How to Find Influencers for Your Brand: A Complete Guide

June 7, 2024
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Ines Bertani
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How to Find Influencers for Your Brand: A Complete Guide

Every day, more brands are investing in influencer marketing as it has become an ideal and cost-effective strategy for connecting with their target audiences in a more authentic way. However, once you decide to launch an influencer marketing campaign, finding the right influencers who align with your brand and objectives is a key part of the process that can determine your campaign’s success.

Before searching for influencers, there are a few steps you need to take, such as defining your campaign’s objectives, KPIs, budget, and the strategy that will help you achieve them. Then, in order to find the most suitable influencers for your brand, you need to understand first how influencers work, the different types of influencer campaigns, and what factors or metrics are important for choosing or vetoing influencers.

In this guide, you’ll learn the basics of influencer marketing and how to find the right influencers to promote your products on each social media platform, either manually or using certified tools and softwares. Let’s dig in!

Understanding the basics of Influencer Marketing

What is an influencer?

An influencer is someone who has built a loyal and large social media community and can influence their opinions or behavior, having a position of authority in a certain niche or category.

Benefits of working with influencers

By partnering with influencers, brands can leverage their voices and influence to promote products in a more genuine way. The main benefits of working with influencers for brands include:

  • Increased brand awareness, visibility, and reputation: This can result in enhanced online brand engagement, driving traffic to their website and social media channels.
  • Brand credibility: Influencers create engaging content and are a good resource for humanizing brands.
  • Driving sales: Influencer partnerships can effectively increase conversions for products.

Types of Influencer Campaigns

Before reaching out to influencers, it's important to define the type of partnership you wish to propose to them. This decision should be based on your campaign’s specific objectives and budget. Influencer collaborations should be approached as part of a structured strategy rather than just a one-time brand mention. Some of the most popular influencer campaigns include:

  • Affiliate Partnership (commission-based structures)
  • Gifting (includes product reviews and unboxing)
  • Seasonal Campaign (product launches, specific website sales)
  • Sponsored posts
  • Invitation to brand events
  • Giveaways
  • Brand Ambassador Program

Each type of campaign offers unique benefits and they can all be combined or tailored to suit different marketing goals.

What are the different types of influencers?

Influencers can be segmented into five main types based on the size of their following:

1. Nano-influencers

This category includes creators with between 1,000 and 10,000 followers. Despite their small following, nano-influencers often have highly engaged communities and niche authority, making them valuable for reaching specific audiences.

For example, crypto brands could benefit from collaborating with nano and micro influencers whose audiences are specifically interested in cryptocurrency-related content.

2. Micro and Mid influencers

With audiences ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 followers, micro-influencers may not have the widest reach, but they often show high engagement rates (interaction on their posts). Their loyal audiences view them as experts in their niche, making them effective for conversion campaigns.

Brands are increasingly reaching out to these smaller accounts in hopes of achieving better measured results, rather than relying on celebrities who can drive brand awareness but cannot guarantee sales. Additionally, smaller influencers are often more affordable for brands with limited budgets, as they may be more open to gifting, affiliate partnerships, or lower compensation packages as a last resort.

3. Macro-influencers

These are typically considered as “Rising Stars”, still building a large community, with audiences over 100,000 to 500,000 followers. They have substantial reach and influence over broader but still quite specific audiences, such as beauty or lifestyle. 

4. Mega influencers

These are professional creators with large social media followings, typically over 500,000 followers. Therefore, they work with several recognized brands and sponsorships and their services come at a higher cost.

5. Celebrities

Famous personalities known beyond social media platforms, such as TV actors, with followers exceeding 1 million. While they can help brands reach massive audiences, their followers may be less engaged or loyal, making them more suitable for brand awareness than conversion-focused campaigns.

Micro and mid-tier influencers can have high engagement rates despite their smaller follower count

What type of influencers (according to size) should I work with?

Selecting the appropriate influencer type depends mostly on your campaign objectives and budget, as each category has its pros and cons, as mentioned above.

