Influencer marketing has evolved into an essential tool for brands and businesses to use for their marketing efforts. Running influencer campaigns is a great way to boost your digital presence in the content age.
But how can you find relevant social media influencers to work with on your campaigns? How do you choose collaborators that suit your brand values and vision?
This blog will share five techniques on how to find social media influencers to partner with. It will also highlight tips to keep in mind when selecting the right people and reaching out to them.
Content is an integral part of how consumers make their shopping decisions. We are constantly inundated with digital content on social media, other online platforms, through broadcasting and print, and more.
Although broadcasting and print used to dominate the media and content industry, digital content has become the main player today. Social media platforms are now integral tools for business marketing and the influencer marketing industry has grown tremendously in this space.
But why is influencer marketing so popular? Well, social media influencers give brands and businesses direct access to audiences they want to reach.
The whole idea of an influencer is that they are social media figures that have an impact on the community they have cultivated online. Their followers respect them and see them as key opinion leaders in their niche.
When brands work with influencers, they tap into their followings. This can help increase brand awareness and reach, grow your brand’s social media following, expand your digital presence, and more.
It can also have tangible business benefits like:
To learn more, see our article on the full Benefits Of Influencer Marketing.
There are so many influencers online that it can be hard to wade through the masses to find what you’re looking for.
According to Forbes, in July, more than 50 million people globally identified as influencers or content creators. And these numbers grow daily as people recognize content creation as a viable income stream.
So where do you start sorting through these numbers for relevant social media influencers?
Here are five ways to find social media influencers to collaborate with.
A good place to start when trying to find influencers that could work well in your field is to check out your competitors’ pages.
Keeping an eye on what others are doing in your industry ensures you stay relevant. You can pick up on what you like about their social media influencer collaborations and what needs improvement.
First, see who they are working with. Which influencers have they picked for their campaigns and how did the partnership fair? Have a look at the engagement (likes, shares, comments) on the influencer’s content.
If you find a social media influencer you like from competitors’ collaborations, it doesn’t mean you should use the exact same one. You can, however, check out the influencers’ circle and content to seek similar options. Often, social media influencers collaborate with one another or may engage with each other online.
A second way to find influencers through your competitors’ social media channels is to go through their followers and mentions.
Social media influencers often follow brands they want to work with and tag them in content. This is a good way to find influencers that are already creating the kind of content you want.
Similar to looking through your competitors’ social media accounts, your brand’s accounts can be a treasure chest for your influencer quest.
Even better, if an influencer is already following you or tagging you, it means they’re trying to get your attention. They would like to work with your brand.
If they’re already mentioning your brand on their platform, then they already have audiences engaging with your brand. The interest is already there which may lead to higher success for your campaign.
Our third method for finding social media influencers for your campaign is to use hashtag searches. Hashtags categorize content according to different posts and accounts using that hashtag.
When you’ve decided on a theme for your campaign, use relevant hashtags with specific keywords to search for influencers. This will help you sort through the social media platform and find influencers and some of the top-performing content according to your theme.
You should also use social listening tools to see accounts that use your branded hashtags. If you find content or accounts with big followings using your hashtags, this may be a collaborative opportunity you want to jump onto.
Social media channels aren’t the only options for you to find influencers for your brand. A good old Google search can also help you out.
Again, it’s about using relevant and specific keywords to narrow down the list. Instead of just typing ‘food influencer’, for example, you can include location, influencer category, and social media platform.
You could try ‘vegan food nano-influencers in New York’. Or add specific social platforms, i.e: top sports Instagram influencer in South Carolina.
The fantastic thing about Google is that you’ll get SEO-ranked results. This means your results are already organized according to relevance. So, you get to choose from influencers that appear prominently in people’s searches.
You can also use Google to find social media influencers for your brand by searching for global top influencers lists.
Influencer lists can be convenient checklists to work from, giving you a starting point from which to cross out unsuitable candidates.
Last but, of course, not least, are influencer marketing platforms. With the advent of influencer marketing, these platforms have developed to make the influencer-brand relationship easier to navigate and manage.
An influencer marketing tool offers you various methods for your social media influencer search. For example, you can tailor your influencer search by filtering it to find people more suitable for your brand.
Filter according to your budget, the influencer’s followers, industry, age, and more. This helps you identify influencers that meet your requirements easily and in one place.
