How To Vet & Analyze Influencer Profiles (7 Things To Check)

January 3, 2023
12 mins
Rochi Zalani
Content Writer, Modash
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The success of your influencer marketing campaign hinges on partnering with the right creator. But with 200+ million content creators on Planet Internet, how do you know which influencer you should swipe right on?

One with the most engagement? One with the most followers? One with the prettiest photos?

Here are the metrics you should examine on creator profiles to find The One(s) influencer that fits your brand like a glove. 

How to vet and analyze influencer profiles using an influencer analytics tool 

I’ll cut to the chase: the easiest & quickest way to analyze influencer profiles is by using Modash’s influencer analytics platform

  • You can run influencer profile checks if you already have a profile in mind, or you can find new influencers who match your criteria
  • You don’t have to manually do influencer outreach to creators — who might or might not be a good fit for your brand — to ask for their audience & engagement data
  • You’re not restricted by the metrics that social platforms give. Modash gives you the inside scoop on audience demographics, follower growth rate, fake followers, and more

Here's a sneak preview of what it looks like, using Mari Maria as an example, a Brazilian Instagram account with 20M+ followers.

Feel free to jump in and try analyzing a profile (for free), or keep scrolling for more details.

Here’s how to use Modash to analyze influencer profiles:

Step 1: Choose your desired social media platform (Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube) and add the influencer and/or audience filters you want your ideal creators to meet. 

Alternatively, you can search directly for a username if you already have an influencer whose profile you want to examine.

Step 2: Click on the influencer’s name on Modash to open a profile summary.

That’s it! The profile summary gives you all the metrics you should evaluate — audience data, popular posts, fake followers, engagement rate, average likes, and more.

Try it free for 14 days.

Why you need to evaluate both quantitative & qualitative factors

Even with the best influencer analysis tools in your tech stack, what exactly should you look for? Do vanity metrics like the number of followers suffice in giving an influencer the greenlight? No.

You need to evaluate both quantitative and qualitative metrics when you vet potential influencers.

Why? An influencer’s numbers might be staggering, but their values or audience demographics might not align with your brand.

For instance, skincare influencer Susan Yara promoted her own skincare brand, Naturium, for months before revealing she was the company’s owner. Yikes. Her audience felt devastated, misled, and manipulated. Severe backlash followed. Her trust and reputation among people immediately went down the drain.

Not the type of influencer you want to associate your brand with, right?

Besides, influencers today have plenty of ways to inflate their numbers. Charli D'Amelio was accused of buying followers on TikTok after she reached the 100 million mark. So was political candidate Newt Gingrich. Even brands like Pepsi and Louis Vuitton are under suspicion for unethically pumping up their numbers. Creators today know they’re paid in part for the size of their audience, so they turn to websites like Buzzoid to buy 1,000 followers for just $12.99.

Not a bad deal. But bots don’t turn to customers.

7 things to check before hiring an influencer

With that out of the way, let’s look at the seven things you should check when analyzing influencer profiles — quantitative and qualitative. 

1. Fake followers

Type of metric: Quantitative

Questions to answer

  • Does the influencer have a proportionate follower-to-engagement ratio?
  • Does the influencer have specific comments about the post or a lot of generic comments like “great post” or “amazing picture”?
  • Does the influencer’s follower list consist of real people or a swarm of empty, spammy accounts with no profile picture, a high following count, and no posts?

If you get trapped in an influencer partnership where the creator has purchased fake followers, you get screwed in three ways: 

  • You pay more for a high follower count when the number isn’t entirely consisting of real people (let alone potential customers)
  • You enter into an influencer collaboration with a sketchy person who can practice unethical tactics for their gain 
  • You don’t get any tangible influencer marketing ROI since fake followers don’t provide real engagement

Buying followers is more common than you think: 49% of influencers were involved in fraudulent activities (like buying followers) in 2021.

Sure, you can watch out for red flags like spammy, generic, irrelevant comments, and not enough engagement for the number of followers. But these manual checks are a huge — and boring — time-suck. Not to mention: hand vetting for fake followers isn't very reliable.

The solution? Use a (free!) fake follower checker like Modash. You simply enter the Instagram username of the influencer you’re analyzing, and voila! — the percentage of fake followers served to you in seconds.

⚠️ Note: take the fake follower percentage with a grain of salt. Every influencer might have some fake followers, even if they haven’t purchased them. This is because social media platforms are often littered with bots and spam accounts that follow influencer profiles randomly. The larger the influencer account, the larger the fake follower percentage. Typically, anything above 25% could be a sign of fraud. 

2. Audience engagement 

Type of metric: Quantitative and qualitative

Questions to answer:

  • Do some of the influencer’s posts have a staggering high engagement compared to others (for no external reason)?
  • Does the influencer respond to or communicate with their followers at all via comments, stories, and DMs?
  • Does the influencer’s audience react positively to their new posts and trust their recommendations?

