Have you ever tried to find influencers to promote your brand on social media? Perhaps now is a good time to try, if you haven’t already. In the last two years alone, the market value of the influencer marketing industry has more than doubled, up to $13.8 billion this year due to more brands taking advantage of the strategy.
However, if influencer marketing is new to you, it’s possible that you don’t know where to start when it comes to finding influencers. Don’t worry; we’ll guide you so you can find influencers in 4 steps.
1. Determine your goal and your target audience
Before you start to search for influencer profiles you need to plan your campaign. What’s your purpose? Is your goal to increase sales or brand awareness? Or generate content for social media. Choose a goal. All your future decisions should be guided and guided by this goal.
Next, understand your target audience. If you have not done so, market research is a must to determine who your buyer personas might be and what they are like. Consider the following questions:
- Where do these people come from? What about specific regions, countries, or cities?
- What’s their gender?
- What age range are they in?
- What language does the group use when they post on social media sites?
- What are they most interested in?
You want to find influencers to connect you to this audience, so start thinking about this now.
2. Think about the type of influencer and channel you would like (and can afford).
Your target audience will help you decide the channel on which to run your social media campaigns. For example, you might be trying to reach young people or teenagers. Well, 60% of TikTok users belong to Gen Z, so you might want to consider TikTok influencers to help you reach that target audience.
Once you have the network, take a look at your timeline and budget and decide what kind of influencer you would like. When you think about influencers, consider:
- What they post about (their category)
- Their follower count (this affects price and engagement rate)
For small businesses that have limited resources, you can seek out nano or micro influencers. These influencers with fewer than 50K followers are budget-friendly options when it comes to collaborations. Plus, they are attractive for any company because they have the highest average engagement rate in the influencer market.
If time and money are not a constraint, consider working with top influencers. They have greater reach, so a lot more people will see your campaign content. However, they generally have lower engagement rates. They’re not as relatable and credible as micro influencers, who come across to the audience more like friends than celebrities. Top influencers are also expensive, so be ready to pay.
Going a step further, you could think about working with a key opinion leader, or KOL. KOLs have influence that goes far beyond social networks. Think Greta Thunberg, or Oprah. These types of people are well-respected in their field, have great reach, and don’t rely solely on social networks to spread their message.
However, KOLs can be hard to establish collaborations with. You shouldn’t waste your time with generic pitches, because they won’t reply. Make sure you only reach out and connect with KOLs who are directly aligned to your brand. If they aren’t interested in what you do then there’s no reason for them to even reply to you.
3. Sign up for an influencer marketing platform
Social media is one place to search for influencers, but your search will be limited. To find influencers you will have to manually go through brand mentions or hashtags. And you can’t analyze their performance until you have their media kits, which you’ll have to ask for.
An influencer marketing agency is another option. These agencies are often expensive, but if you have the funds, this could be a good option. You also have the option of using an influencer-marketing platform. These platforms are subscription-based, but they are far cheaper than agencies.
You can also use an influencer marketing platform to search for influencers. These are essentially search engines. For example, you could use the platform to show you all the lifestyle Instagram influencers in California who have between 5K – 25K followers and high engagement.
Heepsy, an influencer marketing platform, shows the search query we mentioned above.
Additionally, you can get real-time analytics about each individual influencer. This allows you to instantly analyze each influencer’s profile without having to wait for them to send their media kit. So before you contact someone, you can check out their profiles and make sure they’re not a fake.
4. Analyze their profiles to weed out fake influencers
To find the right influencers to represent your brand, you need to analyze their profiles and read their content. First, make sure you are able to measure the content performance of your influencer. Influencer fraud is still a concern among marketers, and you want to do your best to avoid it.
If you are looking at performance-driven metrics, consider:
- Follower count – This is a key factor in how much an influencer charges for their services.
- Follower growth evolution – Are you seeing organic growth, or sudden drastic spikes that could indicate fake followers?
- Engagement rate – How does it compare to other influencers on the same network who have similar followings? Engagement rates that are extremely low or very high could indicate fake followers, or even fake interactions.
- Audience demographics – Is the audience similar to your target audience’s?
- Audience authenticity – Does the majority of audience members seem to be real people? Are there suspicious accounts or could they be bots?
Apart from analyzing their content’s performance and getting a feel for their style, personality and values are important. This cannot be measured with data, so it is important to go with your gut when looking at their profile.
Examine the influencer’s content and determine if they meet your quality standards. Also, ask yourself questions like:
- How does the content of an influencer relate to my brand, and what it does?
- Is this the influencer whose voice will convey my brand’s message?
- Is their style consistent with my brand’s aesthetics?
- Does the influencer live up to the values that my brand advocates?
It is important that the collaboration comes across as genuine. Therefore, don’t select influencers not connected to your brand. Followers shouldn’t be left wondering about the connection between your brand, and an influencer.
When you find influencers who seem like a match, contact them! Ask if they want to collaborate, and if they’re interested, negotiate the terms of the relationship. Take these few tips with you for when you negotiate with influencers:
- Nano influencers, and some lower-level micro influencers, will agree to collaborate for free products alone.
- If you contact higher-tier influencers, expect to deal with a manager. Working with a manager may make some administrative tasks easier, but it will also drive up fees.
- You don’t always need a contract. For product-based collaborations, you can usually skip it, unless the free product is very valuable. For fee-based collaborations, it’s better to have one. If you do need a contract, you can use an influencer contract template as a base and go from there.
Finding influencers is more than just picking up the first social media profile that pops up. It takes time to set your campaign goals. You must also carefully review profiles and analyze their content to identify fake influencers. Doing all this will help you ensure you find influencers with healthy metrics and who align well with your brand’s mission.