So you’re looking for influencers?
Finding influencers for your next marketing campaign can feel like searching for a thread of hay inside a stack of needles—subtly painful, constantly irritating, and time-consuming as all get out.
But all that hard work pays off when your brand sees a $5.78 ROI for every $1 spent on influencer marketing.
Pretty incredible, right?
The fact is that every brand can benefit from influencer marketing in some form or fashion.
Whether it be a one-time campaign to boost awareness or a long-term partnership that helps grow the reach of the brand, influencers are today’s celebrities and they have a massive pull when it comes to their audience.
The only challenge: finding the right one for your next influencer marketing campaign.
Luckily, we spend most of our time helping brands collaborate with influencers to deliver marketing experiences that shake the internet, so we have learned the ins and outs of this game and want to share them with you.
Here are 6 simple steps to finding influencers for your next marketing campaign.
1. Establish the goals of your influencer campaign.
Every great influencer campaign is rooted in one goal. This goal is simple, clear, and concise so the brand, and eventually the influencer, can both look back on the work and determine if it was successful or not.
The problem is that marketing teams like to lump a bunch of company goals into one singular campaign, hoping they can kill 25 birds with one stone’s throw.
Don’t be like this.
Instead, there’s an easy way to determine the goal of any influencer campaign and it starts with one of these three choices—brand awareness, direct response, or sales.
Brand Awareness - introduces new audience members to your brand.
Direct Response - pushes audience members into your marketing ecosystem.
Sales - converts audience members from loyal followers to paying customers.
By using one of these three frameworks as the primary goal for your influencer marketing campaign, you can then identify the strategies you want to use and the right influencers to partner with.
Onto step 2…
2. Pick an influencer marketing strategy.
Before you go scouring the world wide web in search of the perfect influencer for this campaign, you need to decide what strategies you want to use to ensure that you meet the goal you set in step 1.
These strategies will be a critical part of helping find the right influencers for two reasons.
The first is that depending on the strategy chosen, you might need to work with a specific type of influencer to achieve what you’re looking for. The second is that each one of these strategies will help narrow down the types of content your audience prefers, helping inform future campaigns with these influencers.
Influencer marketing strategies vary industry-to-industry, brand-to-brand, but we like to focus on the ones that tend to see the most success on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
Here’s a list of the 6 strategies that stir up conversation and help drive your brand to the masses.
- Sponsored Content
- Giveaways & Contests
- Affiliate & Discount Codes
- Product Gifting
- Social Media Takeover
- Brand Ambassador Programs
While we could spend some time talking about these at length, we wrote another article all about influencer marketing strategies that you can check out right here.
The important point to note at this stage is that you decide what strategies you are going to use before you start looking for your influencers.
3. Identify the types and number of influencers.
The next step to finding the right influencers for your campaign is to identify the types and number of influencers that you want to partner with for this effort.
There are millions of different influencers out there, no two alike. From nano and micro-influencers, all the way up to macro and mega influencers, there’s a perfect influencer out there for every brand and campaign—you just need to know what you are looking for.
First, ask yourself this question, do you want to entertain, educate, or inspire?
These three categories are the pillars of all social media content and help establish the type of content you want influencers to create. While most marketing teams might focus on one particular category for a campaign, we like to suggest another approach, spreading out the opportunities across all three categories.
In doing so, not only do you get access to a wide array of influencers but also get to test out different types of content with your audience, to again, help inform future marketing efforts and influencer partnerships.
From there, it’s a matter of setting a number that meets your needs and budget.
For brands new to the influencer marketing space, we always encourage the “more is better” mentality. You’re always better off working with a variety of influencers that range in size and status, rather than put all your eggs in one basket for a single individual.
A safe bet is somewhere between 5-10 influencers for this first campaign. From there, you’ll have a better understanding of what types of influencers and how many are necessary for ongoing influencer marketing efforts.
4. Start your search for influencers.
This is where things start to get a little hectic, so grab your notebook.