Factors to consider while selecting influencers:

Although most influencer marketing articles state that size doesn’t always correlate with engagement rate and therefore performance, our latest research on key metrics that impact ROI has shown that the audience size of influencers often has a positive correlation with conversion. However, smaller profiles can be more cost-effective as they are more open to affiliate partnerships or working with lower compensation, which can increase ROI.

Additionally, there are other key factors that should be taken into account regardless of the follower count, such as credibility, audience growth rate, and engagement rate. These will all be discussed in detail later on.

All of this also depends on the category or product. For instance, if a brand sells yoga products or clothing, it would likely be effective to partner with micro-influencers who are yoga or Pilates instructors, or even fitness enthusiasts, as it is such a specific niche. A fashion brand, on the other hand, could partner with macro-influencers related to lifestyle, beauty, and fashion categories at the same time.

Key Opinon Leaders (KOL)

It's also crucial to note that influencer effectiveness isn't only determined by size; the concept of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) emphasizes authority and engagement over follower count. 

It is important to identify individuals who have expert and credible knowledge in a specific industry or theme, as it can improve the campaign’s success. They are perceived as powerful authorities within the space, and therefore their voice is respected and trusted. Smaller accounts are most commonly considered as KOLs.

All things considered, an effective approach could involve running multiple campaigns and collaborating with a mix of influencer types to achieve various purposes. For instance, partnering with micro-influencers on affiliate partnerships and gifting could drive sales for low costs, while organizing a giveaway and sponsored post with a celebrity could increase brand awareness.

How to Find Influencers for your Brand

There are curently so many influencers on such diverse platforms, so how and where can you find the right ones for your brand? Let’s explore together some manual and automatic ways to find and connect with influencers!

1. Influencer Marketing Platforms

Finding influencers may seem like an easy task, but it can take a lot of time and effort if done manually. Therefore, if your budget allows, investing in influencer marketing software can be very helpful to scale your influencer marketing program. These platforms include influencer search tools to help brands find influencers that best match their expectations within minutes. 

For example, Influencer Hero’s database allows you to search for influencers worldwide and on any social media platform combining over 20 advanced  filters, such as engagement rate, follower count, keywords and topic. One top valued filter is the Look-a-like, which finds similar accounts to the influencer you already know and consider ideal for your brand.

Influencer search tools, such as Influencer Hero, allow you to find influencers using various filters such as keywords and LookAlikes, while also providing access to their full analytics.

These softwares simplify overall influencer marketing campaign management by not only helping you find the right influencers for your brand and providing performance data for decision-making, but also streamlining the communication with influencers and enabling effective and massive outreach. You can find several Influencer Search Tools on the market.

Furthermore, some platforms like Influencer Hero allow you to identify organic influencers. These are creators with a large following within your brand community who already follow your brand, have shopped on your store, or have subscribed to your newsletter. These influencers show more potential for collaboration, as they already know and love your brand! Their content will thereby appear more authentic, and they might be already interested in partnering with you.

2. Manual search

If you’re a small company just getting started with influencer marketing and wish to test a few influencers first, there are several ways in which you can find influencers manually:

Search on Social Media Platforms using Hashtags

First, you need to choose the channel or platform you want to work with. For example, if your product is aimed at a young audience aged 18-25, your audience will most likely be on TikTok, while Generation X individuals are more likely to use Instagram.

On each social media platform, you can use the search function with keywords as hashtags to find posts related to your product or industry. This will give you an overview of the most popular content and creators for each category, but you won’t be able to filter the search results or access performance data.

For instance, a cookware brand looking for Instagram influencers could explore the platform's #healthyrecipes hashtag. You can also try combining words such as keywords and location, like #newyorkfoodies.

Search for influencers directly on social media platforms like Instagram or Tik tok using hashtags related to your service or product

Additionally, you can use the Discovery or Explore feature on both Instagram and TikTok to find trending hashtags and content similar to what you’ve interacted with before.

