Influencer marketing is a promotional strategy that leverages people who have the capacity to effect brand preferences and associated behaviours. The influencer’s ability to have this impact is typically based on their individual expertise, popularity, or reputation within a target market.
Marketers can use influencer marketing to establish credibility, create social conversations around their brand, or to directly drive sales of their products or services.
Influencer marketing is most commonly executed through the sharing of online content, within an influencer’s networks. This content is often framed as testimonial advertising, where the influencer explicitly shares their positive association with a brand’s products and services. It can also be more subtle, in which the influencer embeds a brand within complementary content, without directly referring to it.
Influencers leverage their social reach, consumer trust and knack for creating effective, original content.
How to Find Influencers for your Brand
The first step in influencer marketing is to identify how to find influencers for your brand. Before you begin your market research process, it’s best to set up pre-defined criteria to determine the extent and type of influence your brand is seeking.
Some examples of criteria that marketers should consider:
Audience reach and engagement.
Although the size of an influencer’s network is important, you’ll want to take note of their engagement levels within that audience. A blogger with 5,000 followers may be more more valuable than one with 20,000 followers, if those 5,000 followers are passionate, engaged and therefore more likely to be influenced.
Demographics of network.
Scope out the characteristics of an influencer’s audience, including countries, languages, age and gender. Don’t assume that the demographics of the influencer will reflect those of their audience.
Quality of content.
Examine the influencer’s existing writing, photography and video content to ensure it aligns with the caliber of your brand.
Once you’ve established the criteria for your Influencer Marketing campaign, you can begin your market research by monitoring social media, researching relevant hashtags, and creating google alerts for specific keywords. The goal is to establish an initial list of influencers who are already creating content that’s relevant to your brand.
What is a Micro Influencer?
As consumers have steadily lost trust in advertising, there has been a shift to preferring genuine recommendations from friends and family. Micro influencers are characterized as relatable, genuine and trustworthy. They tend to have better engagement rates and more targeted audiences. Unlike celebrities and influencers with networks in the millions, miro-influencers are typically more accessible and come at a more affordable rate. (Learn more about why people relate to micro influencers by checking out our post Why People Relate To Micro Influencers.
Celebrities can charge up to $187,500 for a post on YouTube, $75,000 on Instagram and $30,000 for a post on Twitter. If you look at micro influencers on Instagram, 97% charge less than $500 per promotional post. Learn more about How To Pay a Micro Influencer.
How many followers does a micro influencer have?
Micro influencers are often bloggers, journalists, or people with a specific career focus. They typically have anywhere from 1000 to 100,000 followers on one or more social media channels. Learn more about the Characteristics of Micro Influencers
How to Find Micro Influencers
The best micro influencers are your current customers and fans of your brand. Go through your social media following and existing brand mentions to create an initial list. Target people that have 1,000-100,000 followers. These micro influential fans will require less effort when creating a partnership, and the resulting content will be more authentic.
Come up with your brand’s persona and align on the specific audience you want your influencer to attract. Regardless of how powerful the influencer’s following is, your influencer marketing campaign won’t produce a high ROI if the content doesn’t reach the people who care.
Qoints AI Social Discovery tool takes the manually prospecting out of searching for micro influencers. We automate the process of building lists of potential micro influencers and can analyze any Twitter handle.
Macro vs Micro Influencers
Macro influencers are often celebrities with large fan bases and followings (1M plus), while micro influencers have a smaller following (1k-100k) and are experts in a particular niche. There has been a recent shift towards micro influencers due to an increase in engagement and ROI from these partnerships. (Read more about why micro influencers are yielding better results in our post Macro vs Micro Influencers)
What are Social Media Influencers?
Social Media Influencers are people who have built a reputation for knowledge on a particular topic, and who regularly share content related to this topic on their preferred social media channels. Social Media Influencers can include celebrities and athletes with large followings, or can be thought leaders within their domains, such as bloggers and journalists. The key distinction here is knowing which channels are most effective for your brand’s influencer marketing campaign.
What are Twitter Influencers?
It can be difficult to get noticed on popular social media platforms like Twitter. There are roughly 500 million tweets sent each day, so even when you’re actively sharing content from your brand channel, it can easily get lost in the noise by your target audience. Working with a Twitter Influencer, is great for marketers looking to start conversations about their brands, or for those looking to drive traffic to specific web pages.
What Makes a Good Twitter Influencer?
Twitter Influencers tend to fall into one of three categories:
Hub Influencers – Those with a reputation and history of starting conversations within their networks of influence. They’re often the primary source for new topics being discussed and are the Twitter accounts that trigger virality, hashtags and trends.