Buying engagement is less common than purchasing followers, but it still happens. Websites like Famoid sell 2,500 TikTok views for just $9.95. Look out for these tip-offs:

  • Few posts with an obese amount of likes, comments, shares, or views for no traceable external reason like virality. Influencers buy engagement for a single post — it doesn’t spread in an influencer’s account naturally
  • Tons of spammy comments like “XYZ trading company gave me $70,000, message me to get it”
  • A pack of irrelevant or half-hearted comments such as “nice picture!” across many posts

Even if an influencer doesn’t have fake engagement, they might have a poor engagement rate. How is it calculated?

Average Organic Engagement Rate (%) = Average number of likes per post / Total number of followers x 100

Like with the fake follower percentage, you don’t have to scratch your pencil to calculate an influencer's engagement rate. Plenty of calculators out there can do the job for you in a pinch: Modash alone has three separate calculators for Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. Just enter the username, and you have it.

What’s a “good” engagement rate? It depends on:

  • The social media platform: Algorithms differ by channels. According to our analysis of 200M+ profiles, anything below 0.73% is considered low on Instagram, but an engagement rate of 0.28% to 1% is average for YouTube. For TikTok, a good engagement rate is 0.66% to 2.3%.
  • The size of the influencer: Micro-influencers have a higher engagement rate compared to macro and mega-creators. This is because, despite having a low follower count, they have a tightly knit, niche community. Large creators have a wide reach, but their engagement rate shrinks as they grow bigger.
  • The niche: Comparing a beauty influencer’s engagement rate to a creator in the construction niche is like evaluating apples against oranges. Some industries — like fashion, skincare, and lifestyle — are naturally more influencer-lucrative than others. The construction niche might not be able to compete with numbers in these niches, but it doesn’t matter since both industries cater to different customer segments. It makes more sense to compare the engagement rates of two influencers in the same niche using Modash’s influencer lookalike tool.

And it’s not all in the numbers. Engagement is also qualitative. Goop founder, Gwyneth Paltrow, faced severe backlash from skincare enthusiasts and dermatologists alike when she applied her sunscreen like a highlighter for a Vogue skincare routine video.

You might be better off finding nano-influencers with the bandwidth to respond to their audience’s comments and DMs than with a celebrity creator who doesn’t even fact-check or glance at their account. Even with high engagement rates, you don’t want an influencer partnership with a creator with no trust or reliability among their audience.

Don’t just aim for high reach, shoot for wide impact.

3. Audience demographics

Type of metric: Quantitative and qualitative 

Questions to answer

  • Do the influencer’s followers overlap with your ideal buyers?
  • Does the influencer have street cred among your target audience?
  • Is the influencer’s content aligned with what your potential customer likes to consume?

If you sell pet food, it doesn’t make sense to collaborate with an influencer who mostly talks about fashion. Once you know who your ideal customers are, map out their demographics:

  • Where do they live?
  • What are their interests?  
  • What are their pain points?
  • What age group are they in?
  • Are they mostly male or female?
  • What kind of content do they like to consume?

Find an influencer who not only works within your industry, but also produces content for your target customers.

How to check these audience demographics for every shortlisted influencer? One way is to ask them for backend data directly. All social media platforms provide audience data — location, follower growth, gender, age group, and more.

But if you don’t want to waste time reaching out to influencers and asking for audience information, Modash provides a detailed audience breakdown in its influencer analytics tool

Why I think audience demographics is also a qualitative metric: you don’t just want influencers whose followers list is aligned with your target buyers — you want their following list to follow them to discover products like yours.

Let’s say you deliver ready-made meals to your customer’s doorstep. Partnering with a food influencer who primarily shares their own recipes doesn’t make sense — their audience isn’t looking at them for product inspiration, they just want help making a home-cooked meal from them.

Instead, your ideal creator partnership is with someone who serves busy people — like mothers and office workers who often don’t have the time to cook a meal, but still want something healthy and delicious for dinner. That’s exactly what Metabolic Meals did when they partnered with mommy blogger, Lou Martin.

Use influencer analytics tools (like Modash!) that allow you to narrow down with mega-specific filters — like hashtags and content topics. 

4. Content quality

Type of metric: Qualitative

Questions to answer

  • Is the influencer’s posts high-quality in terms of content production?
  • Are the captions to the influencer’s posts well-written?
  • Is the influencer comfortable speaking on camera?

The days of photoshopping your brand images to godly precision are long gone. Influencer-generated content is becoming more and more raw as GenZ say they value authenticity over perfection.

But you don’t want an influencer with no camera skills — shooting your product photos in poor quality with improper lighting — to promote your product. Basic recording etiquette is still essential.

Check if your shortlisted influencers have high-quality images and videos on their profile. Are the images shareable? Would you want to repurpose them as creatives on your own website? For instance, Bekah’s pictures for Ilia look minimal and aesthetic — can be directly used on the company’s social media handles or landing pages.

And as video becomes increasingly crucial for influencer marketing, also evaluate if the creator knows how to speak on video confidently. They shouldn’t stutter or look shy. It’s important they look directly into the camera and speak like they’re talking to a friend. Ashlee, a skincare influencer is a good example: she speaks her follower’s language, answers their questions, and feels authentic. 

