Within seconds, we know which influencers are serious and operating as a well-organized business. Likewise, just as quickly, we spot unorganized and inexperienced influencers. You should develop your own system for vetting travel influencers.
As the rise in popularity of working with influencers has increased, so has the number of daily unsolicited requests we get on behalf of our clients.
It’s imperative before partnering with influencers that you establish a vetting or scoring process. Properly vetting travel influencers allows you to make strategic decisions and identify influencers with the necessary tools and audience to amplify your brand. Your process must be adaptable so it can be applied in the evaluation of a variety of campaign styles
In full transparency, the likelihood of Bandwagon recommending our clients to work with influencers who send unsolicited requests to us is slim to none. Instead, we are proactive and strategic providing influencer recommendations after exhaustive research.
Additionally, influencer trends for 2020 show a shift towards brands using employees, staff, and volunteers as influencers and ambassadors. The reason for this shift is because these inside influencers are more knowledgeable about the place they represent. There is more control and opportunity for collaboration between the internal influencer and in-house marketing team. Due to our client’s budget availability for influencer projects, we are early adopters of this trend.
As you read on, we share a few of the many criteria we evaluate via our proprietary scoring system for vetting influencers. For simplification purposes, the word “content” refers to an influencer’s primary mode of communication with their audience which could be blog posts, social media posts, video, podcasts, photos, or other digital content
“ We are proactive and strategic providing our influencer recommendations after exhaustive research”Cory Cart, APR – Bandwagon’s Chief Client OfFiCER
4 Tips for Vetting Travel Influencers
Calculate Standard Audience Engagement Percentages for Place Marketing
We consider unique monthly visitors (UMV), follower numbers, and impressions trash. They are not legitimate measurements for evaluating success. Engagement is key. Each niche industry has standard or average engagement percentages used to track success. At Bandwagon, we don’t focus on audience size per se, but we value the level of an influencer’s audience engagement percentages. After reviewing industry studies, we determined that the standard for excellence for the travel industry, when considering engagement percentage, ranges between 1.7% and 3%. This means that a micro-influencer with 25,000 followers should be able to exhibit 425 engagements with posted content for us to consider them as having a strong, engaged audience
Evaluate Consistency of Content Focus Between a Digital Influencer and Their Audience
Did a friend ever convince you to embark on a blind date where you suffered through a meal or coffee? Were you trying to figure out what they must have thought you have in common with the other person? This is how your audience feels when you align with the wrong influencer. Avoid this by reviewing several years’ worth of an influencers primary type of content. You will identify if they maintain a longstanding relationship with their audience on a focused topic that aligns with you.
Why several years? Well, things change. Due to their need to make money, influencers might stray from their own brand segmenting or alienating their core audience. An example of this was a steak influencer I followed for many years. I love a great steak, and this influencer’s reviews of top steakhouses and annual rankings of U.S. steakhouses was a fantastic resource when I traveled
Over time, the influencer began reviewing non-steak items such as pizza, ramen and more. I became frustrated as the influencer’s content lost its primary focus. I quit following and moved on to another resource. Make sure that someone who is a travel expert hasn’t shifted to covering quilting with frequency. Unless quilting is part of their travel stories, their audience is, or will become, frustrated and fragmented. Therefore, their value to your brand is diluted from what it might have been one or two years ago
Bandwagon was a quoted source about the use of tiktok by a leading brand
Boone Clemmons, Bandwagon’s chief strategy officer, was featured in a post on the Plytix Blog talking about how one of his favorite brands, Chewy, is using Tiktok
Review the Balance of an Influencer’s Editorial Versus Promotional Content
Not so many years ago, I remember discussing the editorial versus advertising content balance within visitor guides. Today, the same consideration is a priority when evaluating an influencer’s channels. Too much promotional content makes their content delivery channels spammy. If they are promoting products via paid placements at a rate greater than they are producing usable content, they are probably not the correct fit for your brand. One method to gauge if audiences view an influencer’s content as spammy is to review post comments. This qualitative form of data collection forms an understanding of how engaged and loyal the audience is with the influencer
The Amount of Time You Spend Evaluating Influencers is Directly Related to the Return on Investment
The amount of time you invest in the research phase of planning an influencer campaign protects you from costly mistakes. No one wants to report to a board, commission, or supervisor that a campaign failed. So, first, ask yourself what success for the influencer campaign looks like for your organization. Then develop a strategy. Following your strategy development, research influencers who have a proven track record of delivering that level and type of success.