There are three different ways that you can find influencers…
- Native Social Media Channels
Most brands will start here when they want to find influencers because it’s free and easy—or that’s what most people think.
The fact of the matter is that finding influencers on their native social media channels is challenging and requires some serious research before you start doing outreach.
Here’s what that looks like:
- Searching through keywords and hashtags on social media channels like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Looking for brands with similar characteristics in other industries that have partnered with influencers in the past.
- Finding prior influencer campaigns in the space and seeing what’s been done.
- Determining audience crossover and compatibility–does this influencer or group of influencers share a similar audience with your brand?
- Finding accurate contact information—email and phone are hard to come by and rarely located at the link in bio.
- Grabbing the attention of a busy influencer—they get hundreds of messages like this every week, how are you going to stand out to them?
All that said, there are some less labor-intensive approaches to finding influencers that can save you time but might require a few extra benjamins.
- Social Media Search Tools
Social media search tools have been around for a while now and they’re great for helping identify current social media trends and topics.
The challenge is that there are a lot of them out there and some straight-up suck—trust us, we’ve tried just about all of them.
Luckily, through much trial and error, we did find a few that are helpful, especially for brands that are new to influencer marketing and have a limited budget that they want to save for actually leveraging influencers.
Here are three free social media search tools we like to recommend:
- Social Media Influencer Agencies
The third way that you can find influencers is through agencies. Agencies vary in size and focus, but the primary differentiator when it comes to influencers represented by agencies is that they are established and have a proven track record.
Influencers that have chosen to work with an agency most of the time have already earned a spot as a paid contractor for a brand. Chances are at one point, they were negotiating deals and managing creative briefs on their own, and have now put a team in place to help manage that for them so they can do what they do best—create!
Influencers at this level know what it means to work with brands and collaborate on projects together, which usually results in quicker turnaround times and better ROI for both parties.
Agencies are a great way to get in touch with influencers and identify the ones that would work best for your campaign, as long as you are willing to pay the bill to make it happen.
Here are a few that we like to highlight for exploring brands:
5. Build a list of potential influencers as you go.
As you start finding potential influencers for your campaign, it’s important to keep tabs on everything you are doing. Consider creating a running list of potential influencers that fit the criteria you are looking for, that way you can conduct outreach in an organized and intentional manner.
Trust us, we’ve been in the influencer marketing game for a minute, and managing outreach to 50+ influencers at once is already tough as it is—don’t make it harder on yourself by being messy.
Jump into a Google spreadsheet and start a list that includes the influencer's name, social handles, follower/like count, engagement rates, views, audience characteristics, and niche. Order it in priority of the influencers you want the most, down to the back-ups so you can attack this marketing mission with a plan.
This document will act as an influencer contact sheet that you can reference as this campaign moves further down the line, or you need to make a change and work with a different influencer.
6. Commence outreach to influencers.
This next step is simple, start contacting influencers!
The ways in which you choose to do that can vary, from a good old-fashioned slide in the direct messages to a cold email, or even a phone call (if you’re lucky enough to find a phone number).
Decide what forms of communication you want to use to start up a conversation with a specific influencer and get to scripting out your message.
That should include a creative brief—which we talk about in this article right here.
Here's where you get the stuff we don't put on the blog. Learn how to craft an entire TikTok marketing strategy from scratch, plus get access to our proprietary data on the top 100 creators and brands on TikTok by industry— and a lot more.
It’s time to go find some influencers…
There you have it, the basic guide to finding influencers for your next marketing campaign!
Now you are armed with everything you need to get out there and start tracking down the right influencers for your brand so you can grow your audience and convert faithful followers into happy customers.
And if you love the idea of leveraging influencers for your marketing efforts, but hate the thought of adding more work to your plate, we’ve got the answer. At Ubiquitous, our entire focus is to help brands deploy badass influencer marketing campaigns that turn heads and stack green (that’s money).
If that sounds like something you want to do, drop us a line right here and we’ll get the conversation started!