Influencer marketing has been around for quite some time. In recent times, it has become bigger than ever and enormously effective marketing tool.

This industry is massive and its growth trajectory shows that it will not be slowing down any time soon. All brands, whether huge, medium or small are now tapping on its potential.

Companies are making room for influencer marketing in their budgets, while those that already use it are increasing their budgets so that they can achieve more. However, finding an influencer who is actually influential is one of the major challenges most businesses face.

If you are looking to have a successful marketing campaign you need to partner with a reputable relevant influencer. This has to be somebody who resonates well with the kind of audience you hope to reach. They should have expertise in the desired field and have command over a huge following.

So, how can you determine that an influencer is actually influential?

The chances are that you will probably get it wrong if you only pay attention to the number of followers one has accrued. This article will outline some of the most crucial factors to consider in your quest to get an effective influencer.

Authenticity

If there is one thing that makes an influencer stand out is authenticity. Followers easily notice when an influencer is endorsing a product for marketing purposes only, as well as when he is really passionate about the product. As long as the influencer is genuine about the product, the followers will believe in your product too.

Therefore, as you look for the right influencer to take your products or services to new heights, gauge their authenticity. Check out other campaigns that they have been involved in previously, and evaluate the reaction.

Specialization

The most effective influencer is usually not a jack of all trades. In fact,  the more specialized an influencer is, the more authoritative they are likely to be in their field.

In social media, categories matter. People know where or who to check if they want some specific information on certain products and recommendations. Due to this, micro-influencers are triumphant when it comes to engagement in their particular fields.  Their following may seem small but that shouldn’t deceive you. This is because it’s more targeted hence more powerful in reaching the right people.

If you want to get the right influencer who can actually move you forward, you want to go for the one with a closely-knitted community of followers within your niche.  Their followers are truthfully interested in what the influencer says or sponsors in regards to services and products.

Credentials and accomplishments

A great influencer does more in their area of expertise beyond the social media presence. This is how you know that they are actually committed to the cause, that they believe in it and serious about it.

One of the best ways to figure this out is by checking out their contribution in their field. For instance, if it is in the parenting niche, do they have a book on this topic? Do they appear on TV interviews to talk about it? These are important indicators to help you identify a truly influential marketing partner in your niche.

If an influencer has received awards and other sorts of recognition due to their efforts in a particular field, that surely counts for influence and credibility.

Engagement rates

An influencer’s engagement rate will hardly mislead you. Do not be attracted by the huge number of followers that one might have. Instead, look at  20 posts or so on a potential influencer's social media account to calculate the engagement rate.

It shouldn’t surprise you if the influencer with the largest number of followers has a lower engagement rate. This happens because most of the followers are probably more general than specific. Calculating their engagements will show you the influential levels of your potential influencer.

Look out for outrageous engagement increase

Not all engagement is real and genuine. Once in a while, it is acceptable for an influencer's engagement to increase. However, if it seems unrealistic, then that's a red flag. For example, if one has 50k followers and the engagement is averagely at 1k likes per post that’s alright. If it hits a high of 30k likes in a short period of time, then this could be a problem.

Influencer marketing campaigns are essential. However, it is even more important to align yourself with a truly influential partner.