A brand’s digital marketing campaign hinges on its ability to build trust online… And that’s exactly what influencer marketing has to offer.
Unlike traditional marketing, influencer marketing relies on a dedicated followership of an individual, who is not only trusted as a niche expert, but is also influential enough to convince people to buy.
Collaborative marketing, modern-day PR or blogger relations; irrespective of the name you give it, the fact of the matter is that influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly popular strategy to grow engagement, drive traffic and boost conversions for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Take a look at the following stats and you’ll see for yourself. According to 2017 research by Top Rank blog:
- 71% of marketers consider their influencer marketing programs are strategic or highly strategic.
- 61% of marketers want to drive lead generation through influencer marketing.
- 80% rate content marketing as most impacted by influencer marketing.
- 57% of marketers say influencer marketing will be integrated in all marketing activities in the next 3 years.
Despite the popularity of this technique, as many as 75% of marketing professionals cite identifying the right influencers as their biggest challenge!
Indeed, finding influencers who are willing to promote your business can be a difficult task as you sort each one out with respect to their reach, relevance and resonance with your target market. The good news is that with the right mindset, strategy and tools in place, finding and engaging with these influencers is actually possible.
Let’s dig deeper and find out how.
1. Explore your existing followership
First off, targeting influencers does not mean that you need to go big and work with celebrities to promote your brand. It’s possible that someone from your existing fan base has a modest followership and can be a good fit to help you build trust for your brand.
This tactic has two benefits:
- The influencer is already interested in your product or service so it will take less effort to convince them to collaborate with you.
- Since your influencers’ fans are aware of the individual’s interest in your brand, the collaboration will appear more authentic.
You can start by looking at the profiles of your followers that intrigue you the most. For instance, if you run a food business, you might be interested in individuals with the term “foodie” in their username and who frequently comment on your posts or share your content.
Looking at the profile of ThatFoodieGirl, you will see that she has around 1500 followers, not much, but enough to get the word-of-mouth going for a small business.
This kind of collaboration works best with free product samples in exchange for sharing their reviews.
This technique also works well for Twitter. You can use Moz’s free Twitter tool, Followerwonk to sort your followers by names, profiles and more.
2. Analyze content shared by influencers
If you are looking for influencers that are talking about products or services similar to yours and sharing related content, BuzzSumo is a great starting point.
You can search for influencers using your industry specific keywords in the search bar, and filter down your results to find specific influencer types, such as bloggers, companies or regular people. You will see a list of influencers ranked with respect to their Twitter page authority, website authority, number of followers, retweet ratio and much more.
You can also check out the links an influencer has shared. This helps you target your influencers with a collaboration offer they are most likely to accept.
For example, if your potential influencer is sharing links about SEO, they are more likely to be interested in a blog with the title: 5 reasons Google hates comment spam, and can send more traffic to your website by sharing it.
While targeting social media influencers can be a good starting point, the results can be short lived. If you are looking for SEO benefits to get more longer-term outcomes from your influencer marketing strategy, you should try to look for people who create content in your niche.
BuzzSumo is ideal for that too. Getting bloggers to mention you in their content could lead to more domain authority and better rankings in Google results.
3. Try running a hashtag and site search
Nearly all popular social media platforms use hashtags to simplify content search. In order to find the influencers or bloggers in your niche, you can run a simple hashtag search.
For example, if you run an event planning business and you are looking for influential bloggers who write about weddings in Perth, you can do a search similar to this:
Not only will you get a list of potential influencers to work with, you can also view the pages they have liked, helping you expand your network.
Another way to find influencers in your niche is to run a social media site search on Google.
You can do a similar search for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and so on.
4. Search for top influencers on local review sites
Yelp is probably the first name that comes to your mind when you think about local review sites. With over 164 million visits per month, it provides a great opportunity for local businesses to find and connect with top influencers and get them to review their product or service.
5. Refine your influencer list with a demographic search
In order to find the right influencers who can promote your brand, you need to develop an influencer persona. A great place to start with is to develop a buyer’s persona and then try to find people who match that buyer’s persona and also have a large following.
If you are using Twitter to find influencers in your niche, Hootsuite’s Demographic Pro is a great tool to not only get insights into your own followers, but also followers of other influential Twitter accounts. You can instantly see demographics such as gender, age, income and cities to more deeper insights including likes, interests, affiliations and audience correlations.
