Finding the right social media influencers for your brand is the most challenging role on the marketing team.
Brands are constantly looking for the best way to find new customers, and influencer marketing can be a great way to find more people who could be interested in your products.
The right influencer has the potential to generate huge sales and brand awareness for long-term customers. On the other hand, the wrong influencer has the potential to steal your marketing budget and make the marketing manager look foolish.
I’ve been in both spots…the latter is not fun, but it was a learning experience.
With so many social platforms and accounts in the world today, how do you ensure that you find the best influencers that are right for your brand?
The answer is a combination of the right tools, experience, and negotiation skills. The execution can be a demanding experience for even veteran marketers.
There is gold out there just waiting to be found. The right influencer can help get your message across to an engaged audience that needs your product.
In this post, we'll go over what it means to find top influencers for your brand, how they work with brands, and some tips on how to find these brand advocates.
What is an influencer?
Influencer marketers are those who own a blog, accounts on social media platforms, or YouTube channels and are interested in working with brands.
Influencers share their personal opinions about different brands with their audience, whether it's cooking videos or how they use a particular software.
You may only think of Instagram influencers or YouTubers as those who have one million followers, but they aren't the only influencers bringing high value to brands.
Another type of influencer is micro-influencers, which are those who have anywhere from 500-5,000 followers on social networks or their blogs.
They might not be as well-known but they still carry influence with their audience and are worth a look, too!
The reason micro-influencers can be successful is due to their personal connection with their followers.
Micro-influencers are more likely to post about an experience they've had with a brand or company in order for people to understand why they find value in that product. On top of that, these influencers are more likely to work on a commission basis or a small upfront sponsorship and hybrid deal.
When finding ideal influencers for your brand, it’s important to evaluate things beyond vanity metrics, such as the number of followers. Instead, analyze their engagement and determine how engaged their followers are.
For example, an influencer with 5,000 followers but an extremely high engagement rate will likely be more valuable than one with 5 million followers and a low engagement rate (or worse, the wrong audience).
What is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing is the practice of working with social media influencers or bloggers to promote a product, service, or brand.
For example, influencer marketers can sometimes be referred to as affiliate marketers and can be responsible for writing posts on topics like on the best affiliate marketing courses.
Another common method of influencer marketing is by sharing tutorials and product placements on YouTube. These influencers will often ask for upfront sponsorship money to pay for their time and costs of making high-quality videos. But savvy affiliate managers know that Youtubers will likely negotiate for affiliate commissions if there is good money to be made. No one is better at this than my buddy Free Tech, who starts all his videos with a dad joke.
Influencer marketing is more targeted than traditional forms of advertising like print ads and TV commercials as it focuses on specific demographics across various platforms (including YouTube Instagram, and Facebook).
Benefits of influencer marketing.
Now that you understand a bit more about influencer marketing, let’s dive into the benefits of influencer marketing and how your brand can benefit from it.
1. Enhances brand awareness and the ability to reach your target audience, fast.
The prime benefit of influencer marketing is having someone else promote your products and services via social media marketing, which can spread the word faster than any other form of advertising.
Just think of it like borrowing someone else's audience and you get a shortcut to the front of the line (or ideally, their pockets).
2. Influencer marketing can save on advertising costs.
With influencer marketing, you're typically not paying as much per advertisement as it's only one person who has agreed to share information about your business.
The alternative would be hiring an agency to run Google AdWords or Facebook Ads where you have to pay thousands each month just for keywords!
Instead, you can operate on a performance-based model and pay influencers a commission whenever someone uses their referral link.
3. Assists with content marketing efforts.
Influencers can provide a great way of obtaining fresh and engaging content.
Whether you have a content marketing team of zero or ten, it helps to have influencers aid your content marketing efforts. Think of it as always having fresh ideas brought to the table from expert content creators. Not only that, but you can generate various types of content using influencers from blogs to social, podcasts, videos and webinars, and more.
The best part is that influencers likely know your target audience just as well (if not better) than you do, so it can also help take a lot of guesswork out of the equation when it comes to figuring out how to resonate with your target audience.
How to find influencers: 3 tips to find the right influencers for your brand.
