Before we delve into about how to find influencers, it’s worth mentioning what an influencer actually is.
WHAT IS AN INFLUENCER
An influencer is an individual who can affect change in behaviour of others often through trusted opinion, knowledge and content creation.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF INFLUENCER
Influencers are varied and come in all different forms, and could be any one of these types of people
- Social media influencer – Youtuber Facebook or Instagram influencer
- Thought leader *B2B influencer
- Industry expert
You may have heard the term Macro, Micro or nano influencer. These are largely defined by their social media following. A nano typically would have under 10,000 followers and it’s this category of influencer along with micro influencers that have seen the largest growth.
Its important to remember that whilst sometimes its advantageous to have an audience with a large following, what’s more important is the relevance of this. A fly-fishing expert could have less than 5,000 followers on Instagram but because it’s a very niche sector, the likely relevance of the audience is very high so for a fishing tackle or rod manufacturer, this could be an ideal partnership. What you are always looking for is where is my target audience going to be and which influencer can help me get to it.
Before you start to search for influencers is important to understand what your goals are, in other words what are you trying to achieve for your influencer marketing campaign, is it large scale reach, in which case follower numbers would be important, or is to determine sales, in which case a more niche influencer with a high engagement may be an approach to take. Some other areas you may want to consider are lead generation, customer loyalty or audience building.
The other consideration is to understand where the target audience is most likely to be in terms of platforms. Whilst many influencers appear on all, its clear dependent on the sector they will favour one or two. A tech influencer is likely to be on Linkedin or Twitter whereas a beauty and fashion influencer is almost totally on Instagram and Youtube.
THE BENEFIT OF INFLUENCER MARKETING
Influencer marketing happens when someone (an influencer) is involved in a campaign to promote a product or service. It’s an industry now worth close to $15bn and organisations are investing more in influencer marketing and working with influencers than ever before.
Influencer marketing can help
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase social reach
- Develop greater authenticity for a brand
- Allow opportunities for niche brands to prosper
- Create new joint influencer brand collaborations
- Build trust
- Create online brand ambassador and community programmes
- Acquire high quality backlinks
- Create content that can be used for other marketing collateral
- Generate leads and drive sales
- Gain social shares
Find valuable insights on customer behaviour and new brands.
HOW TO FIND INFLUENCERS
Industry and relevant topics – google search
You can search influencers by industry issues that you have a particular interest in e.g., and see who is commenting on social media about those topics. Fundamentally you want to seek a relevant influencer that resonates with your brand. So, if it was all about #sustainablefashion you will want to see the people that have an opinion about this issue. If those people have a sizeable following and recognised as a content creator or Instagram fashion influencer interested in sustainability that could be good match. You can also find out from merely searching top influencers in a typical niche. Someone has done this work already and you can start compiling your influencer list from there. But you can use a range of influencer marketing platforms to help you find these people
There are a number of ways you can reach influencers. First of all, use a google sheet document and record names, social media handles, follower based and average engagement based on their comments on the last 10 posts. This will be the start of your ideal influencer list Rank the quality of the comments and overall aesthetic and any other thoughts around the individual as this will help later with selection. Hashtags is the common way to find influencers through the Instagram Explore page. Similarly with Twitter. Look at the brands followers and the nearest competitors. With Twitter you can pick up who is commenting on engaged conversations. If you have selected a group of influencers that you believe would work with your brand, before you approach them you should start to follow them and engage with the comments, i.e., show an interest in what they are doing. You could create a tweet and tag your ideal influencers with the words. Looking for influencers to launch an exciting new clothing brand. When you are ready to approach them think about the communication style. Influencers get approached all the time and are gifted a lot of products so getting their attention can be a challenge. You want to pique their interest so they respond and therefore talk to them about what you hope to do and the value you will bring them through a potential collaboration. The detail can come when they respond, but don’t be put off as 65% don’t respond to outreach replies. My suggestion is always to find a way to build a relationship, you will get more from the partnership this way. Another consideration is how might you reward an influencer, what’s important to them is
- Financial compensation for stories, posts or content creation
- Something unique or exclusive that they can share with their followers
- A discount code for them to share with the followers
- A commission payment for sales generated
- A collaboration with a new product launch
Dependent on your brand location you may to reach out to “local Influencers” so the location search will be very important. This could be relevant for a restaurant or a boutique shop. Charities often connect with local influencers to come to their shops for example.
A social media, talent or influencer marketing dedicated agency
There are numerous influencer agencies and marketing agencies on the market and they act as a conduit between the brand and the influencer. They will have done all the vetting and helped shape the campaign and will execute it seamlessly. With the level of experience in these agencies, even though there are fees involved, this is a perfect route to consider. The agency will take the brief from the client, put forward influencer names that may work with such a campaign and reach out to them to check that they are interested in a potential collaboration then once agreement is made a contract is drawn up and the campaign executed. The agency will also look at all the metrics to make sure the campaign delivers against the goals that were set. Good agencies would be Open Influence, Whalar, Takumi, The Corner to name a few
An influencer marketing platform
There are a number of sourcing tools that can help you find influencers based on a set criteria and this could be all sorts of metrics that you want. These tools are now very sophisticated and allow you to select based on subject types, audience size, demographic of follower base, gender type, age profile and so much more. There are various types, a discovery platform which is largely a sourcing pool that you manage. The other is a full-service campaign management platform where the whole campaign can be managed from briefing, sourcing and selection, through to contracting, execution and with analytics built in as well. Its worth well having a demo with one or two of them at least to see if there is a fit.