The world of influencer marketing has grown tremendously over the past few years, and today the number of professional influencers is bigger than ever. Because of this, finding the right influencer for your company can be an overwhelming task. In fact, one of the questions we get asked the most often is: How do we find the right influencer for our business?
According to a report done by Augure, 75% of marketers said their biggest challenge was finding influencers to work with. The process is hard, and the results are crucial for a successful collaboration. In this article, we will try to offer answers to some of the most commonly asked questions as well as provide you with tips on how you can best find a good influencer that matches your company and can optimize your marketing results.
Before you start looking for influencers:
Define your target group
- What market do you want to reach?
- How old are consumers in your target group?
- Are they men or women?
- Is it a niche market or a more general market?
The most essential part of finding the right influencer is defining what your company’s target group is. With this information at hand, it will be much easier to find an influencer that has a following in your target group. Also, don’t forget that you need to create value for your consumers. Can you offer them a solution to a common problem they tend to have? Answer these questions before you start creating a strategy for your collaborations and you will have a better chance at reaching your goals.
What's Your Plan With Using Influencer Marketing?
- To drive traffic and increase sales?
- Better SEO?
- Gain followers on social media?
- Strengthen brand awareness?
- Create new content?
You need to have a plan of what you want to achieve from your influencer marketing campaign and an idea of how you will get there. Your goal will most likely be a mix of the
above-mentioned examples. Maybe you want to strengthen brand awareness and get a better SEO ranking, or maybe you want to gain more social media followers and increase traffic. Start by defining your metrics and what the goal is and then use that data to find an influencer. You also need to be aware of which social media platforms will best help you reach your goals. You can read more about different social media platforms in our previous blog post.
Choosing the Right Influencers
It’s usually best to base your research on yourself even if you're doing research for professional reasons. Don’t forget that consumers are just regular everyday people, just like you and me. Do you scroll through your social media feeds when there is a commercial on TV? So does everyone else. You might already be following some influencers in the market you’re interested in.
Look through your own feed and see if you can find an influencer that’s relevant to you. When you find someone you like you should check out below). Now you’ll see a list of accounts that have the same style and other similarities with the account you started with. Check the accounts out and see if you find anything you like. Then use the related accounts function again, and again.
Most influencers are on Instagram, and even if you’re planning to work with YouTubers or bloggers, we suggest you start looking on Instagram. YouTube also has a “related” function that you can use to find more influencers.
Instagram with the related button to find similar accounts
A classic googling is also a good way to get started on your hunt for influencers. For example, you can find bloggers that are writing about the subjects you want to cover and see what and who they write about. You can also find portals and bloggers that recommend their favorite influencers in certain industries and these lists can be used to find influencers for your campaigns.
Another popular method used to find relevant influencers is searching for hashtags related to your business, your products, and your industry. Searching for hashtags on social media is a great and effective way to find influencers in your niche. Does your company make running shoes? Then you could go on any social media platform and search for #running to see what and who comes up. When searching on Instagram the top posts are the ones that have gotten the highest engagement and therefore usually the most influential influencers in that particular niche.
Find new influencers by checking what people your influencers are following. Many accounts
follow influencers within their own industry since they have similar interests and share similar content, but also to stay updated on what others are doing. Often times influencers are friendly with each other and many of them have professional relationships.
When you feel like you have found some good influencers that can represent your brand and your products, you will want to dive deeper. It’s now time for you to map the influencer’s followers since these are the people you are going to target.
It’s easy to find influencers that fit your needs in terms of age and country, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that their followers fit the same description. Obviously, you need to find influencers that you feel comfortable with, but that is only one part of the process. It’s more important to find influencers with a following in your target group. So how do you find out more about an influencer’s followers? It depends on the platform since they all offer different means for finding this data. For example, YouTube and several blog portals provide their influencers with a lot of data about their followers such as nationality, age, gender, etc.
However, this data is not available to visitors so you will have to ask the influencer for their audience demographics and most often they won’t have an issue with sharing that with you. Other platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram don't provide the same type of detailed data. In these cases, you have to evaluate the followers yourself. In our opinion, one of the best ways to get to know an influencer’s followers is to look at likes and comments. Are the comments written in a specific language? How old are the people liking the pictures? What gender? Study the comments and try to paint a picture of who follows the influencer and what type of engagement they experience.
A common mistake is to only look for reach and get fooled by a huge following, i.e. influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers. Try to avoid doing that. Reach is an important part of the equation but it’s only one part. Many followers usually mean a larger spread which always results in less engagement. By working with micro influencers, you have a better possibility to pinpoint and reach your specific target group directly.