When it comes to finding influencers for your brand, some things are a no-brainer like knowing who you are trying to influence.
However, other key components to successfully finding influencers may take some additional research and discussion internally.
Let's dive into a few best tips for finding the right influencers for your brand.
1. Know who you’re trying to target or influence before getting started.
Knowing what types of customers you are trying to target or influence is the first (and hopefully obvious step) when it comes to finding influencers.
Without knowing who you are trying to reach, it's impossible to find the appropriate influencers to help you reach your target audience.
After all, you don’t want to just find influencers, you want to find the right influencers.
2. Decide what type of influencer campaign you want to run.
The next step after knowing who you’re trying to reach is determining the type of influencer campaign to best connect with target influencers.
There are different types of influencer campaigns that will vary depending on which platforms you're targeting and which platforms the influencer's audience is on.
For example, with bloggers, you might ask to run a guest blog campaign where you contribute to their blog for exposure.
Other types of influencer campaigns range from giving gifts to influencers in exchange for mentions and posts to paying for sponsored content to share your content or create user-generated content for your brand.
You can also share affiliate and discount codes with influencers so they can earn money each time their followers make a purchase or offer discounts to their audience. Oftentimes, brands share discount codes with what they consider brand ambassadors.
At the end of the day, there's no right or wrong influencer marketing campaign, but you will need to determine the right type for your goals.
3. Find influencers related to your industry or niche.
Now you know who you are targeting and the type of influencer campaign you want to run.
Next, you need to find influencers related to your industry or niche.
For example, you wouldn't have a recipe blogger promoting camping tools to their audience, would you?
When deciding how to find influencers in your niche, start by looking at any famous or well-known figures who are already known for working with businesses within your industry.
To begin your influencer search, start by researching relevant hashtags or set up a Google Alert to get notified to see who is producing content around target keywords.
Once you’ve found the big influencers, scan their social media profiles to find potential micro-influencers and other relevant influencers to work with.
5 tools to help find influencers.
So you've got all of the above nailed and are ready to start finding influencers…
Where to begin?
Finding influencers, especially in a saturated marketplace, may not always be the easiest task.
Particularly when trying to reach bigger influencers, you're going to need a few tools to be able to get through to them. Luckily, there’s plenty of both free tools and paid to get the job done.
Let’s take a look at a few influencer marketing tools to help make your job (and life) easier.
1. Grovia Partner Engine.
The fine folks at Grovia have created a logical and affordable solution to help affiliate managers find solid content affiliates.
Recruiting affiliate partners is not an easy task, but Grovia has built a tool designed to recruit partners that attract ready-to-buy consumers. The partner engine prioritizes affiliates that attract visitors with high purchase intent and high-traffic content.
You can browse your target audience with granular search phrases. For example, if your company is a Mailchimp alternative, you could search hyper-specific phrases like “best email software for Shopify store” to reveal highly targeted partnership opportunities.
The Grovia Partner Engine will not only find relevant sites, but it will also gather contact info and uncover the email address for every partner you discover. Are you looking to find influencers? This is one of the best influencer marketing platforms that has you covered with a large influencer database that can move the needle for your program.
Sign up and use the code FREEMONTH to earn instant credits and try it for free.
Tokfluence is a popular Tiktok and Youtube channel analysis platform to help brands find influencers. The platform allows brands to successfully search, filter, and analyze influencer profiles across a wide variety of categories. Their influencer lists boast over 10 million+ accounts with up-to-date contact info, Tokfluence boasts one of the largest databases in the industry.
Tokfluence helps brands prioritize influencer profiles based on data analysis and audience insight. It comes with quality check features to ensure the influencer is not buying subscribers. Brands can check demographics and niche-specific metrics to measure influence and brand alignment.
My favorite part of Tokfluence is the ease of the user interface. I find it easy to navigate and find the right contact info. The download contacts feature is absolutely clutch so you can create a large list and put them in drip campaigns.
My second favorite part is the affordability. TokFluence begins at $49/month for small businesses or $25/month when billed annually. Their Business plan or running large-scale campaigns costs $129/month or $65/month when billed annually.
Finding relevant keywords for your niche market can be very challenging. SEMRush makes it easy to find the best keywords and websites that promote your desired message.
