How to Find an Influencer to Help Grow Your Brand

woman with purse and sunglasses

If you work in the world of social media, you probably know that influencers can be a game-changer for your brand. Working with these prominent digital marketing figures is a powerful marketing strategy to help brands gain serious traction on social media. But finding the right person to partner with is of utmost importance. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to find an influencer that fits well into your brand.

First, let’s clear up who an influencer actually is, because there’s still a little confusion. An influencer is a person usually with a large social media following who typically specializes in a certain niche — like fashion, fitness, or food. Their followers consider them a trustworthy authority, and thus believe in what they say. These followers are loyal to them and usually base their opinions and interests according to the influencer’s beliefs.

Here’s one example. Actress Miriam McDonald always promotes Fashion Nova’s clothes.

Influencers can be celebrities, bloggers, industry experts, social media personalities, thought leaders, and even entire brands. To be clear, while a large following certainly does help, it’s also the engagement that matters — probably even more than follower count. Influencers’ followers love to engage with them.

For business owners, influencers can be integral in introducing their fans to the brand and convincing them to give the brand a shot. However, you have to know how to find an influencer in the first place, because it’s not simply about finding someone with a big following.

How to Find an Influencer That Can Benefit Your Brand

1. Find Out Who Your Followers are Following

Influencers don’t have to be 100% related to your business, but those who have the same audience as you can add extreme value. This is what matters. They need to have an audience you care about! And actually, influencers who overlap or complement your business help you reach new audiences entirely.

For instance, if you’re a meal prep and delivery company, you should look into fitness influencers, since they promote healthy living to their fans. You have a very good reason to believe these fans will be interested in your services. Why? Simple. Because you know they already care about living a healthy life.

Here’s another example. This time, athlete Brooke Wells is promoting Macro Meals. She essentially introduced them to her entire audience of more than one million followers.

Perform a target analysis of your audience so you can understand their needs and interests. You can do this by looking at who they’re following. See someone with a loyal fanbase there? They might be worth reaching out to.

By doing this, you can identify influencers who are relevant to your target market. It helps you connect with the right people and can even open you up to all new followers.

2. Utilize Relevant Hashtags

Native search tools are found on social media that show you influential accounts. For instance, Instagram is full of fashion, travel, and lifestyle influencers. By looking up popular hashtags in your field, you’ll see the top posts for those tags. This might reveal important influencers that you could reach out to.

When you currently search #wanderlust, this is the top performing post.

wanderlust

If you go to the page credited with that image, The Travelling Nomads, you’ll see that they’re travel influencers with a big following and amazing engagement.

You should search both broad and specific hashtags. While specific hashtags might mean finding a smaller audience  (or an influencer with a smaller audience), it could also be a highly relevant, targeted audience that could very well be interested in your brand. Audience size isn’t always the most important factor, which brings us to our next point…

3. Look at Engagement, Not How Many Followers They Have

Check which influencers have the most engagement and are actively present. They should have a lot of followers who engage with them because followers who don’t engage are basically insignificant for your brand, no matter how many of them there are.

Therefore, before you choose an influencer, take things like comments and clicks into account.

Once you start communicating with influencers (which we’ll get to in a little bit), you’ll also want to ask them to share some of their insights. You can fake followers by purchasing them, which some influencer-wannabes certainly do.

However, engagement — especially clicks — is harder to fake. Of particular importance are the analytics from the influencer’s “swipe up” feature in Instagram Stories. In other words, how many of their followers swipe up to get more content from them?

You’ll also want to have an idea of what kind of traffic they’re getting to the link in their bio. The point is to move far beyond the vanity of their page to learn more about the inner workings. How do people interact with them?

4. Follow Influencers and Develop a Relationship

It may seem obvious, but the majority of marketers fail to follow influencers. It’s an essential rule of finding an influencer: Spark a relationship with them before you approach them with a partnership.

This benefits both sides. You can absorb and receive content from these influencers and see if their beliefs correspond with your brand. You will also find out if the influencer uses a tone that is appropriate for your brand. Are they posting amazing content? Responding to comments? Engaging with their fans?

It’s also beneficial for the influencer because they’ll see that you have a genuine interest in forming a long-term relationship with them — as opposed to just taking advantage of them for the power they hold. They really care about who they work with and promote. Influencers work hard to build a loyal following and get those people to trust them. They won’t do anything to betray that trust.

They want to know that they’re working with a reputable brand. Creating a solid relationship with them will work in your favor.

Make no mistake about it: Influencers get hit up a lot about working with brands to increase their exposure. They’re offering a very valuable and desirable service.

5. Look for Influencers Whose Aesthetics Coincide With Your Brand’s

Evaluate influencers by looking through their social media accounts, videos, blogs, vlogs, etc. to check if their branding and messaging flows with yours. Remember that they’re going to be posting content promoting your brand on their channels. You want your content to fit in on their platform. Otherwise, it’ll stick out to their followers — and not in a good way.

If your brand has a more minimalist aesthetic, don’t go after influencers who use tons of bold patterns and colors, and vice versa. The two brands combined need to make sense together.

Away is a luggage brand, and their IG page is all about adventure, exploration, and fun. Filipa Jackson’s post for them makes perfect sense.

6. Be Ready to Pay an Influencer

While some influencers might take free product in exchange for their services, many (if not most) expect monetary compensation. They’re running a business, after all.

Paying your chosen influencer will benefit you both as long as you do it correctly. Being able to pay an influencer means you can have a say in the content they will post about your brand. If you pay them well, you’re going to encourage long-term collaborations, which is always a positive.

Bear in mind that many influencers charge per engagement. Thus, the more engagement their posts get, the more you can expect to pay. This is a good thing! Just remember to find influencers with an audience relevant to your brand, and it will be well worth the investment. Spending a lot is a great thing, as long as you’re seeing a return.

How to Approach an Influencer

After you’ve picked an influencer you think you might want to partner with, start interacting with their content with likes, comments, and even shares. Become a loyal fan. Every interaction between you and them strengthens your relationship.

When the right moment comes, take the leap and reach out. You must add empathy, sensitivity, and patience once you reach out to them. They put their blood, sweat, and tears into their channels, so this isn’t just business. It’s also a little personal.

Be clear, direct, and specific with your request, because this makes it easier for them to determine if your two brands  will work well together. You should also be upfront about how much involvement you’re looking to have. Will you hand them the reins completely and let them take over? Do you want to be more hands-on? This detail matters, because some influencers prefer to work one way over the other.

Also tell them how the collaboration will benefit them in return. Are you interested in being a long-term client of theirs? They’ll appreciate this stability.

Some influencers get insanely busy, and a packed schedule might prevent them from saying yes. If they decline your offer purely because of bad timing, keep the conversation going and don’t give up. If you’re considerate, patient, and professional, a collaboration might be in your near future.

Final Note: Which Platform Should You Focus On?

We want to leave you with one last important detail that will help you along the way. Rarely do influencers devote their time to multiple social media channels. This is understandable, since each channel is so unique and requires a different approach and plenty of  individual attention.

Thus, you’re going to be looking for Instagram influencers or Facebook influencers or YouTube influencers.

But which one?

Research tells us that Instagram is the place to be. Over 90% of influencers are focusing on that platform the most. Next in line is YouTube, with around 12% of influencers putting their attention there. It’s small in comparison to IG, but it’s growing.

The takeaway? Your best bet is to focus on how to find an influencer on Instagram.

Have you worked with an influencer? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments section below!