How to work effectively with influencers

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The Swiss influencer scenery is diverse: from beauty to travel to entertainment, there is virtually no unoccupied topic niche in today’s social media world. This was once again evident at the recent Smile Swiss Influencer Awards show. In total, established influencers were honored with an award in nine categories. But what distinguishes successful influencers? How do you find the right partners for your brand? And how can you work with them effectively? Read on to find out the answers to these and other questions.

Strategic influencer marketing creates brand trust and shapes purchasing decisions. Selecting the right influencers is essential, but for many it is a real challenge. The selection criteria and clarifications that need to be made in advance require expertise and experience. Before you start looking for influencers, it is important to define a clear campaign goal. For example, do you primarily want to generate attention? Then focus your selection on influencers with a large reach in the desired target group. If, on the other hand, the goal is to generate the highest possible interaction rate with the published content, focus on platforms with high engagement or influencers who are close to their communities.

What distinguishes successful influencers?
At the Smile Swiss Influencer Award show, which took place for the third time this November, the best influencers in Switzerland were honored. As part of the Smile Swiss Influencer Award jury and as an official media partner, our Influencer Marketing team understands the criteria used to evaluate the influencers. Not only the content quality and the feed style, but also the reach – especially in Switzerland – and the engagement of the community distinguish the winners. Qualitative aspects such as their personality, their inspirational power, their authenticity and their creativity are also important for the chance to win an award.

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Smile Swiss Influencer Award winner, David Geisser, presents his award in the “Food” category.

We demonstrate this using the example of David Geisser (@david.geisser), cookbook author, host of his own cooking show “Choche und Gnüsse”, well-known food influencer and Smile Swiss Influencer Award winner 2022 in the category “Food”:

  • David has a clear content strategy with consistently high quality.
  • He inspires his community with his contributions.
  • His personality always resonates in his creative recipes.
  • David is credible because he is true to himself
  • With his 100’000 followers, he reaches around 50% of Swiss people
  • For the size of his profile, its channel shows a good average level of engagement

David Geisser can thus call himself Switzerland’s most successful Food Influencer 2022.

How do you find suitable influencers for collaboration?
To find influencers for a potential collaboration, you have several options: Influencer databases, desktop research or your own contacts. We recommend that you use all of these options in your search. Because none of the solutions is conclusive and fully comprehensive. In addition, the industry is changing very quickly, so a new face appears in the influencer sky almost every month.

So, at first glance you have found a few promising influencers and now you want to decide which ones fit your brand and the goal you have set? There are numerous criteria according to which you can proceed. We distinguish between three categories:

  1. Criteria, which should always be met
  2. Criteria, that are target and campaign dependant
  3. Criteria, that are proprietary to the brand

1. Criteria, that should always be met
Avoid profile with «fake followers»
So-called “fake followers” are a much-discussed topic in influencer marketing. There are various ways to detect profiles with purchased followers: the engagement-follower ratio, the follower development on the timeline, and manually checking the followers of a profile. We advise against the latter for time-efficiency reasons. However, the engagement follower ratio indication gives you clues in a very short time whether it could be a profile with “fake followers”. For example, if you notice that a profile with 200,000 followers has an average of 50 likes and 3 comments per post – i.e. an engagement rate of 0.03% – you can assume that followers have been bought. Platforms like Likeometer or Reachbird confirm or refute your thesis by analyzing follower growth over time. You should be careful with influencer statistics that show sudden spikes. Because this indicates that the growth is not natural. The fact that the curve tends to drop again after the peak is another indication of buying “fake followers”. Therefore, you should choose influencers who show irregular but steady growth without sudden upward spikes. 

Analyzing the engagement rate
Another good indicator for influencer selection is the engagement rate. This should always be in relation to the size of the community. Usually, small accounts with up to 50,000 followers have a higher number of interactions compared to larger profiles. How high a good engagement rate is, depends highly on platform and content. For example, video content on Instagram as well as TikTok posts have higher engagement than photo posts on Instagram.

Influencers reaching your target group
To ensure that you reach the right target group with your influencer collaborations, take a close look at the demographics of the followers. You can either view this data via influencer databases or ask the influencers directly. Third-party data is usually an extrapolation. Accordingly, we recommend that you compare the data with the original statistics of the influencers. With the statistics, it is particularly important to check the number of Swiss followers and the community age and gender based on your objective.

2. Criteria, dependant on target and campaign
In addition to the criteria you should always check, there are attributes that vary depending on the goal of your campaign:

  • Reach: Define whether you want to target a niche and therefore work with smaller influencers or whether you want to reach the masses with well-known influencers.
  • Engagement: focus on influencers with a high engagement rate in relation to their profile size.
  • Channels: depending on the narrative depth and entertainment character, different platforms are relevant for you. Therefore, choose influencers who are present on the platforms that are relevant for your brand.

This list can go on and on. As long as you are aware of the goal of your campaign, the criteria will come up on their own.

3. Kriterien, that are proprietary to the brand
In addition to the criteria already mentioned, there are other characteristics that vary depending on the brand. Internal company regulations and the CI/CD can also specify aspects for collaboration. These can look as follows, for example:

  • Content: Work with influencers whose imagery and storytelling matches your brand’s vision
  • Theme: Based on the description in the bio and the published posts, check if the selected person fits your brand and the campaign message
  • Exclusiveness: For some companies, it is important that influencers do not collaborate with direct competitors. Therefore, check that the influencers do not have or have not had any corresponding collaborations.
  • Indipendance: For accounting reasons, it is necessary for some companies that the influencers are officially registered as self-employed. This you can find out by asking the influencers. 

Finally, when selecting suitable influencers for integration into your campaign, it is essential that the “brand fit” is given and that the set KPIs can be achieved with the selection of influencer and the planned activation.

What should you keep in mind for effective collaboration with influencers?
After you have decided on a selection of influencers, you can start contacting them. This way, you can inquire about the interest in a collaboration and can initiate the cooperation accordingly.

Before you contact the influencers, we recommend that you work out a briefing as well as the contractual conditions. If you approach the influencers with a briefing and further detailed information such as the exclusion of competitors, you have a greater chance of avoiding misunderstandings and thus finding suitable collaboration partners right away. This way, the influencers can decide whether they want to participate based on the intended activation.

In addition to the messages to be communicated and the general conditions, such as the number of posts on the selected platforms, the desired post timing and the hashtags and tags to be used, a fixed component of such an influencer briefing should also be the “post approval”. In the briefing and when checking the posts and stories, it is important that you give the influencers the creative freedom they need. Influencers follow a specific content strategy, which they do not normally adapt for a brand. In addition, influencers know their communities best and therefore know what content appeals to their followers. However, this does not mean that you as the client do not have the final say.

Ultimately, you should always keep in mind that long-term influencer collaborations come with many benefits. For example, you often get a package price that is cheaper than paying for individual posts, influencers are more willing to publish an additional post for free every now and then, and you increase your brand’s credibility with communities.

The foundation for your influencer campaign is thus laid. If you would like to receive further tips or simply don’t have the time for the planned influencer campaign, our experts will be happy to advise you. Contact us at for more information.

Photo credits: @davidbiedert