Successful Influencer Marketing: Finding and Selecting Your Influencers
Influencer marketing is becoming a big part of general marketing strategy. We've laid out the blueprint to help you find influencers that fit your style.
According to a survey conducted by Nielsen, 92 percent of consumers trust recommendations more than any form of advertising. So it’s no wonder marketing via influential opinion-makers is so popular. A look at Google Trends confirms that the global interest in influencer marketing has increased more than sevenfold within the last two years. In addition, influencer marketing has once again received a tremendous boost through new social media channels such as Instagram and Snapchat.
However, identifying suitable influencers can be a mammoth task for many companies. It’s not just a matter of finding suitable people with a strong brand influence, but also evaluating which associations have the potential to create genuine added value. The search for this perfect brand match has much in common with the search for a needle in the haystack. In addition, not everyone can afford to commission one of the many off-the-shelf influencer marketing agencies. Continue reading below to discover how you can find suitable multipliers, and which platforms and tools will help you achieve your goals.
Types of Influencer
Influencers are defined as influential people within a network. In addition to celebrities such as LeBron James or Selena Gomez, they can also be members of the following groups:
- Bloggers (e.g. travel bloggers or food bloggers)
- Social media influencers (e.g. Fashion Instagrammers or Beauty YouTubers)
- Experts (e.g. online marketers, search engine experts)
- Events speakers
- Business partners or company customers
Influencer marketing tools you should know about
The starting point for searching for any influencer is always within their own network. Ask your colleagues and those who work in Sales and Customer Services about any industry people they can think of and with whom they may already be in contact. Visiting specialist events is another good way of getting an insight into who has something to say in your respective field.
But often, this is not enough. You should also maintain a presence in forums and social media groups (such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Google + communities) to look for people who might contribute relevant content to your topics. In addition, the following platforms and tools will help you find some relevant influencers:
Why make things difficult when they could be easy? First, finding websites and blogs to research is as easy as completing a Google search. You can use search operators to help find narrow down search results to your particular topic. For example, you could search for “Content Marketing” + site: .com in order to find relevant websites dealing with content marketing. By entering Content Marketing + blog, you could then do a thematic search for matching blogs.
Blog search engines such as Meltwater’s Ice Rocket are useful for finding bloggers. Ice Rocket’s searches can be limited by languages and time periods, and in addition to blog searches, Ice Rocket can also conduct Twitter searches.
Twingly is another international search engine thatcan help with blog searches. A particularly useful feature is “Blog profiles.” This search engine can provide an overview showing the latest posts on each respective blog, the content that has secured the most links, as well as the total number of blog articles published.
Influma is an influencer search engine from Adenion. It can find relevant articles on the net and rank them according to the number of social signals. In addition, the tool reveals the authors of the articles (influencers) as well as the users who have shared them (sharers). From a practical perspective, Influma can also list further influencer articles so that content can be analyzed over time. Besides article searches, the tool can also be used to search directly for influencers. Promising influencers, articles and websites can be stored in personal lists.
The free basic version has a limit of 25 search results, but there is a pro version of Influma available starting from 59 euros a month.
With this tool, you can find and compare influencers relevant to your topic on Instagram. Influencer.db analyzes Instagram profiles including follower growth, number of posts per day, comments by post, as well as media value by post. Selected Instagrammers can be stored in lists and compared. A basic version that analyzes your own profile and offers limited search facilities is available free of charge, while the premium version with 200 search queries per day and 20 daily influencer views starts at 99 euros per month.
Almost everyone who can be named and ranked is active on this rapid micro-news service. Using a Twitter search for keywords or hashtags, you can find out who is sharing blog articles and other content on your chosen topic. Look for #influencmarketing on Twitter to see the latest tweets on that topic and who has scored the most likes and retweets. The “People” tab also allows you to search Twitter profiles for specific keywords.
Followerwonk is useful for giving a detailed analysis of Twitter profiles. The tool calls up your selected influencers by follower numbers, number of tweets, and according to so-called social authority. The ability to compare Twitter profiles and their associated followers is another useful feature. Followerwonk’s free basic version is limited to 100 results per search, and the pro version with unrestricted searches and downloading is available from $29 USD per month.
