How Do Brands Evaluate and Choose Social Media Influencers?

In the short amount of time someone spends on YouTube, Instagram, or Facebook, there is a high chance that they have encountered a social media influencer promoting a product. How many times have you scrolled through your Instagram feed and seen someone promoting Care/Of Vitamins? Probably a lot. So, what really is a social media influencer? What qualifies a person to become a social media influencer? How do brands come into contact with the influencer? In Jan-Frederik Grave’s 2019 research article titled, “What KPIs Are Key? Evaluating Performance Metrics for Social Media Influencers” all of these questions are answered.


According to Grave, there are two challenges that companies face when selecting a social media influencer: finding which social media influencer to work with and measuring the outcomes of the campaign. Fashion, health, beauty, entertainment and more are just a few of the various topics that social media influencers cover. Since there is a wide range of influencers for a company to choose from, they must rely on social media metrics to determine which influencer they would like to collaborate with.


Key performance indicators (KPIs) are various metrics used by brand marketers and agencies when selecting a social media influencer for their brand, according to Grave. One KPI that might be used is the amount of interactions an influencer recieves on a post (comments, “likes”, “shares”, etc). Another KPI could be the amount of followers, subscribers, friends, etc. the influencer has on their social media channels.


Grave explains that typical paid content on social media is created by the brand marketers themselves, which gives them more control of the overall message. However, social media influencers are given most of the control when it comes to creating the content for the brand. Although brand marketers provide the social media influencer with some tips to follow for the content, it is up to the influencer to create the content. Grave says this is why it is important for companies to choose an influencer whom they believe will create quality content with non-conflicting posts on their channels.

Kate Scott is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. She will be graduating in May 2020 with a B.A. in Communication Studies with a focus in Integrated Marketing Communication.



Gräve, J.-F. (2019). What KPIs Are Key? Evaluating Performance Metrics for Social Media Influencers. Social Media Society, 5(3), 205630511986547. doi: 10.1177/2056305119865475