According to eMarketer, 75% of marketers agree that the most challenging step in rolling out an influencer marketing strategy is identifying the right group of influencers for each campaign.
Almost two years ago, we wrote an article: “The Most Successful Strategy For Influencer Marketing: Test & Invest”. After assessing thousands of influencer collaborations since then, we believe that a test and invest mentality is still the best mindset for brands to have when assembling the influencer roster for their campaigns.
If your brand is just starting with influencer marketing, testing out influencers from a few different verticals can be the best way to find your niche. That being said, not all brands have the ability to test out hundreds of influencers each month. So, in an effort to help brands invest smartly, we have compiled some of our best practices when it comes to identifying the best influencers for your campaign.
One of the great things about social media is hashtags (#) . Hashtags allow creators to Iabel their content, making it easy to find. When you begin your search, research popular hashtags pertaining to your unique industry. Avoid generic terms such as “#food”, “#fashion” or “#travel”. Instead, look for more specific keywords that better identify your product or service. For example, hashtags such as “#whatveganseat” “#hipsterstyle” or “globetrotter” can generate better results and help you narrow your search.
Does your company have a branded hashtag? If so, start here first. You may find that some influencers are already fans of your brand. Influencers who have already used and loved your products will generally be more willing to collaborate with you and may even charge lower rates!
2. Search related accounts
Instagram and YouTube profiles both feature related profile suggestions. This is a great place to start if your brand has already worked with a few influencers that you know align with your aesthetic, message, and budget
By clicking the arrow next to someone’s username on Instagram or by browsing the “related channels” section on youtube, you will be brought to the pages of other influencers who create similar content and have a comparable reach.
Related accounts are suggestions based on:
- similar location
- mutual friends
- content type
3. Search through your favorite influencer’s tagged pictures or following list
When it comes to finding influencers for your campaign, Instagram stalking is completely acceptable. If you have run a successful campaign with an influencer, browse through the people they are following. Often times, influencers follow people with similar interests and content.
Don’t forget to browse through influencers tagged pictures to find other influencers who may be in the same space. Ever heard the term birds of a feather flock together? Lots of influencers are friends with other influencers in real life! As an added bonus, if your brand collaborates with a group of friends, you are given an opportunity for some highly engaging group content.
4. Use a third party tool
Searching for influencers through Instagram, Youtube, and Google can be time consuming and is often not scalable. If your brand is ready to ramp up your influencer program, consider using a third party tool to help you streamline this process. For example, Revfluence's software intelligently recommends influencers for hundreds of brands. These recommendations are suggestions based on tags or keywords that range from broad verticals such as “fashion” or “fitness” to niche demographics such as “vegan food” or “pet owners”. Using a tool like this can save dozens of hours per week.
Once you have identified an influencer that aligns with your brand's vision, ask yourself the following:
- What brands have they worked with previously?
- What type of content generates the most engagement on their social channels?
- What is their target audience?
- Does their personal brand align with my company’s identity?
- would my product fit organically on their feed?
- Also consider the quality of their content, frequency of posting and their overall aesthetic.
Remember, the goal of influencer marketing is to create long-term relationships with people who can authentically promote your brand.