The term influencer comes with some cultural baggage—which is likely why many in the B2B space use “thought leader” instead.
If there’s a niche within a community, influencers are calling the shots and driving the trends. For brands, this means getting in with the right influencer can expose your brand to a whole new pool of potential fans.
In this article, you” learn how to target the most relevant influencers in your niche and reach out the right way.
What You’ll Learn:
- What is an Influencer?
- Benefits of Influencer Marketing
- 10 Tips to Find Social Media Influencers
- 11 Tools to Find Influencers
- The Process to Reach Out to Influencers
- FAQs About Influencer Marketing
What is an Influencer?
An influencer is someone who has the power to impact the purchasing decisions of their audience based on their knowledge, authority, insight, or even a certain “cool factor.”
Influencers span a wide range of roles, including:
- Industry experts
- Amazon influencers
- Self-help gurus
- Fitness experts
Influencers are highly active on one or more platforms—most notably social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and now, TikTok. In some niches, particularly B2Bs, influencers might have a popular blog or LinkedIn page. It’s important to note that influencers are valuable because of the unique relationship they have with their audience.
Unlike traditional celebrities (who can act as influencers), influencers typically find fame by creating and sharing content on social platforms while engaging with the online community. Because of this, influencers appear more accessible and authentic than pop stars and actors and feel more like a friend than an advertiser.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is an advertising strategy where brands partner with industry leaders to improve brand recognition, awareness, and loyalty by leveraging that person’s influence over a specific audience.
Done right, influencer marketing is a powerful strategy that works because of the trust between the influencer and their audience. Influencer mentions function much like a recommendation from a friend—but at scale.
Types of Influencers By Size
Before we get into the meat of our blog you must understand the different types of influencers. There are four main types you can turn to based on the size of their audience.
Mega Influencers (1 million+ followers)
These are the biggest influencers, and they fall more into the category of celebrities and stars than influencers. These could include everyone from famous actors to big sports figures who go on social media to engage audiences.
Unlike the other types of influencers in this list, mega influencers tend to have gained fame and grown their audiences outside of social media channels through other channels.
Also, they don’t tend to have as much direct influence on audiences as other influencers, but they can be the key to reaching millions of people with influencer marketing.
Macro Influencers (100,000 to 1 million followers)
Macro influencers are a step below mega influencers, with large followings without the kind of reach of celebrity influencers. These influencers tend to have built a reputation and following via the internet and social media.
Relatively famous YouTubers and vloggers could fall under this category, for example. Also, unlike mega influencers, these individuals often focus more on a particular niche with a narrower audience, which can make for better targeting.
Micro Influencers (1,000 to 100,000 followers)
These are some what smaller influencers, but they still have a fairly large following within a specific niche. Audiences often follow these influencers due to their perceived expertise in a particular subject matter.
For instance, these influencers could be trusted experts in tech, fashion, the entertainment industry, or other areas that attract certain niche audiences. In your influencer search, you might just find that these influencers are ideal if you have a reasonable budget but don’t need the reach of bigger influencers.
Nano Influencers (<1,000 followers)
When finding influencers, you could also turn to nano influencers who have smaller but loyal followings. They may not have as much reach, but their audiences tend to trust them and their opinions, and they tend to appeal to local audiences.
For example, a prominent figure in a specific community might have a following as a nano influencer on Facebook or Instagram. They often have high levels of engagement and come across as genuine, making their endorsements and reviews all the more effective.
Working with a tight budget, these influencers can make the most sense, and you can spread your campaign out among multiple relevant nano influencers to expand your reach.
Depending on the audience you want to target and the reach you’re going for, you can determine which is right for your influencer strategy.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
Many brands are flocking to influencer marketing – and for good reason. This modern strategy for building a customer-friendly brand has several notable advantages. Benefits of influencer marketing include:
- Instant Credibility: Influencers can help a brand “back up” certain positive claims that could otherwise cause doubt. Influencers make brands seem more authentic.