Bridge Influencers – Twitter personalities known for sharing primary content and keeping a conversation going, by spreading existing content out further. Content shared by these Twitter influencers has a tremendous opportunity to get retweets, replies and link shares.
Professional Influencers – Those whose actual job is to be an influencer on a specific topic. They can be bloggers, doctors or motivational speakers, and part of their role is to educate their networks. These Twitter Influencers are respected for their knowledge on particular topics and are great for gaining credibility for a brand’s products or services.
How to find Twitter Influencers
You can use Twitter Advanced Search or third party tools, to sort through accounts based on the criteria we discussed earlier. Look up hashtags and sort by ‘top posts’ when searching through Twitter natively.
Once you’ve identified potential Twitter Influencers you would like to work with, it’s time to reach out to them. Social media is personal and your outreach should reflect that. Start following their Twitter accounts and start a casual conversation. Retweet their content so you can begin introducing their personality to your followers and gauge fit. Think about how you can make your arrangement mutually beneficial for the influencer, by offering to write a guest post for their blog or sending free samples they can choose to review.
What are Instagram Influencers?
Instagram’s community is made up of more than 600 million Instagrammers, and has been a go-to platform for visual content and creative storytelling for brands. Their latest algorithm changes, have resulted in posts being shown to users based on engagement versus chronological order. This shift has made working with Instagram Influencers even more desirable for marketers.
Instagram Influencers often see themselves as artists, and are known for producing original content. They have a knack for knowing what kinds of content their followers will engage with. The Instagram platform allows users to share photos and videos, making Instagram Influencers a great fit for product-based businesses and brands with a strong visual identity.
How to Find Instagram Influencers
Marketers should target Instagram Influencers that get results. More important than their reach, should be their engagement and ability to get likes and comments on their content. Instagram Influencers who are consistently posting content tend to have higher engagement rates, so frequency of their posts will be important as you conduct your research. Also take note of their existing sponsored content to ensure they are not already working with a competitor or brand that goes against your values.
Marketly’s regression analysis explored the correlation between number of Instagram followers and respective engagement rates. They found that accounts with ~1,000 followers attained an 8% engagement rate, while accounts will ~1 million followers had a 1.7% engagement rate on average.
Ultimately you’ll want to make sure you like what you see. Instagram is a very visual platform that allows Instagram Influencers to very quickly and effectively create positive brand associations for your products or services. Ensure you get that same feeling when you review their existing sponsored content.
What are Youtube Influencers?
YouTube Influencers, also known as YouTube Creators, are individuals who produce video content for the YouTube platform. This can include casual vloggers who produce content using their smartphones or more sophisticated influencers who leverage full production teams to shoot TV-quality, scripted content.
YouTube influencers are natural marketers and on-camera talent. Their ability to regularly engage with their viewers allows them to build loyal audiences and authentic fans. This means that their followers trust what they have to say, and turn to them for brand and product recommendations, making YouTube influencers a great fit for influencer marketing campaigns.
How to Find YouTube Influencers
The 2017 State of the Creator Economy study found that more people visit YouTube each year than Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other social media site. Given the widespread adoption of video content and the stickiness of the YouTube platform, YouTube has attracted influencers across a variety of industries. You’ll want to ensure your brand fits with the YouTube influencer’s existing content and is therefore, more likely to be a company that the influencer would be proud to represent.
Having a clear and concise pitch that outlines expectations and benefits for both parties will show the YouTube Influencer that you’ve thought this through and see this as a partnership. The more established the YouTuber, the more offers they’ll be getting on a daily basis.
Think about the framework of the messaging you would like the YouTuber to work with and include this in your pitch when you reach out to them. You’ll want to leave it to the YouTuber to create an authentic story on their own versus providing them with a rigid script. Having the content appear too much like an advertisement defeats the purpose of working with a YouTube creator and can harm the campaign performance significantly.
What are LinkedIn Influencers?
LinkedIn’s platform is often disregarded from the influencer marketing conversation despite its effectiveness with B2B brands. The LinkedIn platform is an excellent channel for generating reach, engagement and traffic towards B2B content.
LinkedIn has its own Influencer program that’s governed on an invitation-only basis. Their influencers comprise of global leaders and innovators within their industries and geographies; they are authorities on news and trending topics. LinkedIn governs their platform’s official influencer program, recognizing top influencers like Richard Branson, Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington. These celebrity-like figures, are out of reach for most marketers. There are however a number of very successful micro influencers on LinkedIn that make for great partners with B2B brands.