Platforms like trendHERO include features like:
It’s like an influencer marketplace where you can shop for the exact influencer you want all from one dashboard.
Sure, now you know the tools to use in order to find the right social media influencer. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind during influencer identification. These can help you decide ‘yay’ or ‘nay’ for a potential influencer, depending on whether they meet these requirements or not.
How much are you able to make available for the campaign? Knowing what you can afford to pay the influencer you work with will guide your decision on who to work with.
Low-budget campaigns will limit you to nano-influencers and micro-influencers. Higher budgets can afford you macro influencers right up to celebrity influencers.
No matter where you fall, you can still run a fantastic influencer marketing campaign. Cost doesn’t equal quality in this game.
Micro-influencers, for example, experience the most engagement despite not having the largest following. And many of them, as smaller social media figures, are willing to collaborate in exchange for products and discounts.
If you have a big budget to play with, you could even consider working with several smaller influencers instead of one celebrity or mega influencer. This multiplies the potential benefits and ROI of your campaign, including reaching more audiences – getting you a bang for your buck.
The fundamentals of good branding and marketing lie in knowing your target audience. You cannot choose relevant influencers if you don’t know the people you’re trying to reach.
Understand your target audience, how they interact online, their favorite social media channels, what kind of content they enjoy, etc.
With these insights, you can gauge if an influencer can work with your brand by seeing who the influencer’s audience is. Observe their audience demographics to see if they match your customer profile.
You also learn where their support is strongest. Should you be working with Instagram influencers or someone more active for Twitter audiences?
An important factor to consider when it comes to social media audiences is that the follower count is not the end-all.
Some influencer accounts can have many followers and poor engagement. Others even buy fake followers!
It’s best to use the engagement rate and other metrics to guide you on whether that 100K following is an active one or just a facade. Only real followers engage!
Narrative, storytelling, design, and other components make up good content creation. But they are also the elements that comprise brilliant branding. So, when deciding if you want to work with an influencer, your branding and messaging need to be in harmony with theirs.
Your chosen social media influencer’s content needs to complement what your brand stands for so they can integrate your demands into their creation process seamlessly.
The best influencers match your style, digital tone, use of language, etc. This way, the content you work on together isn’t jarring for their audience.
There are many ways to conduct an influencer campaign. Discount codes, giveaways, sponsored content… the list goes on. (See some awesome examples here: Influencer Marketing Examples)
But not all social media influencers do well with all approaches.
Some influencers are brilliant with content creation while others thrive at getting others amped about discounts and giveaways.
Your approach also depends on what platform you want to use. Instagram influencers, for instance, are often better at video and visual content than Twitter influencers.
Try to identify potential influencers’ strengths and use them to your advantage. Or pick the influencers based on their talents. Either way, playing into their individual strong points through your campaign approach will benefit the collaboration.
It’s easy to overlook but the length of your campaign matters when choosing influencers. Are you trying to bring the influencer on as an official brand ambassador, which could be a months-long partnership? Or are you running a short-term influencer marketing campaign?
The longer the campaign, the more important it becomes for your chosen influencer to meld well with your brand. They almost become the face of your brand as people become more familiar with your relationship.
This requires them to embody your brand values, vision, and messaging more intrinsically. It also has an impact on their other partnerships with potential competitors as they become synonymous with your brand.
Once you’ve found the one, it’s all about nurturing a relationship. Influencer outreach is about establishing a connection with the influencer and making it clear you’re interested in them.
While it’s important to set up professional boundaries right from the first outreach email or communication, you also want to be approachable.
Be friendly, open, and frank. Ask questions to get to know them, like asking for their media kit, and tell them why you’d like to work with them. Pitch yourself but don’t be too salesy.
Influencer marketing platforms also have tons of tools and tips to help you manage your influencer outreach. Check them out here.
Finding the right social media influencers for your brand to co-create with isn’t easy. There are many factors to consider including budget, audience demographics, your brand’s niche, and compatibility. You also want to work with targeted influencers that have quality and engaged followers and a steady engagement rate.
The five techniques discussed in this blog can make the process so much easier. You can use them to enhance brand collaborations and run social media marketing campaigns that cement your brand voice in a particular industry. You can also use them for all social media platforms.
Finding the best influencers is only the first step on your campaign journey, but an important one for connecting with potential customers and making lifelong creative relationships. It all comes down to the people on your team, after all!