It’s very easy to find mega-influencers: a simple Google search for “top influencers” returns thousands of blog articles that feature names you’ve probably heard before, like Kylie Jenner, Alexa Chung, or Huda Kattan. These lists are great if you’re looking for influencers to follow on Instagram (and envy their celebrity-status lifestyles), but they are oftentimes not meant for businesses who look to collaborate with influencers. Unless of course, you can afford the Jenners or Hadids of the world.
Businesses typically look to work with smaller influencers who better fit their niches. While micro-influencers are more beneficial for your business, it’s not always easy to find them. For example, if you’re a brand-new organic dog treat company looking for influencers to promote your Seattle store opening, where do you even begin?
First, know who your ideal influencer is
This is the most fun part as you can let your creativity run wild as you imagine your ideal influencer and how they might promote your business. But it’s not always the easiest part, because you need to be realistic as well. Maybe you have dreamed about Jake Gyllenhaal and his puggle Boo Radley to promote your dog treat company (I mean, have you seen Jake Gyllenhaal and Boo Radley together?), or Kendall Jenner to shower your beauty products with compliments to her 121M Instagram followers – but for a lot of us, that’s not realistic.
In reality, the influencers who will promote your products better are those who:
- Fit your product’s targeted audience
- Share the same voice and values with your brand
- Have a number of followers that fit your budget and goals
- Have excellent engagement with those followers
And then we go into details that depend on your type of campaign, such as:
- Location, age range, and gender
- What brands they’ve worked with
- Their audience demographics (Hint: These are the people that will eventually become your customers!)
So, using our previous example of an organic dog treat company with a new store opening in Seattle, you might want to find influencers who:
- Are dog owners (or at least talk about dogs frequently)
- Care about organic ingredients
- Have between 10k followers to 50k followers (since you’re a new company that doesn’t have a huge budget yet)
- Engagement rate above 4%
- Based in the Seattle area
- Have the majority of their audience based in the U.S.
- A plus if they haven’t worked with your competitors.
So, that’s your ideal influencer! Now, how do you go about finding them?
Keywords, keywords, keywords
If you’re searching for influencers manually, or with platforms like Upfluence, you might want to start out with the right set of keywords. These keywords can narrow down your list of suitable influencers. So what are the keywords you can use?
First off, the obvious: The industry your company is in, the product you offer, your main type of consumer, your main selling points.
For example: dog, dog owner, pet dog, pet food, dog treat, organic, organic dog treat, etc.
Then, don’t forget the hashtags that your ideal influencers might use in their community.
For example: #dogstagram, #dogsofinstagram, #doglovers, #instadog, etc.
After that, go deeper. Think about even more specific terms that your influencers might use. Think about influencers who are dog owners – they have likely mentioned their dog breed at some point, right?
Example: pug, dalmatian, husky, pitbull, etc.
Finally, don’t forget the brands these influencers might mention. You can search for products that are related to your consumers but aren’t directly your competitor – or, search for your competitors. You know you want to! In fact, you really already should have!
Example: BarkShop (dog toy company), Canine Matrix, Petco, etc.
Don’t be afraid to try different variations of keywords and be creative with them. If you come across a hashtag that seems to generate a lot of results, make sure you find similar hashtags. Best-hashtags.com is a free website for you to find related hashtags and rank each hashtag based on their popularity!
Choose a platform, following range, and engagement rate based on your campaign
There are a handful of social media platforms that you can find influencers on: Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Twitch, TikTok, etc. Your campaign type will determine which platform you choose. We also recommend focusing on one platform at a time, since most influencers have multiple social media accounts, but they tend to focus on only one or two of them.
After choosing a platform, make sure you define how many followers the influencers should have. This number is directly related to your campaign budget: A bigger budget can typically call for influencers with a larger following, and vice versa.
However, your budget is not the only determining factor for your influencers’ size. In our Product vs. Payment article, we also discuss different factors such as brand association, good cause, etc. It’s imperative that you understand your company goals: maybe you want to allocate your budget to 30 micro-influencers, instead of 3 macro-influencers for the same amount?
As always, remember that the engagement rate is almost always the most important factor in your campaign. Check out our “6 Influencer Metrics to Help You Select the Right Influencers” to understand more about engagement rate, following size, and other key figures such as reach, impressions, or brand mention frequencies!
Where in the world are these influencers?
No, seriously, where in the world do you want these influencers to be? Especially if your product or services are only offered in certain countries, you’d need to find influencers who are located accordingly. With the Upfluence software, you can find influencers located in specific cities as well, making it ultra-easy to find the perfect influencers to promote your event, store, or any location-specific campaign.
While you’re looking for influencers in a specific area, make sure their audience is also largely from the same location. If your company is based in Canada, and you’re looking for a Canadian influencer – always make sure their engaged followers are also in Canada. If more than 50% of their followers are in Canada – you’re golden!
Be specific about age and gender – or not!
Depending on your product, you might need to care about the influencers’ and their audience’s age and gender demographics. If you are a beard oil company that wants to target greying beards, your best bet would be male influencers between 35 and 55 years old, right? But don’t forget women between 35 and 55 could purchase this product for their boyfriends or husbands as well.
Either way, if you do have a specific demographic you’re looking for, don’t forget to mirror the same requirements for their audience demographic. For example, there are a lot of female influencers whose main audience are men, and vice versa. Make sure you target the right influencers with the right followings!
Experiment with different lists!
A theme throughout this article, as well as a theme at Upfluence, is that we encourage brands and agencies to be creative and experimental with their campaigns. That’s why we offer a robust search tool for you to have complete freedom over who you want to work with. That means you can play around with different metrics in order to evaluate which type of influencers work best for your brand. You might be surprised!
We encourage you to build different lists of influencers who can benefit from your product. Back to the dog treat company example:
- List 1: Dog owners with 10k – 50k followers on Instagram
- List 2: Pet owners with 20k – 40k subscribers on Youtube
- List 3: Bloggers who talk about organic products frequently.
What NOT to do when searching for influencers?
Finding the right influencers is the most important first step towards a successful influencer campaign. The better the fit with your company, the more likely they are to say “yes” to collaboration. Natural collaboration is always more successful. For this to happen, make sure you avoid:
- Choosing influencers who are too far off of your target audience. This is obvious, but unfortunately, there are brands who carelessly reach out to cat owners for their dog treat products, or vegan influencers for their meat-based meal plans. Make sure you do your research and don’t be one of them!
- Having incredibly strict restrictions. Although you should care about many of the metrics mentioned above, make sure you let your search have some space to include enough influencers. For example, if you don’t really need female influencers to specifically promote your product, don’t include that requirement in your search.
- Having too few requirements. Alternatively, you don’t want to find millions or thousands of results that you need to weed through, because most likely, a lot of them are not relevant enough.
That’s it! Admittedly, depending on your industry, campaign type, and goals, this process can be simpler or more involved. Softwares like Upfluence can help you cut down a lot of time and effort when searching for the right influencers for your niche, so you can focus on the actual campaigns themselves: Outreaching, relationship nurturing, campaign executing, and tracking all of your performances!
Are you ready to find out all the potential influencers that can be excellent advocates for your brand? Let us show you how!