Working with micro influencers on LinkedIn comes with unique partnership opportunities:
LinkedIn Articles: LinkedIn has a built-in publishing platform that allows LinkedIn influencers to blog long-form content directly onto their network. Working with a LinkedIn Influencer to create an original piece of thought leadership content, is an excellent way to integrate your brand into an industry conversation, while reaching a relevant audience.
LinkedIn Company Pages: Consider working with LinkedIn influencers who are leaders within organizations within your industry and therefore manage an existing Company Page on LinkedIn. Having leaders of another organization endorse your product or service on their own company page, creates credibility and a warm referral to complementary customer bases.
Distributing Content: Working with LinkedIn Influencers is a great opportunity to organically extend the reach of your current content. Having an influencer reshare and engage with the content from your brand’s company page can amplify its reach and will be more effective coming from a trusted third party.
How to Find LinkedIn Influencers
When identifying LinkedIn Influencers for your influencer marketing campaign, you’ll want to follow many of the same principles we’ve previously discussed. Ensure the influencer has an audience that’s relevant to your brand and has the ability to effectively impact the behaviour of their following.
Identify the keywords associated with your existing B2B content and search for individuals who have previously generated original content related to that topic. By using LinkedIn’s publishing tool, you can easily see what kind of engagement the Influencer’s existing content has and examine the people who typically comment on their posts.
Collecting a small sample size to ensure it aligns with the goals for your influencer marketing campaign can also help you during your pitch to the influencer. Reference their existing content and indicate how your brand complements their work and professional passions. Make it easy for the influencer to see that your brand is relevant to their audience and pinpoint the unique aspects of your brand, that they might be interested in covering in a future piece of content.
What is a Fashion Influencer?
With the adoption of social media and blogging, the fashion industry is no longer solely governed by fashion magazines and newspaper editors. Fashion icons of today come in many forms and influencers now have the ability to put a brand on the map, without ever getting on a catwalk.
Fashion influencers often refer to themselves as Brand Ambassadors and typically form longer-term partnerships with brands, resulting in a posting schedule with multiple pieces of content over a period of time.
Working with Fashion Influencers
Influencer marketing works particularly well within the fashion industry as it’s so visual, giving fashion influencers the ability to stimulate imagination and create new trends. Visual platforms, such as Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube are predominantly leveraged for fashion-based influencer marketing campaigns.
Fashion influencers are relatable and therefore bridge the gap between runway models wearing designer labels and everyday consumers. Their followers are able to see regular people, just like them, wear these brands which helps to make the realization that they too can pull off a particular ensemble.
Who are the top Fashion Influencers?
Danielle Bernstein launched her blog, We Wore What, as a hobby when she was a sophomore in college. She now has over 1 million followers on Instagram where brands pay her up to $20,000 per post. She was rated in Forbes’ 2017 30 Under 30.
Bryan Yambao launched his fashion and travel blog, Bryanboy, in 2014. He’s known for sitting front row at major fashion shows worldwide and has collaborated with brands such as Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren and American Express.
Chiara Ferragni began building her empire as an influencer with the launch of her blog, The Blonde Salad. She currently sits at number one in Forbes’ Top Influencers list and her Harvard case study on the business of blogging, reported she generated over $9 million in revenue from it in 2015.
What is a Fitness Influencer?
The global business of wellness is now worth $3.7 trillion and as our culture continues to become more active and health-conscious, the power of fitness influencers is rising with it. The most popular platforms for fitness influencers, also referred to as fitness entrepreneurs, are Instagram and YouTube.
Hashtags such as #fitfam and #fitspo receive over 270 million impressions per month and influencers who leverage these social media trends are showcasing their fitness journey in a relatable way. They’re often ordinary, approachable people who signal to their followers, if they can do it, so can we.
Working with Fitness Influencers
Unlike influencers in fashion, fitness influencers showcase a particular lifestyle and are not limited to any industry vertical. They are sought after for advice on meal plans, motivation, educational videos and apparel products. This makes fitness influencers a versatile fit for a variety of influencer marketing campaigns.
Fitness influencers are real people, with goals and objectives for their content and communities, just like you. Be respectful of the audience your influencer has built and use your pitch to showcase what the influence can gain by working with your brand. Do your brand values align with the lifestyle they embody? Can you offer them early access to unreleased products? Are you willing to cross-promote their content to you existing audience? Influencers are always looking to grow their communities, and if you have one they are not already tapping into, it can be a real win-win.
Who are the Top Fitness Influencers?
