For example, if you have a big budget, you might want to work with a KOL, who can promote your brand to their wide network. Or, if you don’t have a lot to spend, consider micro influencers instead. They still offer great engagement rates, but at a fraction of the price of top influencers.
Also, it is important to remember that, despite all that artificial intelligence may tell you, your gut is still important. Computer programs are not able to pick up certain details, such as visual aesthetics, tone of voice or key values. These elements need to be analyzed by a human.
Influencer marketing platforms: AI is the answer
You may definitely look for influencers directly on the social networks of your choice. You can search among your followers and track hashtags, or keep up with your brand mentions. And you might just find the right person to help with your campaign.
But, this takes time. For example, if you want to find TikTok influencers, you may have to spend hours searching through hashtags and watching videos. Also, you won’t be able to access any performance-driven metrics beyond basic follower counts. Before you can fully vet an influencer’s performance, you will need to request their internal metrics.
But there is a better way: Use an AI-powered influencer platform.
What is an influencer marketing platform?
A platform for influencer marketing is software that functions in the same way as an influencer search engine. You can search by location, category, and followers. When the software returns results, you can access analytics data regarding those performance-driven metrics that we discussed above.
This allows you to see more of an influencer’s profile before you even reach out; you don’t have to request media kits or internal data and wait for influencers to reply. That means you save time and energy, and it’s easier for you to make confident decisions.
FYI, subscriptions are usually required for these services. The software requires that you pay a monthly or an annual fee. Before you make a decision about which route to go, consider the cost of the software and your brand’s needs in influencer marketing. That being said, influencer marketing platforms are generally much cheaper than hiring an influencer marketing agency.
What should I consider when I use one?
There are some key metrics that you need to evaluate when working with an influencer marketing platform. Let’s go over them. We will also share tips on how AI can be used to detect and avoid fake influencers.
Followers and growth over the course of time
While it is important to consider the number of followers that an influencer has, it is not the only important factor. It is equally important to look at how influencers gained followers over time.
An example of follower growth from an influencer marketing platform.
Their growth is organic if they gain followers gradually and steadily. However, sudden growth shows something else. It could show a viral moment, giveaways, or, unfortunately, fake followers.
Engagement rate is a measure of the interaction between influencers and followers. Followers more often engage with an influencer’s content when they trust it and the influencer’s credibility.
The number of followers and the social network will impact the engagement rate. So only compare influencers to their peers. For example, don’t compare the engagement rates of TikTokers with those of YouTube influencers; those platforms have different ways to engage with content and therefore different engagement benchmarks.
You can also calculate influencer engagement without AI. Add up the interactions with the post and divide the total by how many followers the influencer has. Then multiply this by 100. Take a sample of influencer posts and do the same for the average. Next, compare the influencer to industry averages.
But, AI does this better. The software will calculate the average engagement for each influencer over the last few posts and then compare it with their peers. It may also suggest when it sees suspiciously high engagement rates, which could indicate that the influencer has bought fake engagements.
You can also use AI to ensure that your influencer choices reach your target audience. Consider the demographics of your target before you choose an influencer. This includes their age, gender, location, and interests. Do not assume that every influencer who matches your target also has an audience who matches your target.
Imagine, for instance, that you launch a campaign in Canada. This is where your small business is located. You want to increase sales but you don’t take the time to look at an influencer’s audience before setting up a collaboration. This means that you don’t know how many of your followers live in countries where you don’t ship. You end up losing significant sales opportunities because the people who view your campaign content cannot actually order your products.
Audience authenticity is another important metric. Artificial intelligence is able to recognize common behavior among bots. The software then shows you how many followers are suspicious.
According to a 2019 study by Mediakix, influencer fraud was a top concern among marketers, and it’s hard to imagine that’s not still true. It’s possible to buy and sell almost anything online, including in the influencer marketing industry. Influencers can easily purchase fake followers, likes, comments, and more. Before you choose an influencer to work with, make sure to verify their authenticity.
An influencer marketing platform may not be the right investment for your brand if you are really tight on budget or only plan to work with a handful of influencers. In that case, it may be more effective to search directly via social media.
But, an influencer marketing platform is a great way to save time and reduce stress if you have a large campaign or room in your budget. Let AI do the heavy lifting and find only the influencers that meet your unique needs.