Finding Influencers to Connect With
The influencer market has been estimated to be worth over $2 billion last year and is likely to reach $10 billion by 2020, according to AdWeek. (source: https://www.adweek.com/digital/giordano-contestabile-activate-by-bloglovin-guest-post-influencer-marketing-in-2018/)
Shouldn’t you be jumping in on this now?
There is a lot of evidence that Influencer marketing is an incredibly successful form of getting a brand’s message into the people who are likely to buy it. Brands are using influencers more than ever to build awareness, drive visitors to your site, and create content.
Influencers come from every background and industry. Their followers can range from a few thousand to millions. However, one thing they all have in common is their ability to influence others that comes from their social media stardom from the defined audience they have built.
Influencers give the human voice to any brand they promote. It’s a way to create an authentic connection to customers. These power users can help your customers decide on their buying choices.
Not everyone who has a blog, social media account or is in business is an influencer or is right for your business. The ones you want to work with are trusted resources unique to your field or service or product.
For example, if you want to connect with an influencer on low carb cooking, you’ll want people who are:
- People with popular low carb cooking Instagram accounts
- Low carb cooking bloggers who write for major recipe sites or have their own cookbooks
- Low carb lifestyle experts
- TV chef personalities
- Brands that cater to low carb ingredients
Knowing you need to jump in right now is one thing. Knowing how and where to find influencers to connect with is another. This guide will give you what you need to know so you can begin working with influencers right away.
In it, you will learn how to find influencers, the platforms, and the tools that streamline the process. In addition, you’ll find tips for pitching influencers once you find them. There are plenty of examples of ideas as well. You’ll also learn how to build relationships with influencers.
Where to Find Influencers
Before you can begin your own influencer campaign, you need to find the right influencers you want to work with. You can do that in several ways
Monitor Your Social Media. Look at who’s commenting on your blog posts. Who’s sharing your content? Do they have an engaged following? These mentions help you see which people already know your brand and products.
Monitor Relatable Hashtags. Following hashtags related to your brand takes you to the social conversations in your niche and the bloggers and active people in your niche.
Set up Google Alerts. This allows you to set alerts for keywords related to your brand. You are then notified when someone uses those words online. You then check out the blog’s author or the people talking actively online about the topics to see if they are a good fit for your brand.
Do a Detailed Google Search. This free method of finding influencers allows you to find influencers for specific terms. For example, if you are looking for local bloggers in your city to reach out to. So if you sell yoga pants and mats, search “health, fitness bloggers in (enter your city)”.
Hire Others to Search for You. Influencer agents connect influencers with brands. They act as a go-between person. The advantage of hiring an agent is the time you will save doing the research yourself.
Use Tools and Platforms. Influencer marketing tools and platforms are places or tools you can use to find the right influencers for yourself.
Influencers are everywhere, and you can find influencers in your niche using the techniques outlined here.
Now that you know the different ways to find influencers let’s explore influencer platforms a little more. In the past few years, influencer platforms and tools have been developed to help you find the right influencer.
Influencer marketing platforms offer a way for brands to connect with and work with influencers they have listed. They help influencers monetize their social media channels. The platforms are designed to help brands connect with potential customers and increase engagement.
The basic way influencer platforms work for both sides is this. Every influencer who is listed gets a profile providing contact information and social media statistics for them. Each brand looking for a particular influencer to work with can search the platform database to find the right influencer to work with. When the brand and influencer begin working together, the platform supplies statistics. These measure the impact of the promotion.
Most of the platforms focus on:
- Search and discovering based on specific filters
- Contact and contract management to provide contact information, negotiate payments, and hire influencers.
- Campaign content management manages the ad text and graphics, the hashtags, mentions, and other items related to campaigns.
- Analytics and reports of the impact the influencer campaign has for the brand or product. It might contain ROI, engagements, views, reach and URL tracking.
Before you choose a platform to work with, you need to know what you want to get from it. Do you want a do-it-all platform? Are you looking for specific analysis of specific social media platforms? Are you focusing on micro-influencers, nano-influencers, or mega-influencers?
Let’s look at a few.
- Up-fluencer is a do-it-all influencer marketing software designed to find relevant influences and set up or monitor your own influencer marketing campaign. It features over 1.2 million influencers across 250 industries. You can do a search by location, engagement rates, traffic history, or some other filter. You can then see their latest social media and blog posts. You can contact them directly through the software.
- TapInfluence is an influencer marketplace for influencers and content creators where brands can connect through a variety of search options. These include types of content produced, keywords and topics, location, and interests. Discover influencers, workflow answers, measure analytics and ROI, and amplify the distribution of content for an ad campaign.
- The tribe is positioned as a company that focuses on the work and creativity behind your brand. It doesn’t focus on follower count. This is good for new influencers just getting started. It is a self-serve marketplace that connects brands and micro-influencers.
- Followerwonk is a free tool from Moz. It allows you to find influencers on Twitter by using keywords, location, name, or URLs. You can build a list of potential influencers and keep it organized by using Twitter lists.
