Instagram has started experimenting with removing “likes” from posts across the U.S., leaving brands curious about the future of determining influencer value. For many, post “likes” have been a major determining factor for brands in deciding which influencers to partner with. More “likes” equals more eyeballs equals more engagement – right?
While “likes” showcase the popularity of a post, there are other ways to determine an influencer’s value that are arguably more helpful. So, for brands breaking a sweat thinking about a “like”-free world, fear not! Here are four other factors to consider when determining whether to partner with an influencer:
1. Has engaged followers
Double tapping a post doesn’t equate to an audience member who is truly engaged. It takes 0.025 seconds to double tap – not much effort there. An engaged follower goes beyond liking a post. It’s someone who’s commenting on an influencer’s posts, tagging friends in the comments, asking them questions, responding to their Instagram Story Q&As, voting on their Story polls, participating in their contests, etc. Brands should partner with influencers who have engaged followers who do more than “like” a post.
2. Leverages user-generated content
Influencers who leverage user-generated content have more of an “in” with their followers and create more engagement. People enjoy seeing their own content shared and highlighted by influential accounts they follow. The more influencers take advantage of user-generated content, the more followers will continue sharing it for their chance to be featured or mentioned.
3. Engages back with followers
It’s one thing to have engaged followers, but it’s even better when influencers take the time to engage back. Influencers who reply to Story Q&A responses, host live video chats, call out comments during chats and reply to comments on their feeds are the ones taking extra steps to show they listen and care about their audience.
4. Appears well-rounded
Leveraging the Instagram feed and Stories is only one component of a multi-faceted influencer. Well-rounded influencers are connected across features and channels and can provide even more value for a brand. For example, someone who posts on their feed, connects that post to the content in their Stories and conducts an IGTV video on the topic is indicative of a well-rounded influencer.
Are you thinking, “You forgot to add number of followers to this list”? I didn’t. Such as with “likes,” number of followers is a great way to determine popularity of an account. But it doesn’t necessarily point to how involved an audience is or how valuable a partnership will be. An influencer could have a small, close-knit group of followers who just happen to be your ideal target audience.
Determining true influencer value shouldn’t be a popularity contest of most likes and followers – it’s all about their relevancy and engagement. We may be entering a “like”-free world, but it’s not as scary as it may seem.