As a tool for finding influencers, a huge benefit of SEMRush is their quick audit Chrome extension button that gives you a quick overview of any website's analytics.
They also provide an authority score to each website so you can quickly figure out if an influencer's website has value or potential.
For example, above you can see the score of Dustinhowes.com when I was just starting out with my site. You can also use this free website checker to get an SEO performance report.
For finding influencers, I like to start by looking for high-volume keywords related to the product and compile a list of possible partner websites. Using these tools, I can create thousands of viable leads in minutes then begin contacting people.
SEMRush is not a traditional influencer or affiliate tool since it is built for content and SEM teams. However, anyone looking to find and recruit influencers will also find it highly useful.
Price: Free Trial for 7 days, then $99 per month
Chances are when trying to recruit influencers, you've come across a dream influencer at some point but had one problem…
You were unable to find their email address in order to contact them. In times like these, it helps to have a tool like Hunter handy.
Hunter allows you to find email addresses instantly. You can use Hunter‘s Chrome extension to quickly scrape a website for email addresses.
Hunter offers a free plan with 25 email searches and 50 verification credits per month, and paid subscriptions for those with greater needs.
Not to mention, they also have full email campaign features to allow you to scale your outreach with just a couple of clicks.
- Free for 25 email searches and 50 verification credits.
- $34 per month for 500 email searches and full email campaign access.
If you search for influencers takes you to LinkedIn, Octopus is the tool you need. I personally use Octopus to expand my network on Linkedin. It is very cost-efficient at just $7 per month and can expand your reach to potential influencers.
One of my favorite tactics is to find any 2nd or 3rd connection with “influencer” in their profile. I create a list of thousands of potential new connections and use Octopus to reach out to a few hundred per day and present my best pitch of why we should be connected.
Just remember that giving something of value is important during this outreach and think about “what's in it for them” to respond to you.
Price: Starting at $7 per month.
3 services to help find influencers.
Through the years of selling my online course on affiliate management, I’ve found that people are very capable of doing affiliate manager work, but they just don’t want to.
Luckily there are agencies out that know how to find influencers and help your program grow. Here are a select few that I trust.
Grovia not only has a great tool, but they also have an amazing affiliate recruitment agency that does the outreach to partners on your behalf.
They build hit lists for high-value content sites and influencers. Then the team seeks out the right contact and creates a catered message to get their attention. Negotiation is key with influencers, and the Grovia team knows the art of negotiating terms down to make partnership magic happen.
B2B and SAAS affiliate programs are their bread and butter, but they also found great success in retail products. Check out their case study here.2.
Finding the right influencers and their contact info is BY FAR the most time-consuming process of recruiting partners. But the folks at Fourgrowth have got this process covered.
They find every affiliate in your industry and any adjacent industry that sells to the same customers. Leads include websites, names, emails, social profiles, and DR / traffic estimates. Check out the sample of data mining that they do for each client.
This is also a very affordable option; check out their pricing packages here.
If you would like more info, fill out this form for a customized 15 lead sample of partners that are right for your program.
Afluencer is a platform that helps businesses partner with successful influencers and also allows influencers an opportunity to team up with brands of their choice.
This leading social media publisher features “influencer spotlights” that bring exposure to both influencers and the brands they represent.
Here are a few key features and services of Afluencer:
- A database of 547 brands and over 5K pre-vetted influencers
- Advanced influencer profile and bio-data; key metrics surrounding the influencer’s collaborations and past engagements help brands estimate an influencer’s reach
- VIP features include campaign management and optimization, custom video production, email introductions to influencers, and more
Pricing starts at just $49 per month for access to the platform. They have a database of thousands of influencers that are ready to collaborate on a sponsorship, affiliate, or hybrid deal.
Wrap it up!
Finding influencers is easy. However, getting their attention and negotiating a mutually beneficial partnership is an art.
To find the right influencer, you need to find a hidden superstar who aligns with your brand identity, values, and goals.
Once you've found this diamond in the rough, it's time to use the tips provided in this post to score their attention and negotiate a successful partnership. Good luck out there and happy prospecting!
Very informative. Thank you for sharing it!!