- Boosted Brand Awareness: Getting the word out becomes easier with more people willing to talk about and share their experiences.
- Unique Types of Content: When you use influencer marketing, you’ll get different content that speaks to different audiences. This helps create diverse marketing messages.
- High Value to Current Customers: Influencers can help brands resonate with customers who already know and love the product or service. Over time, this can generate increased support.
- The Ability to Target New Audiences: As you work to find influencers for your campaigns, pursue new markets and their respective audiences. Some audiences might not find you as easily through other channels, making influencers the ideal method for connecting with these elusive markets.
- Valuable Feedback on Products: Another advantage of influencer marketing is getting real insight into your products or service offerings. Influencers can illustrate what kinds of features they and their audiences want from your offerings along with any pain points they’ve experienced with them. Using this information, you can continually improve product development and marketing strategies alike.
How to Find Social Media Influencers: 10 Tips
We’ve covered the “what” and the “why” behind teaming up with industry tastemakers. In these next few sections, I’ll cover how to find social media influencers.
Understandably, this process can be overwhelming—Where do you start? Who is the best partner for your brand? How will they help you reach your marketing goals?
Honestly, it’s a lot to consider.
To help you out, here are 11 steps toward building a solid foundation for your influencer marketing strategy.
1. Find Your Audience When Targeting Influencers
The major benefit of working with influencers isn’t just getting in front of more people, it’s getting in front of the right people.
An influencer with a million followers won’t do you much good if their core fan base is teen girls, and yours is the savvy B2B buyer.
So, before you approach influencers, you’ll need to define your target audience.
- Who are your best customers?
- Who can you help with your product/service?
Also, know what kinds of influencers are popular in your industry. What influencers are targeting your particular niche and what are your competitors using?
As you do some market research, you might also find influencers who are targeting particular audiences or audience segments you haven’t targeted before. In these cases, you can build connections with new markets in your influencer search when you might otherwise neglect valuable audiences.
2. Define Your Goals
Okay, you’ve got a clear picture of who you’re trying to reach.
Your next move is to define your core objectives, which will serve as the guiding force behind your campaign.
I like to start with the end in mind, then work backward to determine which steps will get me to that point.
As with any marketing strategy, goals might include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Build a recognizable brand identity
- Reach new audiences
- Boost engagement
- Drive website traffic
- Generate Ads
- Create a loyal customer base
- Increase conversions
- Build quality backlinks
Clearly defining your goals early on allows you to build a focused strategy, determining the campaign style, who you’ll work with, and how you’d like to approach this partnership.
3. Decide What Kind of Campaign You’d Like to Run
After you’ve solidified your main objective, you’ll want to consider what type of campaign will deliver the best possible results.
This will also help you determine who you’ll reach out to, based on their experiences and success with that type of campaign.
Here’s a quick look at some of the most common campaign types, each serving a slightly different purpose.
Sponsored Content: Sponsored content is probably the best-known type of influencer marketing. Typically, brands pay influencers to promote a product to their audience. You might use this strategy to increase visibility, awareness, or as part of your loyalty strategy.
Guest Posting: Guest posting probably isn’t the first thing you think of when you hear the term, “influencer marketing,” but it’s a great way to boost your SEO, get some high-value backlinks, and yes, benefit from someone else’s influence.
Affiliate Programs: If your goal is driving sales, consider looking for influencers to promote your product to your audience—if you sell on Amazon, look for influencers taking part in their program, as the platform offers the most seamless checkout process on the planet, it’s a quick win.
Brand Ambassadors: Brand ambassador campaigns are used to drive awareness and traffic through regular mentions and community engagement. Ambassadors might drive participation in UGC campaigns, share content from your site, or showcase new products or features. Typically, brand ambassadors are long-term partners, which allows you to build relationships with them and become familiar with their audience.
