While this topic may have you thinking the quality we are going to talk about has to do with aesthetically pleasing pictures, videos with smooth transitions, and music so good you want your followers to almost be mad they haven’t heard it before, you’re mistaken. we’re going to talk about audience and engagement because they matter more than the number of followers you have or the number of posts you can churn out.

Smarter Insights With Business IQ wrote in an article for brands looking to reach out to influencers for marketing purposes “As a digital marketer, you must realize that context and relevance are two fundamental factors in any campaign. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be surprising that micro-influencers in social media often provide the most value for the brands who arrange sponsorship deals behind the scenes.” This is music to our ears when thinking you need a massive following to even be considered for a brand deal. 

So what are brands looking for exactly, if it’s not that little blue check by your @handle or a K at the end of your followers count? Why are brands favoring micro-influencers over macro-influencers? They are looking for an authentic personality, one that is constant through their posts and engagement; and audience alignment with their ideal customer profile.

How do brands know what kind of audience or engagement you have? There are tons of programs brands use to help them choose influencers they will work with for a campaign. These tools can tell the brand what kind of audience demographics you have, your average engagement rate, and stats from some of your historical posts. Some influencers try to gain fake followers or re-purpose Google content in search of brand dollars, but don’t fall into this trap. Don’t try to game the system. Smart brands can see right through it. 

Tip 1: You can spend time collecting or creating beautiful imagery and videos, but they aren’t worth much if the audience you’ve built isn’t engaging with them. Create content that brings value to your audience. Don’t just post photos, engage with your followers. Reply to comments, DMs, and seek out fan engagement whenever possible.

Tip 2: Stay true to your brand. If you work hard to create content that is on brand and meaningful to your audience, don’t make exceptions that stray away from your plan. If you start to create inconsistencies in what you post, you’ll lose trust with your audience, and that’s a no-no. Not only can this hurt your chance to get a brand deal, but to perform well when you land one. 
Tip 3: Know your audience. Don’t just guess, look at your stats. If you post a ton of fitness videos and think your followers are young women wanting to get fit, but in reality, 70% of your followers are men, then you want to work with Men’s Fitness (mostly male), not Women’s Fitness (mostly female). If you did a program with Women’s Fitness, your content might fit the bill, but your performance will fall flat because you don’t have the right audience alignment. Alternatively, when you work with Men’s Fitness, not only will your content fit, but your audience will too. Win-Win for you and the brand. That means more cash in your pocket and a renewal brand deal on the table.