- Hyper has a database of over 10 million influencers with an extensive demographic database on each of their followers. They provide real-time social analytics. It includes dedicating account managers to assist you.
- Trendspottr is an app that helps you find influencers on Instagram.
- Scrunch is a platform that allows you to search for and find micro-influencers quickly. They can be filtered based on category. It has one of the biggest social media profiles databases at over 20 million.
- Traackr is one of the pioneers in influencer marketing tools. It’s been around since 2008. It specializes in influencer relationship management with many management tools available. It provides a robust search engine with numerous search filter options. Traackr uses a hybrid approach to its database using a combination of human curation involvement and algorithms collecting data.
- Zoho Social is a social media management platform designed to make it easy to tag and interact with influencers on social media. It is not a free platform, however.
No matter what type of influencer you want to work with, or whether they are a micro-influencer or big influencer, using one or more of these tools and platforms can connect you.
Pitching Influencers Tips
There are millions of influencers out there. Finding ones to work with is a matter of narrowing it down to the ones who are the right fit for both of you. When pitching to influencers, you want to do so in a manner that won’t send them scurrying away from you.
Follow these tips to pitch to influencers.
- Take the time to get to know the influencer before pitching them. Study them carefully. Observe their behavior, activity, how the talk (jargon) and learn more about their work.
Doing this will help you understand them and their values, interests, and personality. Knowing them better gives you a better idea of how to approach them. In addition, it gives you a better idea of how well they will fit into your own marketing campaign.
What kind of jargon do they use? Which channel do they use the most and would be effective for connecting with them? What benefits can you highlight to make a compelling offer? Do they engage often with their fans? Is their values and voice in alignment with yours?
- Create a compelling offer based on what you learned about the influencer, on your campaign budget and the requirements you need. Personalize the offer for each influencer. This allows you to avoid over-compensating some influencers and low-balling others.
You can highlight the financial aspects of your offer but customize it to the interests and values of each influencer. For example, maybe you are reaching out to an influencer who has a passion for saving wildlife. You can talk about how your brand donates a dollar from every purchase towards wildlife rescue groups and how a partnership with you can help save more wild animals.
- Begin reaching out to potential influencers through email or direct messages on social media platforms. One way to do this is to use influencer-marketing platforms to automate the process and customize their outreach templates.
Your message or email should include the following:
- Start with recognition or appreciation of their work.
- Introduce yourself and your brand you represent in a line or two.
- Use two sentences to tell them why you are reaching out to them. Tell them why you chose them.
- Introduce and talk about your campaign and the offer. Describe the main goal of the campaign, such as driving sales or promoting a new product. Then make your offer while highlighting the biggest benefits of working together on the campaign.
- Close by offering to talk to them about the specifics if they are interested. Alternatively, share a link or document with more detailed information.
- Pose the pitch as to how you are benefiting them. Is it more traffic, to be well compensated, or some other reason?
- Be specific but to the point. Influencers receive a good number of pitches every day, often not having the time to take 10 minutes or more reading a long email or message.
- Set a deadline for them to respond to your offer.
- Think in the long-term ROI of working with an influencer. Create a long-term strategy with them.
- Be patient. Don’t be pushy expecting to build a relationship after one email or post. Continue to build a relationship, interacting with them on social media but not in a stalker kind of way.
Pitching influencers is both an art and a business. You need to be assertive in making yourself visible but not overly aggressive to the influencer. You need to be seen where they are but not be stalking them. Use these tips to pitch influencers the right way.
Best Practices Tips
When pitching influencers and building relationships with them, it’s important to do things in a way that isn’t sales, pushy or that makes them feel like you’re stalking them.
Here are 5 best practices tips to follow when connecting.
Tip #1: Be Non-Aggressive. Reach out to influencers after doing some strategic planning behind your first efforts to reach out to them. Don’t go to their Instagram account and like 30 of their posts from a previous year and then suddenly start messaging and sharing their posts.
Instead, engage and become acquainted with them. Build a relationship first slowly. Then, send your first message. Back off for a short period and then send a second message, if they haven’t responded to the first one.
Tip #2: Hang Out Where They Participate. The social web is filled with tons of conversations on various platforms. Influencers are participating in many of them. You can find influencers on Reddit, LinkedIn Groups, niche webinars, and many other places where you can join in the conversations
For instance, Twitter has weekly chats that are organized by a common hashtag. One example is #SmallBizChat that takes place on certain days and times each week. The chats are led by one person, but you can join the conversations by participating weekly. Then when you reach out, your target influencer will recognize your Twitter handle and be more receptive to you. There are Twitter chats on almost every industry as seen in this extensive list. (source: https://www.tweetreports.com/twitter-chat-schedule/)
Tip #3: Make a Human Connection whenever possible. Even though they may be Social Media stars, connecting with them in person is impactful. Don’t just show up on their doorstep, though. Instead, attend industry events they are speaking at or attending if you are planning to attend the event.