Content or Product Collaborations: Collaborations are a mainstay in the fashion, fitness, and beauty industries. Influencers might work with a brand to create a limited edition product, then promote it to their fans—allowing brands to reach more potential customers and drive sales.
B2B can use this type of arrangement as well. You might co-author a report with an influencer or company with a complementary solution or unique insights your audience will find valuable. Or, you might try running a webinar, hosting a podcast, or developing e-learning courses.
4. Find Out Who Has Sway In Your Industry
These last few steps are about identifying your audience and what you want to accomplish. Your next move is tracking down the right people for the job.
You can find influencers using several approaches, including:
- A quick Google search—Enter keywords related to your niche and see who turn up at the top of the SERPs. Try searching for different terms to see if any names consistently outperform their peers.
- Industry conference websites—Look at any trade show, summit, or conference and you’ll find a list of speakers, their titles, and short bios. From there, you can check out their social media accounts, YouTube, and, blog to see if there’s an opportunity there.
- Social listening tools—Tools like SproutSocial allow marketers to identify top-performing content and niche influencers. While most of these solutions are paid, they’ll save time by streamlining the research process and serving up engagement stats and audience insights.
5. How to Find Instagram Influencers
Finding influencers on Instagram follows a similar approach to identifying your industry’s big names. While an influencer marketing tool will offer the most insights into who calls the shots on IG, you can do some manual research.
- Check out your followers—do any have large followings? Who else do they follow?
- Search hashtags—look at trending topics, branded mentions, and general terms related to your products. Look for #ad or #sponsored posts to see who might work with you.
- Get a good look at your competitors’ pages. Who follows the competition? Or tags them in posts? Are they working with influencers? If so, what do they post? What kinds of engagement are they getting?
6. How to Find Micro-Influencers
You have a choice when targeting influencers: go after the giants (think celebrities, industry experts), or the smaller fish. While it might be tempting to chase the big fish based on those huge follower accounts, it’s probably not the best use of your time.
If you’re new to influencer marketing, your best bet is to start with the micro or even nano-influencers. Not only are they more likely to read your message and accept your proposal, they often are more engaged with their audience.
According to one study, influencers with 1000 followers saw 85% more engagement than those with 100,000 followers–in part because that smaller community allows for a more personal interaction with fans.
You can find micro-influencers using a few different approaches, including:
- Look toward industry blogs and check out the authors’ online footprint to see if approaching them for a partnership makes sense. Another idea is to check out who top writers in your niche are following on your target channels.
- Search “#brandname” to find people already mentioning your brand. While this may be a small group, they’ve already shown interest in your product without prompting.
- Search trending hashtags on Instagram and Twitter to ID micro-influencers generating engagement in niche communities. Use your target keywords as a starting point to see which accounts are trending around those core topics.
- Use influencer databases. Tools like Traackr, Hypr, and CreatorIQ allow you to opt-out of the search process and identify partners based on your criteria and track various metrics, trends, and demographic details.
7. Look For Engagement, Not Numbers
While many influencers have amassed legions of followers, engagement and loyalty are more important than audience size. This means you need to look at the number of shares, retweets, and comments a user gets, rather than the number of followers.
Any social media/social listening tool will take care of this for you, although you can also measure engagement manually by dividing the number of engagements by total followers. According to MobileMarketer, average engagement ranges from 3.6% (for 10k+ followers) to 8.8% (for accounts with fewer than 5k)
8. Take Time to Evaluate Influencer Content
So, I’ve talked a lot about relevance and intent, though mostly in SEO and content marketing, but the same idea extends to your influencer partnerships.
Once you’ve compiled a list of influencer prospects, you’ll want to take the time to thoroughly vet their content. Does it match your brand’s voice? Does it reflect your values? Will it resonate with your audience?
From there, take stock of how they promote other brands they work with. Are they creative and thoughtful or does it look like they’re pasting in copy provided by the brand?
According to a report by MediaKix, brands look at the following criteria to decide which influencers to work with.
