Influencer marketing is the fastest-growing channel for customer acquisition, and 76% of marketers consider it an effective strategy for boosting customer loyalty. But finding the right influencer for each specific campaign can be a difficult task for marketers because of the many variables that come into play.
Log onto any social media platform — Instagram, Twitter or even TikTok — and you’ll find hundreds of influencers, from smaller-scale, niche influencers to big celebrities promoting thousands of different products and services to their followers.
Certain influencers gel well with certain industries and products. Likewise, not every influencer will prove to be a good fit for your own brand. However, seeing as 89% of brands say ROI from influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other marketing channels, it’s well worth your time to find a brand ambassador that truly fits with your brand’s values, tone, and style.
If you want to launch a truly effective influencer marketing campaign, you need to find the perfect influencer for the job. And if you’re new to influencer marketing, defining your campaign goals to test the program will be instrumental to proving success.
Campaign Approach: Start by Defining Your Influencer Campaign
Before you even start looking for an influencer, it’s essential to have a specific goal in mind for your campaign. Some people are naturally better at certain kinds of collaborations than others, especially in smaller, more focused areas.
Start your process by determining the exact nature of the influencer collaboration that you wish to achieve. There are plenty of different possible collaborations to consider, including:
- Product placements. This is one of the oldest, most effective forms of advertising through video content. Nowadays, product placement could look like having an influencer post a branded post on Instagram featuring your product. They can either make the entire post related to your brand or simply tag the product in their photo with your brand’s handle.
Each influencer has a different way of styling product placement posts. It’s crucial to find someone who will present your products in a favorable way. Decide what type of media you hope to gain from your influencer, starting with these ideas:
- Instructional videos. How-to videos provide plenty of room for influencer marketing strategies. You can, of course, launch your own branded instructional videos. But having an influencer do so on your behalf may result in a more natural and creative video infused with their unique style.
Influencer Alexa Raye’s Nail Dip review and unboxing video on Youtube provides another avenue for Revel Nail customers to learn about the product from a creator they look up to.
- Unboxing Videos. One of the key reasons why users watch unboxing videos is to see what a product looks like in reality, as product pictures can feel misleading. Giving your audience the first real look of your product through the experience of someone whose content they already love on social media will promote purchase confidence.
- Competitions and giveaways. Contests and giveaways are nothing new in the marketing industry. But many modern brands are pairing with influencers to make these special offers even more engaging. Launching contests alongside an influencer gives you access to their sphere of influence. This could win you valuable new leads and customers.
- Personalized posts. Let the influencer tell their audience exactly how they use your product, with their own creative spin on it.
The key to launching an effective influencer contest is to find an interesting and preferably well-known influencer to head up your campaign to generate the right level of interest.
5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Influencer
Use an Influencer Marketing Platform
With search filters for location, follower size, engagement rate, and more, you can discover brand advocates who align best with your brand’s values and audience. With an influencer platform, you can also manage and engage with these 1:1 relationships your partnership continues. This is also a good choice because you have the option to measure the impact and ROI of your influencer campaigns in one place, rather than calculating metrics separately.
Discover Influencers Already Talking about your Brand
Take influencer discovery a step further by looking at your existing fans. Your best influencers are probably already talking about your brand, so it’s worth it to see what potential influential accounts engage with your brand regularly.
You may already have industry-specific influencers in your “followers” list. Better still, some may already be mentioning your products on their accounts! Look through your tags and mentions to see who’s already talking about your brand, and if any of your existing fans would be a good fit (or follow someone who would be). Social listening tools can streamline this process by taking out some of the manual searching.
Revel Nail uses Pixlee to source gorgeous content from nail art influencers already using their products.
Followers with strong affinities for your brand are a strong source of authentic user-generated content (UGC), which can often be just as powerful as influencer marketing, if not more. Plus, UGC is free!
Another great approach involves using influencer-related hashtags to find influencers in your specific niche. For example, if you are in the US beauty industry, you could search hashtags like #beautyinfluencers, #beautyinfluencersUSA, and apply filters to find potential influencers.
Influencer @dearsaturdays captions a post with common hashtags used by food Instagrammers, and Levain Bakery is able to easily find and reshare her content.
Over and above hashtags, which only work on certain platforms, you can use keywords to find top results for your search. If you see certain personalities speaking about certain topics frequently under those keywords, it’s very likely that they are influencers in their niches.
Consider Launching an Ambassador Program
Successful influencers are those who keep up to date with the latest trends, developments and newcomers in their industries. They tend to follow many of the brands in these niches, regardless of whether or not they have collaborated with them, to build an audience.
KiraGrace builds lasting relationships with yogis and other active lifestyle influencers, making use of affiliate links and free products for ongoing ambassador campaigns.
Build relationships with more niche, smaller-scale micro-influencers, and you may be able to retain them as ambassadors for your brand rather than partners for a one-off campaign.
Embrace Employee Advocates
Like your biggest fans on social media, your brand’s own employees can serve as valuable influencers and give behind-the-scenes looks to your brand community through their own content. This is often referred to as employee-generated content
Carnival Cruises shares an employee photo and her story to show its community values on Instagram.
Encourage your team to share their media with you, and snap photos and videos that might be interesting to potential customers. They can post this content on their own social profiles, and you can also reshare it on your brand’s account.
Check Out Your Competitors’ Influencers
Which influencers represent your competitors most regularly? Finding out this information is important for brands of all sizes, but particularly for smaller businesses. Influencers may not have found the pages of smaller brands yet, and it can take time to get your brand noticed by talented influencers. Furthermore, you can get a grasp of what size and type of influencer might work for your brand by analyzing campaigns from brands that resemble yours.
Larger brands can benefit from finding out which influencers support their competitors. This information allows them to size up the competition and win over their rivals’ allies to give themselves a competitive edge.
Get the Influencer Advantage
Our final advice for finding the ideal influencers for your campaigns is to use the right tools. Manual searching is a tedious and time consuming task, although it may be necessary in some cases. However, there are plenty of other tools that can be used to streamline and simplify your search.
Social listening tools are pivotal for any modern social media marketing strategy. They can tell you what people are saying about your brand, your industry, and even your rivals. People who speak about your competitors often may be influencers that you can approach.
To take your influencer marketing campaigns from introductory to impressive, you’ll need to use the right tools. Pixlee’s influencer management suite provides you with all the tools you need to find, manage, publish, and measure influencer content in one easy to use platform. This solution allows you to create and manage influencer campaigns, invite and track influencer participation, assess costs, and measure the true value of your influencer marketing campaigns from a single, centralized platform.
Discovering and managing new influencers has never been easier!