Lastly, also check if their captions are written well. Posts with longer and more thoughtful captions perform better than posts with shorter captions, according to an experiment by Hootsuite. A good caption has the following elements: 

  • The first line should be attention-grabbing to stop the scroll
  • The rest should be written in plain language that’s easy to understand
  • The caption should be formatted well with emojis, line breaks, and punctuation because people often skim-read on the internet
  • The best influencers also boost their engagement rates by having a question as their call-to-action on a post, encouraging responses via comments

Elise Darma, an Instagram coach, always nails the caption game.

Overall, you want an influencer who creates helpful and shareable content. Do they provide educational, actionable tips to their followers? Or entertainment value? Is it something your target customer would forward to a friend? Or save it for later?

Content quality — apart from the production value — is also about the inherent value of the content itself.

5. Growth rate

Type of metric: Quantitative

Questions to ask:

  • Is the creator a rapidly growing influencer
  • How fast are the influencer’s followers increasing?
  • Are there sketchy jumps in follower count every so often with no viral posts to back up the upward trend?

What if you could have dibs on the next mega-influencer before they become huge? Growth rate is how quickly an influencer gains or loses followers during a given time period.

The power of partnering with a rapidly growing influencer is they’re cost-effective, have more skin in the game, and are a profitable long-term investment. Micro-influencers, who are also booming to become larger and larger, are your best bets.

How to find an influencer’s follower growth rate? There’s the manual way — contact the influencer and ask for their backend data screenshots. Then there’s the simpler, time-saving way: use Modash and get the follower growth rate in 30 seconds.

If you’re in the hunting stage, you can even add a growth rate filter with your desired percentage in Modash’s influencer discovery tool

⚠️ Warning: if an influencer has many follower jumps that you can’t trace to an external reason, it might be a sign of fraud. Look out for a consistent increase in numbers instead of inorganic growth. 

6. Paid post performance

Type of metric: Quantitative and qualitative

Questions to ask

  • How do the creator’s sponsored posts perform?
  • Does the influencer have any case studies to showcase?
  • Is the influencer able to weave your product naturally into their content?

Before you pay an influencer to post about your brand, understand how their past efforts have performed. It’s similar to seeing the past work of an independent contractor you’re hiring to ensure everything is up to the mark.

Many influencers will have a portfolio to showcase case studies from their past collaborations — like clicks on their unique links, the number of times customers used their discount code, engagement rates on paid partnership posts, and more. You can ask for this when vetting and communicating with potential influencers.

Or you can make things simpler by seeing their average post performance on Modash.

But this is just the numbers. What about their product placement abilities? Top-class creators stitch your product with their content seamlessly — it doesn’t appear to any of your target customers that they’re being marketed to. Even though an influencer promoting your brand through a paid post is an ad, it shouldn’t feel like one.

For instance, Dr. Cuterus — a doctor influencer largely talking about menstruation health — promoted Braun Beauty’s facial hair trimmer by sharing information regarding PCOS with her audience.

The PCOS topic interests her audience the most, they’re bothered by excessive facial hair, they look at Dr. Cuterus to recommend a safe solution, and Braun Beauty provides it. Smooth as butter, right?

Check if your shortlisted influencer has the power combo:

  • Highlight the unique selling points of the products they’re promoting
  • Hit the pain points of their followers precisely
  • Do the above two without being salesy

Don’t scroll, save, evaluate and repeat to find the paid content on an influencer’s profile. Modash’s influencer analytics tool provides you with an influencer’s sponsored posts along with their paid performance metrics.

⚡Pro-tip: check if any brand came for a second (or third!) round while checking influencer-sponsored posts. A successful collaboration the first time around leads to repeat partnerships — and is an excellent point in favor of the influencer. 

7. Brand value and voice alignment 

Type of metric: Qualitative

Questions to ask:

  • Does the influencer’s core values match yours?
  • Is the creator passionate about what you do?
  • What causes does the influencer support?

Brand value and voice alignment are a little hard to track and justify, but they can be done. Look at an influencer’s history: why did they become an influencer? What’s their story? What kind of brands do they partner with? Why do people follow them?

If the answers to these questions match your brand values, it’s a good partnership.

Overlapping core values are important because they determine how good the creator partnership will feel. Audiences can tell when something’s off — even if it’s something as intangible as values mismatch.

Similar and adjacent to brand values is brand voice: the influencer should feel like a natural spokesperson for your team. Do they love your product for real, or are they just in it for the money? Are they passionate about the industry? Do they get excited at your brand’s progress?

Lululemon has an A+ ambassador program that’s a testament to this. All their brand ambassadors, like Shayla Oulette, have a resonating story that fits their brand’s mission.

Brand voice comes naturally and can’t be forced — no matter how detailed your influencer brief is. 

Vetting for quality influencers doesn’t have to be tedious

You cannot take the vetting process lightly — it’ll cost you big time.

Evaluating these seven metrics gives you a headstart in partnering with the right influencer for your brand. But analyzing influencer profiles doesn’t have to be manual or time-consuming: use Modash’s vetting tool to get the metrics for you.

Try it for free for 14-days today.

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