9. Develop a System for Measuring Performance
It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to increase awareness, sales, or better SEO performance, you need to establish which KPIs represent success and how you’ll monitor and track your progress.
According to Linqia’s recent influencer marketing report, brands typically measure success based on engagement metrics like shares, likes, and comments, awareness, and impressions–followed by conversions, clicks, and quality.
The report recommends that brands should measure influencer campaigns against all other branded content to ensure that you’re spending marketing dollars wisely.
How to Find Influencers: 11 Tools to Know
Buzzsumo is a social listening platform that allows you to identify trending topics, high-performing content, and content creators with real authority. Additionally, BuzzSumo allows you to check out your competitors to see which strategies work best for them.
- Pro: The tool allows you to do some real in-depth research as you learn how to find influencers, including competitors, content creators, and keyword research.
- Con: The price of BuzzSumo is considerably higher than other tools on the market, but it may be worth it if you have a budget behind your campaigns.
- Pricing: $199 per month for the Content Creation plan to $999 per month for the Enterprise plan.
Traackr is a search engine for finding influencers, managing campaigns, and tracking your performance. All influencer profiles are vetted based on historical performance data and users can use filtering tools and AI recommendations to find prospective partners.
- Pro: One cool feature you get with Traackr is recommended influencer fees depending on the influencer’s engagement rate, which can assist when making a deal with influencers once you reach out to them.
- Con: Navigation on the platform can get a bit confusing due to the wealth of information it contains.
- Pricing: You’ll need to contact sales for pricing details.
Keyhole is a platform that measures hashtag and engagement analytics, allowing users to monitor performance, in real time. The platform also offers influencer discovery, brand monitoring, and market research.
- Pro: Keyhole has a user-friendly dashboard that makes it easy to analyze engagement and hashtags and monitor performance.
- Con: The standard plans for this platform tend to lack helpful features, and there isn’t much room for customization.
- Pricing: An individual plan typically costs $79 per month, with prices going up to $833 per month for an Enterprise plan.
Awario is a social listening tool that helps users identify influencers, find potential clients looking for solutions like yours, and track sentiment across multiple platforms.
- Pro: In addition to standard features, you get access to various advanced features with Awario, including competitive benchmarking and lead monitoring.
- Con: Sentiment analysis can be inaccurate at times, such as labeling neutral comments as either negative or positive.
- Pricing: The cost of this platform starts at $49 per month for the Starter plan and goes up to $399 per month for the Enterprise plan.
Followerwonk is a tool that allows you to identify Twitter influencers, compare profiles to ID audience overlaps, and break your followers into segments–based on influence, activity, demographics, etc. You can also see who your audience follows–which can help you target the right influencers.
- Pro: The tool makes it easy to identify, segment, and benchmark followers.
- Con: The outdated interface could benefit from an upgrade.
- Pricing: Plans range from free to $23 per month for a Target plan and $63 per month for a Multitask plan.
Klear is another influencer search engine that allows you to search for influencers based on platform, category, skill set, which brands they’ve mentioned, etc. It’s great for finding niche influencers or people who have worked with specific brands in the past.
- Pro: It’s highly effective for finding influencers, with some labeling it “Google for influencers.”
- Con: The platform needs an updated search and filtering function.
- Pricing: Info on pricing requires a demo request.
Upfluence is an all-in-one, AI-powered influencer marketing platform that covers everything from the search process to campaign management, outreach, and analytics.
- Pro: Advanced targeting capabilities can help your influencer search by matching you to the right personalities based on your specific needs.
- Con: The platform comes with a slight learning curve.
- Pricing: Contact sales for pricing information.
BuzzStream is essentially a CRM for managing influencer outreach–it tracks interactions with influencers, monitors your backlink profile, and helps you build lists and pitch influencers directly from the platform.
- Pro: As you learn how to find social media influencers on BuzzStream, you’ll likely find the platform easy to use and highly versatile.
