Influencer marketing may sound really accessible when you see all the sponsored advertisements in your newsfeed.
But when you really get serious and try looking for them, a google search will give you an outdated list of "TOP 15" influencers in Singapore ( Including JJ Lin ) when all you want are micro influencers.
Finding a suitable micro influencer is exactly like it sounds, looking for a needle in a haystack!
So how do you locate these smaller influencers in your Niche?
If you are not looking to approach an influencer management company straight away, here's a really neat way to find these influencers and contact them yourselves with only 3 Simple steps.
Step 1: Identify your niche
Should you engage a fashion influencer for food reviews? Credits: Pexels
What niche does your product or service fall into?
Is it complementary to a fashion niche or are your looking for Food Influencers?
What mediums/channels are you looking to reach your audience? Instagram, Dayre, Facebook or somewhere else?
Having a clear Niche allows you to select influencers with the maximum Return On Investment on your campaign.
Ensure that these selected influencers are Known for your Niche and that their audiences are potential customers.
Here's a common mistake that businesses make
Choosing an influencer known for your industry niche but the following audience is vastly different.
It's an expensive mistake if you choose a female influencer to market cosmetic products to her followers when 90% of them are guys.
Despite Naysayers, there's little value in showing ads to people who are not your potential customers, better yet paying for these impressions.
The great new is Influencers can switch to business accounts to gain access to the individual demographics of their audiences.
Here are some metrics you can track:
- Age cluster
- Follower Activities ( Which time and day are followers most active )
These metrics are enough to validate an influencer's reach, where are their followers attributed to click farms overseas or are they using click baits to attract the wrong following.
Step 2: Hashtag Research
What hashtags does your niche use?
Hashtags are the most common way to navigate by categories on Instagram. Don't worry about locating bloggers as most of them should be on Instagram as well for maximum outreach.
Using a single "Singapore influencer hashtag" such as #IGSG may yield results for influential people in Singapore but not in your specific niche. Filtering all these people can be tedious and ineffective.
What you want to do is search by Double Hashtags, which is not possible on Instagram itself but made possible by 3rd party Instagram analytics such as Mulpix.
With that, using a Hashtag combination such as #IGSG and #VSCOFood turns up Food Bloggers such as @bibikgourmand, Evelyn Chen.
Evelyn perfectly satisfy our requirement as a Great Singaporean Food Influencer with images that make me hungry while writing this post
Shortlist those that you find applicable to your brand and simply send them a direct message to connect and discuss further, perhaps even direct proposal to qualify whether they are available or not.
One key thing to note though is that influencers usually have a day project or day job and you can't expect an immediate response from all of them.
Afterall being an influencer doesn't really entitle them to be an "Open Shop" all the time, people have day-to-day lives and jobs to handle and their response may largely differ depending on your offer.
Some may even not reply due to disinterest in your campaign so do approach them with a respectful mindset.
Yes, Influencers are REAL People, not companies that have customer service protocols in place.
Step 3: Evaluate and qualify
Not every Instagram follower is made equal.
It is unfortunate to say that due to the preference of the industry for vanity metrics such as the number of followers and likes.
It is highly likely that every influencer in the market has used some sort of Instagram like and follower manipulation tactics to increase their engagement.
Sieving out whether the followers are authentic sounds like total guesswork but there's a simple ground rule that you can use to verify the authenticity.
Just like how cybersecurity experts must learn how to hack before building countermeasures against cybersecurity threats.
Let's dive into how influencers manipulate their following.
How do Influencers manipulate growth?
• Buying likes
These days, you can easily buy millions of followers for as little as $20 via online services like Fiverr. This followers, however, are all fake accounts or spammy bots which dilutes the true reach of an influencer.
The great gods of Instagram, fortunately, have been on a banning spree, deactivating this suspicious bot accounts that are easily spotted by algorithms due to their spammy behaviour.
So how do you check people who buy likes?
Use an Instagram analytics tool such as social blade to monitor the statistics of how their followers are increasing over time.
Surprisingly, there's even an article by local influencers on how to spot the anomaly's which we agree with too.
• Instagram Engagement Bots
Instagram engagement bots work by using your account to like posts, follow people in order to appear on their notification.
This is in hope that they will visit your profile and follow you back.
While it sounds fine in theory, the main drawback is how the community is driven by vanity metrics.
The bot also works by auto-following people who follow you or like your posts.
Instagram has become a Follow-for-follows and like-for-likes kind of environment.
While we promote reciprocity, this is bad for business owners.
The only way to check whether the followers are genuinely interested in the content of the influencer is to check the rate of engagement ( Comments or likes ) for their posts.
If an influencer has 10,000 followers, a good benchmark for engagement should be more than 5-10% which amounts to 500 people.
Influencers that regularly engage with their followers tend to get engagement rates higher than that!
• Instagram Rounds
This is a rather unknown technique that some Influencers use to boost engagement on posts to hit the explore page.
"Rounds" is a process where you share your post in the group and everybody in the group will take turns to like each other post to boost engagement. It can exist as a Telegram or Facebook group, mostly telegram.
An easy way to spot this phenomenon is to cross check with the posts before that and check where the spike actually happened.
Was there a large increase of followers? Or did something viral happen with the influencer?
If not, they are probably manipulating their engagement through these methods.
And if all else fails, talk to an Influencer management company
These companies often have analytics and demographic data of their influencer audiences.
It will also save you countless manhours prospecting and reaching out to individual influencer to negotiate a fair rate for both parties.
You can expect to pay 30% upwards in terms of management fees.
If you are doing a large scale campaign, coordinating with influencers to keep to campaign specifications can be a nightmare as you are dealing with a large group of people.
When you deal with people, there are so many irrational factors that you cannot control, be it the type of images to post, the wording of the campaigns or the punctuality of your posts.
On top of that, there are logistic problems. It will be a hassle to individually co-ordinate the collection of your samples or products for sponsored images.
So what you are paying an agency will eventually go into handling
• Database to select influencer and outreach
• Curating the influencer for authenticity
• Campaign design and setup
• Logistic handling and co-ordination
• Payment of influencers
Now it doesn't seem that expensive after all.
To summarise, if you are engaging a few influencers for a smaller campaign, it's okay to approach them directly.
But if you are dealing with hundreds of micro-influencers, the wiser choice would be to let an agency do the brunt of the heavy work while you focusing on other distribution channels to leverage on the buzz created.
We wish you all the best in finding the right Influencer in Singapore to represent your brand!