Apparently, influencer marketing is all the rage these days.
It's the latest hot trend in the digital marketing world, as the unprecedented global connectivity of the internet transforms what it means to be a celebrity.
Social media influencers come in all shapes and sizes, so to speak.
Some of them are popular Youtubers. (Think Nostalgia Critic.)
Others have a massive presence on Instagram. (Think Jeffree Star or Michelle Phan.)
And still others are professionals like marketers and programmers, who blog and have a lot of reach within their industry. (Think Neil Patel.)
Influencers are everywhere.
When you start digging your way into a brand new niche, you'll eventually start to find them.
There are also agencies and paid software tools designed specifically for this kind of marketing strategy.
But you can't just have any old influencer hawk your product.
You need to have the right influencers on your team.
That means you need to focus on a variety of factors — things like relevance, the size of their audience, and the price tag they've put on their brand endorsements.
In a recent blog post, MarketingProfs explains, step by step, how you can pinpoint the perfect influencers who can help you build your brand — without spending an arm and a leg.
How to Find the Right Micro-Influencers
To identify the right micro-influencers for your social media campaigns, consider the following four tactics.
1. Look at your own followers
Take a look at your brand's social media followers, and chances are that you will find several micro-influencers who are already fans of the brand. Identify followers who consistently engage with your social media posts and look at each of their profiles.
One way to home in on influencers is by removing anyone who has fewer followers and less activity than your brand's profile.
Also, analyze their posting habits: When was the latest media posted? How many comments and likes are they getting, on average, per post?
Once you have completed your list of influencers, visit their profiles and interact with their posts by liking them or leaving comments. Doing so helps to build a relationship and creates a good foundation for developing future collaboration with the influencer.
Coming up with your list of influencers manually can be a daunting task.
Fortunately, there are tools such as Crowdbabble for Instagram and Commun.it for Twitter that analyze your list of followers and display the top ones based on their engagement with your account and their number of followers.
2. Use hashtags and keywords
Look up various hashtags and keywords that are commonly used in your industry, or those that are related to the products and services your business offers. Micro-influencers who have posted about those topics on social media will surely come up in your search.
Using Instagram's search bar and Twitter's advanced search tool, for example, do a search using a specific term related to your industry, such as “fashion” or “#fashionblogger” and you will see all the posts and tweets that have used that keyword or hashtag.
If you are looking for influencers within a certain profession, then look for that specifically. Some sample hashtags might be #celebritychef or #professionalmakeupartist.
To find influencers who are already talking about you, search for a branded hashtag using your company's name or product name in it.
Hashtag searches are not as effective on Facebook because their use is relatively new on the platform; however, you can still try to use them to find potential influencers, since many users nowadays share their Instagram content on Facebook as well.
Keep in mind that not all the content you find when conducting these searches will be from influencers, so you must look the accounts to identify potential influencers.
To check whether a specific user is an actual influencer, look at the following:
- Engagement rate. How much are people responding to the user's posts? Look at their ratio of “likes” to “follows.” If the account has a large number of followers, but a small amount of likes and comments, chances are this person is being followed by inactive accounts. Read the comments. What are people saying? Sometimes right from the comments you can tell whether this person is a real influencer in his/her niche. If the comments make no sense, then they may be spam.
- Quality of content. View the content and determine if it's good. Also consider whether the images seem to be stock photos or original, user-generated content. The latter is much better in terms of generating engagement and traction from followers.
- Number of followers. As noted earlier, a large number is not always an accurate indication of influence; however, you do want to make sure that, for the most part, the users you are considering for your influencer campaign have more followers than your company's profile.
When you are visiting users' accounts, make sure to check whether they have a website or blog. They may even have an email address listed there, which makes it that much easier to reach them later.
Do a Google search of niche bloggers who cover the area of expertise you are interested in.
Run searches using phrases such as “top [industry] influencers on Instagram” or “[industry] micro-influencers” or “top [industry] Instagram accounts.” Mix and match the words depending on the industry and the social media platform that you would like to target for your specific influencer campaign.
You will most likely find several lists that have already been put together for your industry. Gather the lists and visit each influencer's social media profile to determine which ones are a right fit for your campaign.
Put together your own list of potential influencers for various social media platforms.
4. Use specialty tools and networks
To find and reach out to the influencers who meet your exact criteria, use an influencer-marketing tool or work with blogger networks (or do both).
This approach is easier and less time-consuming that the others, as you're able to acquire a list of all applicable candidates fairly quickly and can sort through the results to view and compare page and domain authority as well as follower count.
Keep in mind that you may get thousands of posts when searching for a hashtag or keyword directly on the platform. On Instagram, for example, users upload over 95 million photos and videos every single day. Depending on how much time you have on your hands, you may find it more beneficial to use an influencer marketing tool or network to locate the best candidates for your campaign, rather than doing it manually.
Among the benefits of using influencer marketing tools:
- Easy discovery and identification of the most relevant and engaging influencers in your specific industry segment
- Automation of repetitive tasks, such as contacting and communicating with influencers, reviewing content, and more
- Tracking and monitoring of campaign results in real-time
Although there is a cost involved—typically a monthly fee or a fee per campaign—these tools (including SocialPubli.com, which I co-founded) are more cost-effective than traditional paid advertisements.
Knowing who your target audience is and what you're trying to accomplish with each influencer marketing campaign will lead you to the best micro-influencers to promote your business.
Before launching your campaign, make sure they can provide the value and quality you're seeking by analyzing their real influence, taking into account daily engagement, per-post engagement, and overall trustworthiness.
You can read more about influencer marketing strategy over at Marketing Profs.