- Con: Email integration can be difficult for some users if they want to receive email notifications.
- Pricing: The cost ranges from $24 per month for the Starter plan to $999+ per month for a Custom plan.
SimilarWeb is a market intelligence tool that helps you understand your market, competitors, and audience, and identify relevant influencers and opportunities.
- Pro: The platform makes it easy to identify and monitor competitor strategies and channels.
- Con: Users report a poor mobile experience, making it better for desktop use.
- Pricing: $125 per month for the Starter plan to $333 per month for the Professional plan. Request a demo for Team and Enterprise plan pricing.
10. Tagger Media
Tagger Media is a global influencer platform that connects brands to the right influencers—from all over the world. The software offers everything brands need in one convenient platform, including the ability to discover, collaborate, and pay influencers.
- Pro: The tool enables you to easily find influencers and manage them from massive pools.
- Con: The Tagger platform isn’t the easiest to pick up and use for new users.
- Pricing: Request a demo for pricing details.
When determining where to find influencers, Heepsy can also help. This is among the best tools to find Instagram influencers, along with influencers on Twitch, TikTok, and YouTube.
- Pro: A fraud detection feature allows you to weed out fake influencers.
- Con: Users report a somewhat outdated UI compared to competitors.
- Pricing: A Free plan is available, with pricing ranging up to $269 per month for an Advanced plan.
Reach Out to Influencers
As you find the biggest influencers in your industry, you’ll begin to notice the kind of content they produce, like and share. If they’ve covered a topic in the past, chances are they’ll share something similar again at some point.
When you connect with influencers and brand ambassadors, remember to approach the conversation from a professional perspective. Planned outreach communicates that your brand is legitimate and that you have a set plan in place for working with influencers. In the end, this benefits both you and the influencer and brings better results.
How to Make Contact
When you do decide to reach out, make sure you’ve thought out your approach. Influencer marketing has come a long way since the early days of #sponcon.
According to the Later-Fohr State of Instagram Influencer Marketing 2020, influencers are becoming increasingly selective about who they work with and partnerships need to align with their brand and add value to their audience.
The best way to make contact is through email or via DM on platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn where they’re more likely to see the message.
Avoid using Twitter or Facebook as messages can go unnoticed for years because of all the noise.
A few tips for making your first move:
- As you do your research on an influencer, make a note of their unique brand of content and start brainstorming some campaign ideas.
- Point toward a few posts from their account that show why this partnership makes sense.
- Reach out and ask them to contribute a quote for a post you’re working on—letting them know your audience would benefit from their expertise.
- Similarly, you can propose a collaborative project—a guest spot on your podcast or an interview.
In either case, the idea is to propose an initial project that does more than promote your product or service and offers something tangible they can use in their own content calendar.
When you get to your pitch, keep it short and sweet — just a sentence or two will do. Outline your goal, what benefits it could provide the influencer and why they should be working with you.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
There’s an oft-cited sales statistic you’ll see on a lot of blogs that proves that there’s power in persistence: on average, it takes about eight follow-ups to close a deal, yet most people give up after one or two tries.
With influencers, you’re trying to sell them on the idea of working with you. Many influencers receive tons of requests every day and you need to make an effort to showcase your value starting with the subject line.
- Start with a follow-up email. Here, rehash the main points from the last message and include a new idea or an example of past collaborations.
- Try contacting them through other media channels. Tweet at them on Twitter or send a message on Facebook. This can be a powerful way to get an influencer’s attention; it’s a more direct way of contact and shows your commitment to working with them.
Do keep in mind, that there’s a fine line between persistence and pestering. If you don’t hear back after a few well-timed emails or DMs, then it’s time to move on.