Klear finds influencers all over the world and ranks them by reach and relevance. Searches can be filtered by social network, subject area and location. However, only influencer searches via Twitter are free. An extension for detailed potential analyzes of blogs, YouTube and Instagram is available with the pro version (from $249 USD per month).
Do you ever wonder who is talking about your company or your topic? You can use the monitoring tool at mention.com to discover more information about such online mentions. This search engine crawls the entire network, forums, and social media channels looking for mentions of your brand or specific keywords. Mention is available at prices starting from $29 USD per month.
Hootsuite’s social media management tool can also help you search for suitable influencers. For example, you can check out who mentions your company on the internet and thus find potential partners with whom you may be able to collaborate. The basic version of Hootsuite allows you to manage up to three social media channels for free. A pro version is available from $9.99 USD per month.
Who often shares content on your topics? Whose content is especially popular on the social web? You can find out by using Buzz Sumo’s content research tool. BuzzSumo has also integrated a Twitter influencer search, which can be filtered to capture groups such as bloggers and journalists, together with their location. Among other options, influencers can be listed by their number of followers and by their average number of retweets. In addition, BuzzSumo can also display the websites of each of the respective influencers and store their details in lists. BuzzSumo can be tested for 14 days free of charge, and a full pro version costs from $99 USD per month.
This tool offers you an influencer directory where you can easily recruit affiliates and influencers through a built-in signup form. Additional features allow you to set up tracking via promo codes and promote your influencer program. You can try the tool free for 15 days. After the trial period, you will have to pay a monthly fee to use OSI Affiliate.
Choose the right influencer
Have you located a few interesting people with whom you could collaborate? Well done. But how can you assess which influencer is most relevant to your goals? You can, of course, use the familiar Klout-Score. This should show you how much influence a person can actually exert on the social web. Klout’s algorithm is based on the number of social media activities, but the extent to which a Klout score is a real indicator of online influence is, however, somewhat controversial.
Reflect on the following points:
- Brand-fit: How well does the influencer fit your brand? Your chosen person should complement your themes and the image you want to convey. If this is not so, then any collaboration may quickly backfire. Your candidate should also be someone with whom you can anticipate a trustworthy collaboration over the longer term.
- Target group reach: Is a high follower rate really the trump card in influencer marketing? This can sometimes prove a false assumption. Sure, a certain reputation and contacts in the respective niche are influencer hallmarks, and the fact that the influencer has a community in your target group, or can quickly build one, is a prerequisite. But what use is a multiplier with 100,000 Twitter followers if they don’t interact with you? And remember, follower and fan numbers can also be manipulated. So these totals may be less important than you might think.
- Level of engagement: Focus more on influencers who seem particularly active and whose content is often shared on social media. Also, pay attention to how committed their community seems to be. To what extent is the influencer able to generate new responses? Will content gain comments and be liked and shared? A high number of regular interactions indicates a strong bond between the influencer and his community. Many experts, therefore, rate commitment level as the most important of all selection criteria. Thus the number of retweets is actually more important than the number of followers.
- Authority and expertise: How good is a person’s professional –knowledge? Do other users often acknowledge them and regard them as a credible source? For bloggers and experts, the website on which they post their content is crucial. Well-known sites generally gain more shares, likes and retweets than equally good content that is published on lesser-known sites. Therefore, in addition to the question of expert status, you should also pay attention to the importance and reach (domain authority) of the URL on which an influencer publishes his or her content.
Collect your chosen influencers together in a list. A template showing how your list should be structured is pictured here.
Get more exposure for your content
As you can see, tools for influencer relationships and paid-for solutions are now a dime a dozen. The high quantity of new software and the evolution of the market reflects the current hype around this topic. But even with a smaller budget and some hard work, you can now select relevant influencers thanks to these platforms and tools. Using a careful pre-selection strategy will get you closer to your goal of boosting your content via influencer relations and significantly increasing the awareness and reach of your brand.
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