With the digital landscape getting overly crowded with new businesses and more competition, you need to come up with new strategies to stand out.
While traditional methods of marketing such as ads are easily recognized, influencer marketing is relatively new.
However, it is being adopted by marketers around the world very quickly. In fact, according to Linqia, around 39% of marketers had planned on increasing their influencer marketing budgets in 2018.
Collaborating with a brand influencer has a lot of advantages. But before you learn how to find a brand influencer, you should first understand what influencer marketing is.
What Exactly is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is a method of marketing in which brands leverage a brand influencer to reach a new audience. Brand influencers are social media personalities who have developed a vast following of like-minded people in their niche.
This method of marketing essentially uses influential people to raise brand awareness, generate leads, and drive conversions. The audiences of brand influencers are usually highly targeted and their campaigns have a more human touch to them.
These influencers are not necessarily popular celebrities. There are many influencers who don’t even have a huge fan base. However, within their small audience, they are extremely influential. These smaller influencers are called micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers usually have about 1,000 to 50,000 followers based on their niche. The engagement within this small audience is high as well. This makes collaboration with such influencers very profitable for brands.
On the other hand, big brand influencers have millions of followers. While the engagement rates will be less with them compared to micro-influencers, their reach is very high. They can easily help you raise brand awareness.
Image via Instagram
For instance, Andreea Cristina is a brand influencer who has more than a million followers. She creates high-quality content in the beauty niche. Any beauty brand that partners with her can easily reach her audience.
However, it’s not just the reach that makes this method of marketing so popular. It’s the influence these brand influencers have over consumers.
In fact, sponsored posts on Instagram received over 1 billion likes in 2017. This shows the amount of engagement that brand influencers are able to generate.
Why Do You Need Brand Influencers?
People usually trust a human more than they trust a brand. About 51% of marketers in the previously-cited Linqia study felt that the content of a brand influencer performs better than their own.
Image via Linqia
A brand influencer may advocate for a brand but people see them as an unbiased third party. This makes their content more trustworthy than that of the brand.
There are various other advantages of collaborating with influencers. They give you access to their large and loyal audience that is highly engaged with their content. They can influence their decisions and get you traffic, build brand awareness, or even increase sales.
Traditional forms of marketing may be losing their effectiveness. However, influencer marketing is becoming a new favorite among brands.
This is also a more direct form of advertising where the brand influencer speaks directly to the audience. Lastly, it is one of the only few modes of marketing where you can give the audience a direct call-to-action.
Define Your Target
Before setting out to find a brand influencer, you should decide on the objectives of your campaign. You may want to increase your reach, improve brand awareness, or maybe even generate higher sales.
Whatever the goal, you need to clearly define it at the beginning. This can help you in finding the right brand influencer for your campaign.
It is also necessary to clearly define the audience that you’re targeting. You can define a target audience through location, interests, demographics, and more.
Once you have a clear idea of your target audience and campaign objectives, you can set out to find the most relevant brand influencer.
How to Find a Brand Influencer
You might have developed the required brand influencer persona or may have figured out the qualities you want in them. But that’s not the end of your journey. You still need to find potential influencers and filter them using the metrics you have defined.
Ensure that the influencers that you collaborate with have a decent amount of followers along with high engagement rates.
There may be some fake influencers out there, so you must analyze each brand influencer carefully to see if their engagement rate aligns with their follower count.
Additionally, their niche should be the same as yours or at least closely related. This is a must if you’re going to reach a relevant audience and benefit from the collaboration.
Do keep in mind that as the number of followers increases, the engagement rate typically decreases.
So you’ll need to consider these factors when narrowing down on the right brand influencers. The brand influencer you collaborate with will completely depend upon your goals.
For instance, if you want to reach a huge audience and raise brand awareness, you should collaborate with a brand influencer who has a large fan-following.
But if you want to increase your sales or leads, you should choose micro-influencers as they have higher engagement rates.
Here’s how you can find a brand influencer for your business:
Most brand influencers have accounts on social media. This makes it necessary for you to monitor social media all the time. You should check your mentions on social media and see if they are from an influential fan. You could also look for influencers who are posting in your niche.
Image Source: Awario
You can also use keywords from your niche to search for trending discussions. Research those discussions and see if there are any influential people participating in them. These people could also serve as influencers.
This will give you an idea of who is already talking about your brand and who may be able to authentically promote you. Some of these brand advocates may be brand influencers who are already well-established in your niche.
This way, social media monitoring can help you discover those influencers who are already creating content related to your brand and industry.
Google Alerts is a great way to get notified whenever a particular keyword is mentioned. To find a brand influencer, you can set up alerts for keywords relevant to your brand. Using these alerts, you can discover people who are writing actively in your brand’s niche.
Image via Google Alerts
You should also create Google Alerts for your brand name. You’ll be notified whenever someone mentions your brand online. This will help you find a brand influencer who is already talking about your brand even outside of social media.
All the major social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram use hashtags. These hashtags can help you find relevant content.
They also help you find people who are creating content related to the topic. To do this, you should first research hashtags that are relevant to your brand.
