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Researching Your Influencer

Discover how to research and identify a suitable influencer for a social media campaign.

The most important element of any influencer marketing activity is the influencer with whom you choose to work with. Researching, identifying, and recruiting the right people for your brand or campaign is crucial.

You can refer to the second sheet of the influencer template, Influencer Research, to help you during this process. A link to the template is once again available at the bottom of this step.

Finding Potential Influencers

Use tools such as Buzzsumo, NinjaOutreach, and the social platforms’ own search functionality to find the right influencers for your campaigns. Consider the information you have on your CRM about your audiences, such as their most popular products, motivations, and interests. Always search for influencers with common interests.

Record the relevant information about each potential influencer in the campaign template’s second sheet, Influencer Research.

There are three key variables to consider when identifying potential influencers – reach, relevance and resonance.


The scale of an influencer’s audience defines their ultimate reach. This will vary wildly between those who have very large audiences – celebrities in their own right – and those who have very small focused audiences around a highly specific niche.

Both ends of the scale have their merits but recent years have seen a trend for collaborating with these ‘micro-influencers’ – social media users who have highly engaged audiences in the 1,000 to 50,000 range.

Research suggests that these micro-influencers have more engaged audiences. You might find it more effective to work with 10 influencers who each have 10,000 followers than one influencer who has 100,000.

There are other benefits to working with those at the smaller end of the scale. You’re less likely to encounter agents and to have a transactional relationship with the influencer and more likely to build a personal relationship. Such a relationship will allow you to truly collaborate, hear their creative ideas on your campaign, and build a more valuable long-term partnership.

Record the reach of each influencer you are considering by observing the total volume of followers they have across all the platforms they are active in.


Of course, your influencers need to be relevant. Relevance is not a precise and measurable metric, but rather a judgement call. Influencers tend to be interested in lots of different things, to varying degrees, and their audience’s preferences can only be inferred.

Use the influencer research sheet in the template to record and assess the relevance of each influencer. Look for Hashtags/ Topics and Unique Facts or Interests that the influencer and your brand, product or organisation have in common.

Recording influencer relevance in the influencer marketing campaign template

Ensure that you engage with influencers who have a clear connection to your niche and accept that some will be more niche than others. Over time, your tracking and measurement (see Influencer measurement and tracking lesson for more information) will show you who is most effective in driving your business results.


Finally, a crucial metric in influencer marketing is engagement. This is the measure of how much someone’s audience actually pays attention to them. One of the criticisms of this marketing channel has always been that reach metrics can be based on meaningless, artificially inflated, audience numbers. Engagement figures, on the other hand, give us a more realistic picture of someone’s genuine influence.

Indeed there are many social media users who have employed nefarious techniques to acquire more followers to inflate their reach. However, such accounts are often easy to spot and platforms are becoming increasingly heavy-handed to remove such users.

Engagement ratio

Recording influencer resonance in the influencer marketing campaign template

Engagement ratio depicts how engaged an audience is with an account’s content. Practically this means that if someone has 11,000 followers and on average receives 220 interactions (likes, comments, replies et al) on a post then their engagement ratio or rate is 2%.

A demonstration of engagement ratio being calculated

Benchmarking this is hard, as there is no normal ratio level and any kind of high water marks we find will vary across industries, topics, audience sizes, demographics and regions.

That being said, rates below 1% are widely considered to be poor, whilst rates above 3% good and 5% excellent. NinjaOutreach, an influencer campaign platform, found that micro-influencers on their platform have an average engagement rate of 11%, whilst major influencers have a 3% rate.

Follower/ Following Ratio

As a secondary measure of influencer engagement, many marketers also use the followers/following ratio, looking for users who are followed by many more people than they themselves follow.

This eliminates those who engage in mass-following as an artificial growth tactic. On average, Instagram accounts have 296 more followers than following, but for verified profiles, this number jumps to 17,910.

Although there is no ‘ideal’ ratio, the higher the ratio number the better. Keep this in mind when you are comparing your potential influencers.

Let’s us Will Francis’s account as an example of how to do this calculation:

A demonstration of follower ratio being calculated

There is a follower/ following ratio column in the Influencer Campaign template where you can record this measure against each of your potential influencers.

Your Task

Think of a famous brand or organisation that you feel could really benefit from a suitable influencer. Write the brand and influencer below and be sure to explain why you think they would be a good match for a marketing campaign.


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Running a Social Media Campaign: Customers, Influencer Engagement, Analytics

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