6. Find groups and communities relevant to your field
Groups and communities are built around people who share a common interest. Generally, these groups will have several active participants with some exercising more influence than others in terms of their expert advice, the comments their posts trigger or the likes and shares they receive.
LinkedIn makes it pretty simple by marking individuals as influencers, based on how frequently and meaningfully they contribute to discussions in relevant groups, as well as the engagement level on their publications as a LinkedIn author.
To get the most out of LinkedIn groups:
- Start taking note of the most active group members
- Initiate discussions and ask for advice from specific individuals
- Publish unique content frequently and share it in relevant groups
- Take discussions to Twitter to build a relationship on multiple platforms
7. Identify thought leaders through the ripple effect
What can be a better way to determine an individual’s influence than the number of influential people already connected to them?
Little Bird helps you achieve just that!
This tool helps you find influencers around a given niche or topic.
So, if you are seeking to connect with an influential content marketer, you can measure their influence with the number of digital marketers, SEO experts and social media specialists connected with them.
Once you have created an influencer list based on a topic with Little Bird, you can start filtering results based on region, see popular content they share, and identify new relevant people by discovering who you are not following, when you should.
8. Dig deeper with Social Media Monitoring
If you are not ready to start with social influencer metrics tools and have yet to identify a list of influencers to follow, you need to start listening!
i. Twitter Lists
If you don’t know how to start creating your own Twitter list, you can always use Google to find public lists created by other users.
This can be a starting point for you to analyse who is actively sharing content, starting discussions and getting retweets.
This will also help you identify the popular hashtags they are using and you can start tracking conversations around these hashtags to find active talkers.
Once you find influencers with the most reach, relevance and resonance with your target audience, start adding them to your own Twitter list.
ii. Google Alerts
You can set up Google Alerts to get news and blogs from people who actively write on topics relevant to your industry.
iii. Social mentions
Using social mention you can add your brand name, competitors brand name or other target keywords to discover who has mentioned you or your competitors, or shown interest in offerings similar to yours. This opens new doors for influencer targeting.
9. Leverage the influencer marketplace
Influencer marketplaces are matchmaking companies helping brands find influencers to promote their business. These platforms help you search for relevant influencers based on your criteria including demographics and topics, compare influencers with respect to performance data, and run advanced audience targeting.
Some of the most popular influencer marketplaces include:
TapInfluence: Discover your target audience and automate influencer campaigns.
IZEA: Automates influencer and content marketing programs by eliminating the time-consuming process of manual searches.
Influential: Influencer platform for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter delivering results based on demographic, psychographics and contextual searches.
Tribe: Helps brands easily invite and brief influencers to collaborate on powerful campaigns and engage with audiences.
Each influencer marketplace comes with its own set of benefits and limitations. Make sure to choose a platform that best aligns with your influencer marketing goals and fits within your budget as you scale your campaigns.
10. Use customer insights to find top rated businesses in your industry
Don’t limit yourself to influential individuals who can promote your brand. You can also look for companies that your audience admires and trusts.
Consider Uber’s partnership with Spotify that allows Uber users to personalise music during their rides.
Finding out what other products or services your customers use, can help you reach out to decision-makers within those brands for a possible co-marketing opportunity with mutual benefits.
You can use tools like Quaraloo for surveying your customer’s interests and learning which brands they really care about.
A simple question asking them to name their top 5 sites, products or blogs, should be able to give you sufficient insights on where to reach out for your next influencer marketing campaign.
Alternatively, you can add a direct open-ended question to a customer survey form asking how they learnt about your offer, who referred the product or service to them, or who influenced their purchase.
Getting the best results from your influencer marketing campaigns begins with your search for the right influencers to target.
To start with, you need to determine what your brand stands for, understand your target audience, and outline the goals you are seeking by partnering with the influencer.
When finding influencers who can help promote your business, look for the three R’s: “Reach” measured in terms of followers your influencer can provide to amplify your voice, “Relevance” of the influencer with your brand or offering, and “Resonance”, which is essentially the extent of influence they can exercise in convincing your shared audience to take action.
What other tools and techniques have you used when looking for the right influencers to promote your brand? Feel free to share them in the comments.