But that’s not all of it. For example, followers of micro influencers usually feel more connected to the influencer - read more about the benefits of working with micro influencers in the post we’ve written on the subject.
Engagement is another very important factor. Is the influencer experiencing a lot of interaction with their posts? Are there many comments, likes, and shares? You can calculate engagement with the following calculation:
likes + comments / amount of followers X 100.
An influencer with 50,000 followers got 1,000 likes and 75 comments on their latest Instagram post
1000 + 75 = 1075
1075 / 50000 = 0.0215
0.0215 X 100 = 2.15
That means the influencer's engagement is 2.15%
Make the same calculation for the last 10 images and add the results up before dividing the sum by 10 to get an average engagement percentage. Do this with several influencers and you will soon realize how much the level of engagement differs between them, even within the same industry. This is something you need to keep in mind and evaluate.
Generally speaking, influencers with high engagement have a bigger chance of having an impact on their followers. Naturally, this means they are better at driving traffic and increasing sales. As you probably understand by now, this is a very time-consuming job. To avoid it, most brands use a partner, such as Beatly, to help them. We measure engagement on a daily basis with our own systematic approach so that we always know the best influencers in different industries.
In most cases, engagement becomes less the more followers an influencer gets and you need to keep this in mind when you compare accounts. A smaller influencer has a better chance of answering comments and communicating with followers than a bigger influencer, which means they can build trust and meaningful relationships with their followers. Many people have questions, and if the influencer isn’t answering, followers will lose interest and look elsewhere. Micro influencers also tend to live lives that anyone can relate to with work, kids, cooking, etc.
All these factors make it easier for us to relate to influencers which results in us being more eager to interact with them. The more the influencer grows, the greater the distance gets between them and their followers. Growth also results in the influencer getting too many comments and likes to even try to respond to them all, which creates an even bigger gap between the followers and influencer.
Another question that you need to answer is how big of an influence the influencer has on your target group. This is connected to engagement since a group of highly engaged followers are often easier to effect than a group of followers with low engagement. An influencer that often shares their thoughts and ideas creates a deeper personal bond with their followers and that helps tremendously when it comes to conversion. Because of this, influencers that have a personal relationship with their followers and high engagement provide the best results for influencer marketing campaigns.
Remember that Instagram accounts that have many likes but only emojis in the comments are accounts that people follow to see pretty pictures from but not to interact with. These accounts tend to focus on coffee art and beach pictures but not on relationships which often means that they won't convert very well. A good tip is to see if you can find other sponsored posts and evaluate the kind of engagement the influencer gets when they’re working.
Credibility is crucial for a successful collaboration. Followers are quick to realize when a collaboration lacks credibility, and instead of benefitting you, this can easily hurt both your brand and the influencer’s image. Therefore you need to look through the influencer’s feed to get an idea of the lifestyle they represent and what products and services they use and recommend.
Your product needs to reach followers in a natural way that doesn’t get mixed up with the influencer's established values or their personal brand. A good way of ensuring this is to try and find influencers that are already recommending your products. If you work for a well-known brand, there could be many people that are already talking about your company. See if you can find bloggers that have written about you and search for #yourbrand on social media. It will be so much easier to start a good collaboration if you can manage to find influencers that are already talking about you. Naturally, this means that both the influencer and their followers are aware of who you are and it will be easier to reach good conversion rates.
While going through an influencer’s feed, we recommend that you check to see if they’ve worked with any of your competitors. This is not necessarily a problem since people buy products from different brands and stores, but it’s good to know before you get started. Also, make sure that your post and your competitor's post don’t end up too close to each other.
Many companies forget to check influencers growth rates. Is the influencer’s following growing steadily or are they losing followers? Steady growth is the best for a collaboration since it allows for a longer relationship. If an influencer is losing followers, it means that people have lost an interest in them or that they’ve done something that has hurt their brand.
Negative growth is usually a warning, but there could be a logical explanation for it. A good way of checking an accounts growth rate is by using Socialblade which provides statistics for accounts on YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and Twitter.
Finding the right influencer is not an easy task, and it requires a lot of work so we suggest you look at it like an investment. If you do the proper research, compare influencers with each other, and test different strategies, you will find a good match. Not all of the influencers you work with will be a success but if you learn from your mistakes, you’ll soon find yourself with a collection of influencers that match your brand and produce great results.
Influencer marketing is a trial and error kind of job where you need a lot of experience to excel so make sure to take your time and don’t be scared to think outside of the box.