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How to find the perfect influencers for your brand: A quick and easy way
Finding influencers remains the biggest challenge for those who run campaigns: here’s how to find social media influencers for your brand
Let’s admit it: we as marketers have fewer and fewer ways to reach customers and lead them to a purchase decision. Yes, social media and digital marketing opened up a new world, but they also made our audience less impressionable to cookie-cutter marketing tactics. They got tired of clichéd slogans, learned how to use ad blockers, and developed banner blindness.
The main drive behind purchase decisions has always been the sense of belonging: people choose brands that represent something more than just a product. Today, authenticity is the biggest selling point.
Building trust is a slow process. Luckily, there’s another way to connect to your audience and it doesn’t require years of marketing effort – influencer marketing.
According to the State of Influencer Marketing 2021 report, 90% of marketers believe influencer marketing to be effective.
The same report discovered that finding influencers remains the most significant challenge for those who run campaigns in-house.
In this article, we will go through the tenets of influencer marketing and explain how to find the right influencers with the platform’s native capabilities and marketing tools.
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is the process of employing content creators to reach your target audience, raise brand awareness, and drive traffic to your website.
Influencer marketing solves the main marketing challenge of all times: establishing the relationship with your audience.
Influencer marketing is one of the best tactics social media has to offer as:
- It helps you reach your target audience.
- It facilitates an authentic connection with your company.
- It acts as social proof: potential customers view influencers as clients who can vouch for your product. The trust people have in an influencer is extended to your brand.
- It acts as a shortcut to convey your brand’s values.
Notably, even one influencer campaign can have long-term effects for the exact reasons listed above. The best influencers understand and convey your values, tone of voice, and public image. That’s why identifying influencers you want to work with is an extremely important task.
Types of influencers on social media
Whether your aim is finding Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn influencers, they are usually grouped by follower count:
- Macro-influencers boast anywhere from 500K followers
- Midi-influencers – 100K to 500K
- Rising influencers – 50K and 100K
- Micro-influencers have up to 50K
The bigger is not always the better. Upfluence reports that micro-influencers have a higher engagement rate across social platforms.
The smaller the community is, the more attention an influencer is able to pay to each follower they have. Thus, people are more willing to engage with them.
The audience size is not the only factor to consider during your search for potential influencers. Identifying influencers that will be right for your brand is 70% of your campaign’s success.
There are several free and paid ways to find social media influencers:
- You can search for influencers manually on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for free.
- A talent agency can pick an influencer from their database for you.
- You can use paid or free influencer marketing tools or social media monitoring tools.
How to find influencers on social media using native search options
Some people start influencer search by Googling a list of influencers in their industry. However, most YouTube and Instagram influencers’ rankings are likely to be limited to macro-influencers.
Here’s what you should do instead.
First of all, you need to choose the social media platform you’re going to focus on. Social media platforms can greatly affect your search results: finding Instagram influencers is very different from opinion leaders on LinkedIn. The choice of the social media platform should be based on your marketing goals.
Now it’s time to research your niche. Look up which influencers have collaborated with your competitors, check what hashtags they use and who they tag in their posts.
Use these hashtags to identify social media accounts that post relevant content. Go through this list and analyze their social performance: the number of followers, engagement, content they post, etc.
You can also use free social media analytics tools such as Squarelovin to get these metrics — they will analyze any social media account’s public metrics. In the end, you will have a short list of important influencers for outreach.
Manual search requires quite a lot of time combing through social accounts to find The One.
As an alternative, you can turn to a talent agency and give them a list of requirements for a potential influencer. They have access to databases of influencers they manage and will facilitate all your collaborations with them. Logically, this collaboration will cost you more since the agency gets a cut too.
Another way to find influencers is through a social media monitoring tool such as Awario, Buzzsumo, Upfluence, or Talkwalker. While they are not strictly tools for influencer marketing, most of them offer a free social media dashboard dedicated to influencers research.
How to find influencers with social media analytics tools
Social media analytics tools such Talkwalker or Awario look for influencers based on selected parameters and organize them in an easy-to-navigate list.
They find conversations relevant to your niche and analyze the social media accounts behind them. As a result, you get the list of influencers in your niche ranked by how popular they are and their relevance to your brand. This way, you won’t spend a second on an irrelevant social media account.
The first step is to determine the keywords to find relevant accounts.
Step 1: Keywords search
Since social listening tools find influencers based on the content they post, you need to think of words and phrases your potential collaborators use.
For example, let’s say you want to promote a platform for website design. The keywords for your search can be divided in the following groups:
- Product-related keywords
- Niche-related keywords
- Your competitors
- Your product/brand name
It’s a good idea to look up your competitors’ accounts and check what kind of hashtags they use as well. You can also try using a free keyword research tool such as Uber Suggest or RankTracker for inspiration.
Step 2: Monitoring keywords
Now set up monitoring. The more keywords you have, the better since it will ensure that the tool finds all the relevant influencers.
Most tools give you more settings to choose from, including:
- Negative keywords signal the tool to ignore social media accounts that post them.
- Locations and languages can specify the location of your influencer.
- Social media sources define what social platforms your search will cover.
If you realize that your monitoring settings are too broad and bring you unrelated information, you can always change them or try Boolean search for laser-focused monitoring.
Step 3: Working with results
Social media analytics tools usually give you two distinct ways to work with the collected data:
- View and engage with social media posts one by one
- See the analytics of the collected data
To get a comprehensive list of influencers in your niche, the second option works the best. The tools I mentioned provide you with influencers reports that rank the social media accounts by the size of their audience, their relevance to your niche, and additional parameters such as sentiment.
You are free to try looking for influencers via the mention feed, where you have all the individual conversations and posts. Various filters allow you to customize it only to see posts from people with a particular audience size, which is extremely helpful for finding micro-influencers.
You can instantly see what exactly those influencers have to say about your topic — which gives you a perfect opening line for your outreach strategy.
Step 4: Choosing the right influencer for you
To narrow down your list to the best of the best, you need to answer the following questions:
- Does the audience of this influencer coincide with our target audience?
- Does this influencer actually influence their audience? How high is their engagement rate?
- Does this influencer have a public image that fits our brand image?
A social listening tool can help you answer these questions too! Create an alert with the influencers’ name and see what people are saying about them on the Internet.
Tips for a perfect influencer campaign
- Have a clear image of your target audience. Know their demographics, psychographics, and online behavior. Create buyer personas to see the big picture of your campaign.
- Pay attention to analytics. Although the Influencer Marketing report 2021 states that fake influencers are less of a concern now, it’s still a good idea to make sure your influencer actually has influence. You can ask them for their engagement and impressions rate and take a close look at the comments. A social media monitoring tool can run a reputation analysis for an influencer: that way, you ensure that your brand won’t get hurt by this collaboration. |
- Get creative with the campaigns. A simple Instagram post praising a product doesn’t require much effort, but if you give the influencers something to do, a challenge of some kind, the campaign will be much more engaging.
Often, influencers facilitate a connection with a new audience for your brand. That’s why it’s extremely important to choose influencers wisely. From finding Instagram Influencers to collaborating with Twitch streamers, these useful tips will help you improve your marketing strategy.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.