Kayla Itsines is one of the most influential authorities in fitness and was ranked among Time’s Top 30 Most Influential People on the Planet. Her “Sweat With Kayla” app generated $17 million in revenue in 2016 and she currently has over 8 million followers on Instagram.
Simeon Panda has a collective social media following of over 9 million and was ranked as a Forbes 2017 Top Fitness Influencer. He has graced the covers of several fitness magazines and has now launched his own line of sportswear, gym accessories and ebooks.
Cassey Ho of Blogilates is a fitness influencer creating viral videos on YouTube. Her unique style of Pop Pilates promosies to sculpt your body into a dancer’s physique. Her Call Me Maybe Mighty Squat Challenge Workout currently has over 7 million views on YouTube.
What is a Travel Influencer?
Travel influencers are predominantly digital savvy professionals who have quit their traditional full-time jobs and now spend their days traveling the word and sharing their journey with the followers they’ve attracted. They are living freedom-based, aspirational lifestyles that resonate with mass amounts of people globally, who find that way of life appealing.
Travel influencers leverage their social media influence to partner with brands to promote various travel destinations, experienced-based services, or products that are associated with travel. The openness at which travel influencers share their journeys, makes the content they produce more trustworthy and entertaining than traditional advertisements.
Working with Travel Influencers
The travel and hospitality industry has kept pace with social media marketing trends, including influencer marketing. Research has found that 84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are likely or very likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s vacation photos or social media. This behaviour has benefited the travel industry greatly.
Working with travel influencers for your influencer marketing campaign allows you to reap positive reviews for your offering, while getting a targeted audience of people engaging with your brand. Like any influencer marketing campaign, the key will be finding an audience that legitimately fits with your brand offering.
Working with travel influencers can be more affordable than working with influencers in other industries, as travel influencers are often happy to accept contra deals to decrease their expenses while traveling. For example, Marriot has hired influencers to stay at their hotels and lead social media campaigns, and Southwest airlines funded 5-star accommodations and airfare for influencers who took part in their #southwestpassport campaign.
Who are the Top Travel Influencers?
The Blonde Abroad is a California native who left her career in corporate finance to become a world traveler. She’s travelled to over 50 countries, documenting her experiences by blogging and vlogging. She’s worked with the world’s top travel companies and destinations including G Adventures, Yacht Week and Hipmunk.
Erin Stoen (@TravelBabbo) is a family-travel writer, taking photos of his children exploring various locations around the world. He’s been ranked as the World’s #4 Travel Influencer by Forbes and is a brand ambassador for Travelocity, AFAR & Universal Orlando.
Damon and Jo are multilingual YouTubers and Travel Influencers with more than 750,000 subscribers. Each week they post videos in various languages and produce content on their blog, Shut Up and Go, that’s targeted to millennials who want to travel inexpensively.
What is an Event Influencer?
An Event Influencer, is a Social Media Influencer who leverages their loyal following to promote an event on behalf of a brand partner. Often the Event Influencer, is a speaker or emcee of the event itself, and has agreed to promote the event as part of their speaking fee.
Alternatively, an Event Influencer can be an external influencer who has a relevant following within the geography that the event is taking place and is naturally passionate and excited about the topic of the event itself.
Working with Event Influencers
Working with an Event Influencer gives your event marketing a stamp of approval; if they’re going to be there, that’s a room I want to be in. Event Influencers are trustworthy and are credible spokespeople about where their followers should spend their time and money when selecting an event to attend.
When working with your Event Influencer, make it easy for them to follow through on the partnership. Provide your influencer with key event information including event hashtags, the precise venue location for geotagging, and marketing materials that are customized for various social media platforms. You may consider offering a discount code for your influencer’s followers or encouraging the influencer to run a contest to win free tickets to the event itself.
Working with an influencer during the event can also be effective in creating excitement and stir attendance for future events. Determine whether you’re willing to capture and share real-event event footage and reach people who could not attend your event this time. You can do this by partnering with your Event Influencer to conduct a Facebook or Instagram live video broadcast during your event.
As you can see, the possibilities are really endless when it comes to working with influencers, of any type. Being able to zero in on who are the best influencers for your brand is really what will take your influencer marketing efforts to new heights. The untapped potential of influencers is astronomical, as you can see. Leveraging the captive followers of the influencer will allow you to reach new audiences, engage with your customers, boost conversion rates, and subsequently increase sales. The first step is finding the influencers that best fit your brand, and who you’re trying to reach! Let the fun begin! Check out the link below, and try our AI Social Discovery Tool to help find micro influencers for YOUR brand!
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