Have you thought about collaborating with influencers to promote your brand on social media? Have you tried to find influencers in the past but found it harder than expected? You may have been looking in the wrong place.
The influencer marketing industry is projected to be worth $15 billion by 2022, thanks to both brands big and small realizing that social media is a worthwhile channel for their marketing efforts.
But how do brands find influencers? It’s not quite as easy as DMing the first influencer you see while scrolling through Instagram, or commenting beneath the video of your favorite Youtube influencers. There are 3 different ways to find influencers, but you should be evaluating the same core metrics regardless of which method you choose.
What to assess about influencer profiles?
First, there are some key performance metrics that can give us an idea of how successful a collaboration with an influencer will be:
- Follower growth – how they acquired their followers over time
- Engagement rate – the level of interaction between an influencer and followers
- Audience demographics – background info about the audience’s age, gender, etc.
- Audience authenticity – an analysis of what part of the audience may be fake
- Branded content – stats related to the performance of an influencer’s past content for other brands
Next, there are some non-metric qualities you should evaluate about each profile. For example:
- Does their content meet my quality standards and fit with my brand?
- Is the influencer’s voice suitable to spread my brand’s message?
- Do they uphold my brand values?
Every influencer you choose to collaborate with should help you work towards your campaign’s goals and reach your target audience. Therefore, you want to choose influencers with healthy profiles and who also align with your brand.
Three ways to find influencers
Now that you know what to look out for, let’s examine the three places you can find influencers.
Search directly on social media and do in-house outreach
This is the cheapest method, since using social media is free. However, expect a more labor-intensive process, as you have to sift through profiles manually. You can’t tell Instagram, Youtube or TikTok to simply show you all the sports influencers in the US who have between 15-50K followers and high engagement. You have to do the work to find them yourself.
To get started, you can search among your own followers, your brand mentions, and branded hashtags. You may find influencers who are already trying to get your brand’s attention. Also look at more general hashtags for your industry to see who’s creating content and using those tags.
German micro influencers @belinda.bek tagged British e-commerce @asos in this post, and the brand then published her content on its own profile.
When you find interesting profiles, you’ll only be able to see basic statistics like follower count and number of posts. To see deeper metrics, ask the influencer for their media kit.
Hire an agency to manage the campaign for you
If you don’t want to handle the campaign yourself, you could outsource it to an agency. Just know that this is the most expensive way to find influencers, because agencies will charge you steep monthly fees throughout the lifecycle of your campaign.
That being said, you’re paying for expertise. The agency will find influencers, vet their profiles, help you select who to collaborate with, and then monitor all the publications and results of the campaign.
If your budget allows it, an agency is a great way to free your mind of influencer marketing worries so you can focus on other tasks.
Subscribe to an influencer marketing platform for enhanced search and analytics
This type of software lets you search for and analyze influencers all on the same platform. You have to subscribe to a monthly or annual plan, but the price generally works out cheaper than agencies.
Search filters let you see only the results you’re looking for. Take the example from above: all the sports Instagram influencers in the US who have between 15-50K followers and high engagement. With an influencer marketing platform, you can plug that search query in.
An influencer marketing platform with the search query mentioned above.
Then, analyze each profile in the results. See metrics like follower growth, engagement rate, audience demographics and authenticity, and more. You’ll also get a visual feed of the influencer’s profile to get a feel for their style.
Finally, these platforms allow you to organize influencers in lists. This way, you can create lists to keep track of different campaigns, different regions, or whatever criteria you use to stay organized. Depending on your subscription, you may also be able to download your lists as spreadsheets to help automate your influencer outreach.
No matter which way you choose to find influencers, it’s important to carefully analyze their profiles before choosing who to collaborate with. Keep your campaign goals in mind, and select the individuals who seem the most capable of helping you achieve them.