Before you reach out, you should outline your expectations for this campaign to make things as easy as possible for potential partners. You’ll want to make sure you can provide the following information when someone finally responds to your initial email:
- Outline your content goals
- Set participation expectations
- Prepare a timeline
- Establish a distribution campaign
- Take the lead and try to cover all the details in the co-creation process. You want the influencer to walk away with a good experience (and ultimately secure an ongoing partnership).
Keep In Touch
Once you’ve completed the task at hand, remember to send the influencer the final product. Ask them to send it out through their personal and business accounts.
And don’t stop there. Keep commenting, liking, and sharing their content in the future. Tag them in posts and share content they might find beneficial. Stay on their radar, and you’ll continue to benefit from their status as an influencer.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What tools should I use to track influencer effects?
There are a number of ways to provide your influencers with what they need to best reach your audience. For example, you might choose to provide custom URLs and clickable links, so that you can measure the amount and quality of clicks led by an influencer campaign. Other ideas include custom promo codes, hashtag campaigns, or traffic correlations.
2. Is engagement more important than the number of followers?
Many brands use influencers to both increase brand awareness and drive engagement results. Actual user engagement (when a customer takes a specific action on a post or campaign) is often more likely to indicate how a person feels toward a brand or product. While both are important metrics, it’s wise to look at which actions your customers are taking in response to influencer marketing messages.
3. Is influencer marketing worth the investment?
Return on investment (ROI) is different for every brand and business. This is partly due to the fact that your demographics may impact the results you see. In general, however, influencer marketing tends to compare or out-perform other methods, such as banner ads. In fact, most brands earn over $5 for every dollar spent on influencer marketing.
4. What are the key differences between micro-influencers and macro-influencers?
Micro-influencers and macro-influencers tend to target specific audiences and niches, but the size of their audience is the key difference between them. When becoming a digital influencer, a personality will reach micro-influencer status at around 1,000 to 100,000 followers. Meanwhile, macro-influencers have 100,000K to 1,000,000 followers, allowing for wider reach.
5. What are the legal considerations in influencer partnerships?
When learning how to find an influencer, there are some key legal considerations to keep in mind, including:
- Due diligence is needed to gauge whether the influencer is a good fit based on past behavior and potential conflicts of interest
- A defined scope of engagement
- Intellectual property and copyright considerations
- Compliance with pertinent regulations and laws
6. What are the emerging trends in influencer marketing for the coming year?
As you discover how to search for influencers and connect with them, the following are some trends to consider in the year ahead:
- An increased focus on nano- and micro-influencers as people look to hyper-target their influencer marketing campaigns
- Multi-channel campaigns reaching people on everything from Instagram and YouTube to Snapchat and Facebook
- A growing emphasis on sponsored content and advertising
- More long-term relationships with influencers
7. Can small businesses effectively utilize influencer marketing?
Small businesses can make full use of influencer marketing with the right approach.
One of the best ways for smaller businesses to get involved is to connect with nano-influencers, such as local content creators. Small business owners can also connect with multiple small influencers to form a team, which can expand their reach.
8. What are the common pitfalls to avoid in influencer marketing?
There are certain mistakes to avoid when learning how to find an influencer and connect with them.
For instance, some businesses make the mistake of choosing the wrong influencer who isn’t reaching the right people or doesn’t have a big enough following.
Additionally, you might neglect to collect data and glean insights from your campaigns, which would prevent you from measuring their success.
Another mistake involves neglecting to give influencers enough information to inform your influencer strategy. You might not effectively explain your campaign goals, for example.
Start Securing Valuable Partnerships Now
Want to get the most from your influencer marketing campaigns? Maybe you need some help learning how to search for influencers, or you could be curious about the cost of social media influencer marketing. In any case, Ignite Visibility can help you build a strong influencer marketing campaign as part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
When you turn to Ignite Visibility, we can help with:
- Finding influencers who fit with your brand
- Influencer outreach
- Campaign management
- Measuring your efforts and making necessary adjustments
If this sounds like a good strategy for your brand, reach out to Ignite Visibility today and get started on your next campaign.