Finally, even though you’ve decided to work with influencers on a specific platform, it’s important to cross-search all social media platforms. Any channel can be useful for finding influencers on another one, as they usually cross-promote content across their multiple platforms.

Competitor Analysis

It can be effective to examine which influencers your main competitors are working with, as this can help you find similar creators. By analyzing the audience of these influencers, you may also discover other followers who are also influencers and are related to that content, whom you could reach out to.

You can either do this manually or request a free influencer competitor report from our analysts to see how your competitors are performing in social media and influencer marketing!

Additionally, when visiting an influencer's profile on Instagram, you can click on "similar accounts” to display suggested influencers who share similar characteristics or content. You Tube offers a similar feature as it recommends related channels on an influencer’s channel page.

Industry media and Contacts

By researching industry media like marketing blogs, articles, and newsletters, you can find lists of popular influencers within a specific category. However, these are likely to be in high demand and may request expensive fees.

Additionally, you might hear useful information about trending influencers or even get the chance to connect with them personally by attending industry-related events and conferences. If you cannot attend an event, you can also research the most popular events for your industry, including webinars or Instagram live sessions, and see who is speaking at them, as influencers are frequently participating at corporate events.

Navigate Reddit

Join subreddits aligned with your specific industry to discover niche communities and the influencers who lead them. Engage with these communities and look for mentions of popular influencers on your desired platform. 

For example, you can join existing communities by using the search bar with related keywords, such as “Beauty Influencers”. If there’s a related community, it will show as “r/ [community name]” 

Hashtags as Keywords: Use keywords in Reddit search, such as InstagramFashionInfluencers or TikTokTrends. When you use the search bar for a specific keyword, Reddit will show all conversations, users, and posts containing your search term. This can not only show you relevant or trending content and creators, but also useful conversations from industry experts who may be requesting the same information and exchanging useful tips or influencer lists.

If you’re interested in a specific topic within a community, you can also click on flairs on the mobile version or search for a specific flair “flair:Keyword”. 

You can find out more about reddit search features here.

Online Search engines like Google

Google can always be an easy option to find useful information. You can search for popular influencers on a particular social media platform and industry, or even location, by typing the correct keywords.

For example, if you are a cosmetics brand searching for influencers in Boston, you can type “Boston skincare and makeup influencers”. This can even provide articles with lists of top influencers for that category if you search for something wider like “top beauty influencers on instagram”

Online search for influencers according to industry or product related keywords

Recommendations on your network

This is probably one of the easiest ways to access influencers who were previously out of your scope. Ask within your network—including colleagues, employees, friends and relatives, business partners, and industry contacts—for influencer recommendations for your brand. Word-of-mouth recommendations are always trustworthy!

Recruit influencers through your social media channels

Content creators are always looking for new brand partnerships, especially those who are just increasing their online presence. Therefore, you could set up an application form on your website or social media channels inviting influencers to apply for brand partnerships, such as affiliate programs. However, this method doesn’t guarantee that high-potential creators will apply, and it can be expensive and time-consuming.

3. How to find influencers by social media channel

You can use all the tactics above to find influencers from any platform. However, if you wish to know more specifically how to decide which platform to work on, you can find detailed information tailored for each specific channel below:

TikTok can be a very powerful channel to target young audiences. Besides using marketing software tools, you can find influencers manually on this platform through several features:

  • TikTok’s Discover feature, by exploring trending hashtags and topics.
  • Searching through relevant hashtags.
  • Analyzing the For You Page, which is individually curated based on user interactions, preferences, and viewing habits.

Collaborating with YouTubers can be beneficial for brands as YouTube videos can have a long-term impact and include a full product review. They also have high potential for ranking in SERP. A few tips for finding influencers on this platform include:

  • Use YouTube's search function with specific keywords related to your product.
  • YouTube’s Trending Page: Analyze trending videos and sections, as they offer insights into popular content and creators.
  • Explore related channels suggested by YouTube on an influencer’s channel.