For example, if you’re the product is an amazing low carb barbecue sauce and you want to connect with a specific influencer in the low carb industry, then attending a low-carb lifestyle event is a natural place to meet them if they are attending.
Then make a natural connection by networking with them. Be prepared with what you want to say but be sure to listen and ask questions about the influencer themselves as a person. Most people love talking about themselves. Keep it light and be sure to pass out your business card.
Tip #4: Use Your Own Network to Meet Influencers. Reach out to people you know who can connect you to the people you want to know. Go through your social media influencer’s friends lists. You might have mutual connections you didn’t know about. Reach out to these mutual friends and ask them to make an introduction to the influencer.
Tip #5: Keep a List of Your Efforts. Keep track of who and how you are reaching out. This keeps you from being overbearing or forgetting about the social media influencers, you want to connect with.
Keep tabs on the dates, times, the method you used to reach out, the success or failure of your attempt so you can see if you are making a good effort to engage with influencers but not annoying them.
Implement these tips when you begin connecting and working with influencers to help things go smoothly. No one wants to feel like they are being pushed or sold to.
Building Relationships with Influencers
Once you have found influencers you want to work with it’s important to build a good relationship with them so you both win. It’s not about how much money/many followers they will bring your way. It’s about building long-term relationships that benefit you both mutually.
- Treat influencers with respect. Respect their time, privacy, and opinions. You should know that influencers need sufficient time to create original content that is engaging for brands. This is important as many influencers have full or part-time jobs aside from being an influencer.
- Reach out to influencers in creative ways. They receive hundreds of emails from others seeking to work with them. Most of them are selective about who they work with. Connect with them by sending a card on their birthday or some milestone event in their life. Attend conferences they recommend. You may naturally run into them. Be creative in how you connect.
- Treat them as collaborators by showing them why they would make an excellent ambassador for you. You want influencers who believe in your brand or service.
- Understand the influencer’s following the same as you would any buyer persona. Base your conversations on that audience’s interests and needs.
- Show that you are passionate about what they care about. Offer to support or help their causes in some way.
- Be genuine and take the time to tell the influencer why you want to work with them. Be curious about them and their followers.
- Connect with them socially. Follow them and comment on their social media accounts, on their blogs, and other places. Promote their services, their products, and their blogs and be genuine in your praise.
Creative Ideas for Collaborating with Influencers
Now that you are building relationships with influencers, you can begin offering ways to work together. Treat these relationships with respect and take care of them. Provide them with some type of value from your end instead of just asking them for favors.
However, don’t just do the run of the mill “I’ll give you this product if you’ll promote me” type of value. Instead, try one of these creative ideas.
Idea #1 Run a joint social media contest that is a fun way for both of you to grow your email list. This will reduce your efforts while doubling or tripling the number of email entries you receive.
Idea #2 Cohost some type of event together. It could be a webinar, local event, or some other type of event. It’s a great way to strengthen the relationship while building your audience.
Idea #3 Create and share a special discount code or offer on websites, social media platforms, and email lists. It could be a special discount price for a specific product or a general discount offer for their next product, for example.
Idea #4 Partner to do a video series together. You can talk about how your products or services work or can be used, swap ideas or answer questions from followers.
Any of these are great creative ways to work with influencers for your brand. Sometimes you don’t want to do the same thing everyone else is doing. You want to be more creative to be seen.
Do this next
This guide has helped you know why you should be working with influencers, how to find influencers to work with, and how they can help you grow your brand awareness. It’s also given you ideas on how to build good influencer relationships and how to work with them creatively.
Most of the success of your influencer campaign will depend on your choice of influencers. It’s important to keep several things in mind when identifying the influencers you should be working with.
- The niche they are in is important and should be relevant to your brand.
- What type of engagement do they have? They may have a lot of followers but low engagement, while another influencer has a lot of engagement from their followers.
- Check the quality of their work. Is their work appealing to look at? Are they over-promoting products or brands too often?
Finding influencers can be done in several ways. Monitoring social media for popular influencers is a popular way to find ones in your niche. Another option is to use platforms like Upfluence and BuzzSumo to find influencers using specific search terms.
Once you’ve found influencers you want to build relationships with them.
Here’s a simple influencer action plan to follow:
- Make sure your blog has the best quality content as possible before contacting the influencer as they won’t share poor quality content. That means it’s easy to read, engaging and unique. It should be easy to identify why it’s worth sharing.
- Begin building a genuine relationship with the influencer. Start by following them on social media, commenting on their posts. Engage with them. Link to their blog posts and websites in your own articles when you can. Ask them quick questions, retweet content, and find ways to get in front of them on a regular basis.
- Keep your pitch simple and genuine. Keep it short and to the point, so they can see what you are offering and how it will benefit them.
- Be creative in how you collaborate with them. Do something unique that benefits you both. Hold a webinar, a video series, or an event of some kind.
Working with influencers helps to grow your brand and enhance recognition. It’s also a great start towards becoming an influencer yourself. After all, part of being in business is to be an influence on others while helping them.