• Daniel Trösch

How to Do an Influencer Evaluation in 4 Steps

Updated: Jul 20, 2020

When you’re collaborating with influencers, you need to assess your options carefully, especially as a small business owner.

Why, you ask?

You’ve got to ensure that you partner with the influencer who can drive the most value for your brand.

Once you shortlist potential influencers, invest some time into influencer evaluation. If you want to make sure you sign the deal with the best-performing influencers, this is a necessary process.

But how can small business owners evaluate influencers? From their audience to their content style and engagement, you need to evaluate everything.

In this article, let’s take a look at the influencer evaluation process in detail.

Influencer Evaluation: How Small Businesses Can Get It Right

The purpose of an influencer evaluation is to check whether a social media influencer is a good fit for your brand and influencer marketing campaign goals.

What does that mean?

Think of it as a thorough background check. It involves verifying an influencer’s credibility, content, followers, authenticity, audience, engagement rate, other metrics, and analyzing how influential they may be.

In simple terms, a social media influencer evaluation is a prerequisite for all businesses (big and small alike) when planning an influencer marketing campaign.

So, what should you look for while evaluating influencers?

Here are some tips to help small business owners with influencer evaluation:

1. Look for Brand Affinity

When it comes to influencer marketing, small businesses need to look beyond vanity metrics like social media following. According to a 2019 report by Edelman, relatability is twice as important as popularity to attract people to social media influencers.

How does that affect your influencer evaluation?

The first step for influencer evaluation is to find real influencers who share the same values as your brand. At the same time, your chosen influencer should also cater to your target audience. Only then will the influencer-created content be relevant for your brand.

During influencer evaluation, brand affinity should be a top priority for small businesses.

Here, brand affinity refers to building a relationship based on shared values. To make sure you’re focusing on brand affinity, make a list of:

  • Relevant hashtags for your brand

  • Core values

  • Topics that you would like to address

  • Topics you want to avoid

Defining these things will give you more clarity about your brand’s values, personality, and tone.

At the same time, this can help you find keywords for your influencer search. Using our advanced search option, you can also check if an influencer has an audience that may like your brand.

influencer search

Image via Fourstarzz Media

2. Inspect the Influencer’s Past Collaborations for Transparency

If you want to gauge how an influencer works with small businesses, take a look at their past collaborations. For an influencer evaluation, this is an important step. It can tell you how transparent or open influencers are about their collaborations.

As a small business owner, you need to be aware of the FTC guidelines regarding influencer collaborations. Only then you can evaluate potential influencers for transparency.

The disclosure guidelines prescribed by FTC in 2019 recommend that influencers clearly disclose their brand endorsements.

So, what exactly do the FTC disclosure guidelines say about sponsored content in influencer campaigns?

Here are a few points to remember from their guidelines:

  • Influencers should disclose when they have any kind of relationship with a brand. It can be financial, personal or family, or employment-based.

  • In sponsored posts, influencers should use the hashtags such as #ad, #advertisement, or #sponsored.

  • In Instagram and Snapchat Stories, influencers should superimpose the disclosure over the image. Additionally, they should ensure that viewers have enough time to read it.

Image via Instagram

  • In videos, influencers should add the disclosure in the video. Only adding it to the description does not work.

  • In live streams, influencers should make the disclosure periodically. This ensures that viewers who see only a part of the live video stay informed about the endorsement.

These are the things small business owners should keep an eye on during influencer evaluation and also when working on an influencer marketing campaign.

Practices that are inconsistent with their guidelines may result in law enforcement actions. They may allege violations of the FTC Act.

If you want to avoid being penalized, make sure transparency is a major factor for influencer evaluation. You should ensure that the influencer you choose for your influencer marketing campaign follows a FTC complaint approach.

3. Assess the Quality of Influencer Content

If you’re looking to collaborate with an influencer on Instagram, you should check out their social media profiles on other social media platforms as well.

Look them up on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitch, Pinterest, and other social media platforms that they may be active on.

Comb through their sponsored posts on different social media channels carefully. To gauge the quality of their content, here are a few questions you should ask:

  • Is the content unique, relatable, informative, and entertaining?

  • Is the content relevant for the target audience?

  • How natural is the branded content?

  • What kind of brands do they collaborate with?

  • Do they post promotional content consistently?

For influencer evaluation, you should look at the follower count as well as the engagement rate of the influencer.

What if an influencer has a very high follower count, but not enough engagement?

Then something’s fishy. They may have a high number of fake followers. These fake accounts may not contribute to the engagement on a post.

In such cases, it’s also a good idea to check the kind of response that their posts garner. Check out the number of likes and dig into the comments section. Alternatively, you can check their follower growth over time. Sudden jumps in follower count might mean that they have fake followers.

For example:

Take a look at the screenshot below. The comments do not add any value.

Image via Instagram

If you find only generic comments and emojis like these, that’s a big red flag. Such comments may be generated by bots. There are high chances that the influencer has fake follower accounts.

Here’s another tip for influencer evaluation:

Look at the usernames of those commenting on the influencer’s posts.

When it comes to fake profiles, spammy usernames can be a dead giveaway. If you find dubious names, check the profile to see if their profile seems real.

There is another easier way to go about this.

You can use influencer marketing tools like Fourstarzz Media to find influencers and check the fake follower score as well as the credibility of the followers for each influencer profile. It also helps you send emails to their valid email address.

Fourstarzz Media influencer marketing platform

Image via Fourstarzz Media

4. Analyze the Influencer’s Circle of Influence

Influencer marketing is no longer just a numbers game. Along with the number of followers, you also need to look at the quality of connections for influencer evaluation.

Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you have shortlisted two influencers. One of them has 2 million followers while the other one has 30K followers. However, there is a big difference in their follower bases.

The first influencer’s followers do not have big friend lists. And they are not very active on Instagram.

On the other hand, the second influencer’s followers are well-connected and active on the platform.

In such a scenario, it may be more rewarding to work with an influencer who has a larger reach as well as a high engagement rate.

So, it’s not always about the influencer’s niche or the number of social media followers. This influencer evaluation strategy is especially helpful if you’re looking to market your products to people from new demographics.

For instance, subscription pillow service, The Pillow Club, collaborated with Instagram influencer, Simply Taralynn.

Taralynn instagram

Image via Instagram

Even though she mainly posts content related to fitness, she mentioned she was moving into a new home in one of her posts.

Through the collaboration, the brand was able to market their comfortable pillows to those who are looking to redecorate their homes.

Tip: Fourstarzz Media offers influencer profile reports for each influencer profile. The reports feature a list of notable followers. If you want to save time, you will definitely find these reports helpful.

notable followers

Image via Fourstarzz Media


For small businesses, thorough influencer evaluation is imperative. To evaluate potential influencers, you should conduct a thorough background check. Dig into their social media profiles and check out their past collaborations and social media content quality.

Keep in mind that transparency and authenticity are key components of the influencer evaluation process. Along with credibility, you should also make sure that influencers promote the same values as your brand.

Choosing the right influencers will help you ensure that you make the most of your marketing budget by running effective successful influencer marketing campaigns.

Facing a tough time with influencer evaluation? Get access to detailed influencer reports on our influencer marketing platform. Get instant access to Fourstarzz Media NOW!