Three Ways to Find Influencers For Your Social Media Marketing Campaigns
By now you’ve definitely heard of influencers. You may even follow some yourself. But did you know that the influencer marketing industry is set to reach $15 billion by 2022?
Influencers have become a popular and successful way for brands to market their products on social media. Gone are the days of celebrity endorsements; we’re now living in the influencer age.
But if your brand wants to work with influencers, how do you find them? Collaborating isn’t as simple as DMing the first influencer you come across on social media. There are three principal places to search for influencers, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Use social media to conduct an in-house search
Disadvantage: requires the most work on your part, difficult to analyze profiles without contacting influencers
The cheapest way to conduct influencer discovery is by using social media alone. Search for influencers on the network of your choice, and when you find someone that looks interesting, reach out to them for their internal analytics information to assess data about their profile that isn’t publicly visible.
However, you can’t just tell Instagram, for example, to show you all the fashion influencers in Paris who have between 10-50K followers and high engagement. You have to search more manually, using keywords and hashtags to direct you to profiles you don’t already know.
Here are some tips to get started when searching directly on social media:
See if you have influencers that meet your needs among your followers. If they’re already fans, they’ll probably be excited to collaborate.
Check your branded hashtags and brand mentions to discover who’s trying to get your attention.
Create hashtag and keyword lists related to your brand and its products, and look at who’s tagging their content or describing their profile with them.
Instagram influencer @eloisejaksic tagged fashion e-commerce @asos in this post, and the brand later republished it to their own account.
Subscribe to an influencer marketing platform to get search & analytics
Advantage: you can search for influencers more easily and analyze their profiles
Disadvantage: subscription fee, you still have to do most of the work on the campaign
An influencer marketing platform is a type of software powered by AI that lets you search for influencers with filters and analyze their profiles without having to request any information from them.
Remember that example search query we mentioned above? With an influencer marketing platform, we can use search filters to plug it in and see only those profiles who match the parameters.
An example of an influencer marketing platform searching for fashion influencers in Paris with 10-50K followers and high engagement.
What’s more, the software returns information about any profile you click on. See data about follower growth over time, engagement rate, audience demographics, audience authenticity, and more.
An audience authenticity analysis from an influencer marketing platform.
You can also organize influencer search results in customizable lists, which you can create for your campaign, a specific region, or however you like to organize yourself. And for big campaigns, download a spreadsheet of your list and you have what you need to automate outreach.
Hire an agency to do the work for you
Advantage: least amount of work for you
Disadvantage: very expensive
There are tons of influencer marketing agencies out there waiting for you to ask them to manage your campaigns. Agencies are expensive, so expect to pay hundreds if not thousands of dollars per month for their expertise.
The good news is that the agency will do pretty much everything for you. You still have to stay in touch with them and participate in the process, but the agency will find influencers, vet their profiles and propose which they think are best for your final approval. Then, they’ll manage influencer negotiations, launch the campaign and monitor its media and results.
If you can afford it, it’s a great way to leave your influencer marketing in the hands of the experts and also free up your time to work on something else.
What to look for in influencers
Now you know where to find influencers, but you should also know what to look for when browsing their profiles. What makes an influencer good for influencer marketing? What makes them the right fit for your brand?
To start, there are some key performance metrics that can help us predict an influencer’s success at marketing campaigns:
Follower growth shows us how they acquired their followers. Look for organic growth here, which is slow and steady.
Engagement rate measures how much their audience interacts with their content.
Audience demographics help you verify that their audience matches your target audience.
Audience authenticity tells you what percentage of their followers may be purchased bots.
Branded content can give you an idea of how well they’d perform for your brand by showing you their performance on past campaigns.
However, it’s not enough to analyze metrics. You also have to get a sense of the influencer’s personality and style. Do they align with your brand? Is their voice capable of sharing the message you want to send? Do they uphold your brand’s values? Is their content quality up to par, and does their style fit with yours?
Finding influencers isn’t always easy, but if you know the options available to you, you can choose the method that works best for your brand. Always remember what to look for in influencers, and keep your campaign goals in mind when choosing who to reach out to.