Once you’ve identified potential influencers, explore their channels to review their analytics. Some metrics you should look at are: subscriber count, video views and engagement, content quality, and posting frequency.

Instagram continues to be one of the most powerful platforms for brand collaborations. On this channel, you can manually search for influencers easily through the search function by using specific hashtags or the discovery page, which shows you content similar to what you've liked or interacted with before.Once you’ve identified potential influencers, you can analyze them more in-depth by looking at several factors:

  • Engagement and content quality: Scan quickly through their feed to see how frequently they post and the quality of their brand posts. Also, look at likes, comments, and overall interaction on their posts to determine how their audience reacts to their content.
  • Watch stories and reels: These can provide you with insights into how they interact with their audience and their potential for creating trending content.

Next Steps once you’ve found the ideal influencer

You already found potential influencers to work with. Great job: that’s the first and one of the most important steps! What’s next? How do you veto influencers or confirm that they are suitable for your brand and objectives before coming to a partnership agreement?

Key Factors for Choosing the Right Influencers

There are various key factors to consider when analyzing influencers profiles for a brand partnership:

1. Ensure alignment with your brand’s values, messaging, and content

Choose influencers who already create relevant and high quality content related to your industry or brand, as this will appear more authentic on their platform. It's essential to make sure that the influencer shares your brand’s values and vision since they will represent your brand. For example, if you are a food company selling products made with organic ingredients and high health standards, it is crucial to partner with cooking influencers who promote these types of foods rather than those who focus on artificial, industrial, or junk food brands.

2. Make sure that the influencer’s audience matches your target customer

It is crucial to first know and understand your own target market so that you can find influencers whose followers align with your audience demographics. The most effective way to analyze an influencer's audience is using tools or influencer marketing softwares that provide detailed data. Important aspects you should look into include: audience location, gender, and age range.

3. Take a look at the Influencer’s Overall Performance

While we cannot predict the exact performance of an influencer, it is crucial to analyze their previous metrics to determine if they are likely to drive good results and if it is worth investing in them. Some metrics to consider analyzing include:

  • Number of Followers: As previously discussed, there are different types of influencers according to their following size, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Select influencers based on your campaign’s objectives and budget.
  • Audience Credibility: Despite their audience size, some influencers may have a significant percentage of fake followers. To predict campaign effectiveness, ensure that around 80% of the followers you’ll target through that influencer are real people. You can use tools like the fake follower check to determine the fake follower percentage.
  • Audience growth rate: This has shown an impact on performance as active influencers creating engaging content and constantly increasing their audiences show potential for growth. This metric can also help identify early “rising stars,” who are influencers still increasing their audiences before they’ve achieved their peak. Partnering with them in advance can be beneficial for long-term relationships.
  • Engagement Rate: This is one of the most important metrics for indicating how an influencer’s content could perform. It reflects the real interaction that the audience has with the influencer’s content, such as comments, likes, and shares.

For instance, partnering with an account with over 10 million followers might seem beneficial due to its wide audience, but if it has a 0.2% engagement rate, it means that followers are not engaging with the content and it likely won't drive good results for the brand. A solid average engagement rate (ER) depends on the size of the influencer. We generally expect higher ERs from nano and micro-influencers, with an average of 3% to 5% or more, while macro-influencers and celebrities might have an average ER of 1% to 2%.

If you are manually browsing for influencers on social media platforms, you can find this free engagement rate calculator or our free influencer audit chrome extension helpful to access their general metrics.

Conclusion

Finding the right influencers to work with demands a lot of time and effort. Therefore, the most effective way to do it is by using an influencer search tool. This tool not only provides you with an endless list of suitable influencers for your brand and valuable performance data within minutes, but also helps you streamline the rest of your campaign management with automation and multiple advanced features to scale your program. 

However, if your budget is limited and you wish to work with a few influencers to try out first, there are several manual methods you can use to find influencers, such as Google search, searching on social media platforms, and keeping up to date with industry media research.

FAQs
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