I know you’ve heard about influencer marketing.
It’s the buzzword of the moment, and one of the biggest marketing trends of 2018 for good reason.
It’s likely something you’re willing to try, but not sure where to start. Don’t worry – In this post, I’ll show you how.
What are Influencers?
Marketing influencers are people with a large, active following in a particular niche.
You know the ones.
They constantly show up on in your news feed, garnering hundreds – if not thousands – of likes and comments on each post they share.
Often, a popular influencer is a celebrity and garners a major following from outside the digital world.
But not all influencers are celebrities; in fact, most are niche industry leaders who have found a way to connect and amplify their message to those willing to engage.
And that’s really the key to being an influencer. It’s about more than just a large following, it’s about having an engaged following. What sets influencers apart is their connection to their fans.
As you might have guessed, most of the influencers found their spotlight on social media.
How to Find Influencers: First, Why Are They Important to Marketers?
Because their word goes a long way.
Influencers have put the time and effort into creating a relationship with their friends that most marketers only wish they had.
Because of that, an endorsement from an influencer is akin to a recommendation from a close friend.
Also, an influencer’s opinion has come to be trusted and respected by their following, and if they recommend a particular product or service, it really resonates with their fan base.
It’s kind of like high school popularity. If the popular kids are doing it, the other kids will as well, for no other reason than that it’s cool.
It’s a proven theory – 90% of consumers put their faith in peer recommendations.
Influencers are the popular kids. Their fans are the other kids. You do the math.
Speaking of math, let’s look at a few other numbers:
- 74% of people turn to social networks for guidance on purchase decisions.
- 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions.
- 40% of people say they’ve purchased an item online after seeing it used by an influencer on Instagram, Twitter, Vine, or YouTube.
- Interest in influencer marketing has risen more than 90x from 2013 to the present.
- 84% of marketers utilize influencer marketing campaign tactics
- Over 80% of marketers find influencer marketing campaigns effective
Beyond sheer popularity, influencers offer marketers another incredible benefit: excellent value for the money.
Compared to other means of advertising and publicity, connecting with and securing influencer endorsements can be less costly – and have more of an impact in the end. Reportedly, only 33% of consumers trust advertisements. That doesn’t look so good compared to that 90% who trust peer recommendations.
Do Some Industries Benefit More From Influencer Marketing?
One of the best things about influencer marketing? It’s universal.
That’s because regardless of your industry, there will always be someone influential in your industry.
Everything from finances to medical fields has well-known and respected thought leaders. There’s always the one person who cuts through the noise and has opinions and recommendations people listen to.
Those are the influencers. That said, different industries will do better on different platforms.
For example, Instagram and YouTube are absolutely ideal for anyone in the fashion, fitness, health and wellness, or beauty business (seriously, open Instagram now, you’ll see them).
Other industries may do better to find thought leaders through podcasts, etc.
Good news is, they’re out there. You just have to find them.
How to Find Influencers in Your Niche
I know, you’re probably ready to get this influencer strategy up and running.
And that’s a good start. But before you can reap the rewards, you have to find the influencers.
You can about this a couple of ways. You can opt to do the work yourself, or employ the use of a service to work as the middleman.
How to Find Influencers: Influencer Marketing Platforms
With the rise in popularity of influencer marketing, it’s not surprising that many new companies and services have jumped out of the woodwork to make the process easier.
Influencer marketing platforms are designed to connect brands to content creators (influencers).
Generally, they work with a database of influencers – some with hundreds, some with thousands – and connect brands to those influencers based on industry, audience relevancy, etc.
These are all a little different, and some cater more to specific industries and social platforms.
For example: RewardStyle and LikeToKnowIt. RewardStyle is an invitation-only platform that currently works with 1 million global brands.
Working with rewardStyle costs a flat fee, and they manage the campaign at every stage, from initial connection with an influencer to campaign execution.
Its offshoot company, LikeToKnowIt, is a social-bases shopping service that allows customers to purchase what their favorite influencers are wearing.
As you might guess, these particularly platforms are geared towards Instagram users and works primarily with brands in the fashion, beauty, lifestyle, home, and travel industries.
With the sheer number of platforms available, almost any brand can find one to suit their needs. It will just require a little homework to find the right fit and get going.
How to Find Influencers: Find Them Yourself
Of course, you can always do it the old-fashioned way.
By that, I mean finding relevant influencers yourself, without the aid of a middleman and their database.
While this route may require a little more work, it will likely help you find influencers more appropriate for your exact niche and model – which will pay off in the end.
So where to start? Social media, of course.
Assuming you have a good handle on your target audience, the social platforms they prefer, and the types of content that resonate most with them, you can use tools online to find the best influencers.
Remember: You’re not just looking for large followings, you’re looking for engaged followings. Keep an eye on numbers of likes, shares, and comments before deciding who to target.
With that in mind, you can use a tool like BuzzSumo to find influencers.
To start, navigate to the site and type in a keyword or topic related to your business. The results pulled will be the most popular articles and content related to that topic.
From there, click “view sharers” and average retweet to find the top sharers. Click on a sharer. If they regularly share content in that niche, and regularly get a lot of engagement with their content, they might be a good influencer to consider.
To narrow it down even further, you can sort results by influencers, bloggers, companies, etc.
I’ll say it again, but you want to focus on the total number of shares per article, domain authority, and retweet ratio to find those with the highest engagement.
How to Find Influencers: Engagement is Key
Once you’ve identified the influencers you’d like to partner with, you’re almost good to go.
But before you start emailing them with your great collaboration ideas, it’s best to let them get to know you a little bit.
Do that by engaging with them on the channels they’re best known for. Start following their channels and interacting when you have relevant information to add.
Really pay attention to the kind of content they share to make sure it’s a good fit, and after a while, include links to your content as well (only if it’s highly relevant to the specific post at hand).
If they have a blog, read it. Comment. Share. Connect with them on LinkedIn and join their Facebook Groups. You want to be visible to the influencer so that when you do go for the ask, you aren’t a complete stranger.
This step will take time. But that’s okay – all the best relationships do.
How to Find Influencers: The Finishing Touches
The next step is arguably the most important.
As you engage and learn more about various influencers, you’ll want to begin to form a strategy.
To do so, you first have to know your own goals and how a particular influencer can help you achieve them.
For example, if they run a popular blog and you’re new to the industry, approaching them about guest posting could be extremely beneficial to your business.
On the other hand, if you run a home good store, finding someone on Instagram and asking for a product review or spotlight will help further your brand.
And remember, there needs to be something in it for them too. Really take the time to think about any incentives you can offer, or how your partnership will be mutually beneficial.
And finally, a little thick skin is a good thing here. It may take reaching out to dozens of influencers before you find a match. But all you really need is one.
Get Started With Influencer Marketing
Hopefully, the process of finding influencers is sounding a little less daunting.
It will take some work, and it won’t happen overnight. But is it worth it? I’ll let the stats listed above speak for themselves.