Image via Hashtagify
You can use platforms such as Hashtagify to research hashtags. It will show you the popularity of certain hashtags, relevant trends, and related hashtags.
After finding the relevant hashtags, you can conduct a search on each social media platform. This will help you discover posts that use those hashtags and in the process, discover relevant users who are actively creating related content.
For instance, if you own a beauty brand, you can look up relevant hashtags such as #makeupaddict. This will give you a list of posts that contain this hashtag.
Image via Instagram
Under the “Top” posts, you’ll be able to see posts with the high engagement. These are the profiles you should take note of.
Image via Instagram
You can then look at their other posts and analyze their engagement rates. This will give you a rough idea of their effectiveness and engagement potential. After going through several profiles, you can narrow down to a list of brand influencers to collaborate with.
Finding influential bloggers is a tougher task than finding brand influencers on social media. However, a lot of social media influencers also have personal blogs. So if you do find a social media influencer, you can check out which of them also have a blog.
These brand influencers are active on both their blogs and on social media. This gives you a dual advantage of reaching their blog audiences as well as social media followers.
To find a relevant blogger and turn them into a brand influencer, you should look for blogs that are in your niche.
The manual process of doing this is by searching for relevant keywords on Google. Through this, you can find reputable blogs that are in your niche. While this process does seem tedious, the results are equally rewarding.
The easier method of finding bloggers is with tools such as BuzzSumo. It helps you search for influencers in a relevant topic and filter the results by bloggers and journalists.
You’ll also be able to view the Domain Authority of their blog. So you’ll be able to narrow down on some good bloggers with plenty of authority in your niche.
Image Source: BuzzSumo
After finding some potential bloggers, you need to assess them for quality. Go through their blog posts, and you will be able to figure out if they write quality content on relevant topics.
See if they’re getting a lot of comments on and social shares of their posts. This will help you narrow down your list to a few bloggers that you can collaborate with.
However, don’t restrict your search for a brand influencer only within your niche. For instance, if you have a health food restaurant, you can collaborate with a food influencer.
But you can also collaborate with a mom influencer who usually writes about healthy eating for the family.
Both these influencers can be beneficial to you. If their content can generate high engagement, your campaign could generate impressive returns.
Influencer Discovery Tools
The process of finding a reliable brand influencer manually is quite cumbersome. You may not end up with the required number of influencers or worse, you may even end up with fake ones. Collaborating with such influencers can tarnish your brand’s image and must be avoided at all costs.
Image via HypeAuditor
These tools have a big database of authentic brand influencers. All you need to do is search for the influencers in your niche and look through their profiles.
This will help you figure out their engagement and audience size. Using this data, you can narrow down on the best influencers to collaborate with.
How to Contact Influencers
Once you’ve narrowed down on the right influencers, you need to get in touch with them. There are various methods of doing this. Here are a few:
1. Social Media
Almost all brand influencers can be reached through social media. You can message them and introduce yourself before mentioning a possible collaboration. If they show an interest, then you can continue the conversation through email.
However, influencers are very popular. They receive loads of messages daily. So they may not be able to see your message.
If you don’t hear from them, you must follow up a couple of times. But don’t overdo this or you could end up annoying them.
Additionally, you can familiarize yourself with their content first. You should follow them on social media and interact with their posts regularly. This can put you on their radar and increase your chances of getting a reply.
Another method of getting in touch with a brand influencer is through emails. However, just like social media, they get lots of emails on a daily basis.
That’s why it’s crucial to come up with a compelling pitch. You should also interact with them on social media before emailing them to increase your chances of getting noticed.
Following up with them is also essential. However, don’t be too pushy. A good practice would be to drop in a gentle reminder after a week of sending the email.
Emails may be a formal mode of communication, but try to keep the tone slightly casual. You should also personalize your outreach emails to build rapport. Building a strong relationship from the start can make a lot of difference.
3. Influencer Marketing Platforms
To reach out to influencers, you can also use influencer marketing platforms such as Grin. These platforms not only help you keep a complete track of your influencer marketing campaigns but also come with tools to contact influencers.
So you can keep all your communication with the brand influencer at one place.
Image via Grin
Grin even has some email templates that you can customize for your outreach. Additionally, you can pay influencers their fees, ship them goods, and even analyze the performance of your campaign.
Through such platforms, you can have complete control over all your influencer marketing campaigns.
What is a Good Pitch?
Every good pitch to a brand influencer must have a personal touch. For instance, it is better to start the email with their name rather than a generic salutation such as, “Dear Influencer.”
Your focus should be on building a long-term relationship with them.
The pitch can begin by commending them on some of their achievements. You could even show some appreciation for their recently-published content. You can then tell them why you’ve reached out to them.
Make sure that you don’t seem desperate in your first pitch. Build a rapport with them first and then give them a brief idea of the campaign.
Then follow up by asking them if they are interested to learn more. If they are, you can either send across your campaign brief or set up a phone meeting with them to discuss the details.
However, your first pitch should ensure that they realize how lucrative the opportunity is for them. You could even give examples about past campaigns that you have had with other influencers.
You may also suggest a few content ideas for collaboration in the pitch. These ideas should be ones that the influencer is already experienced in. This might give them more motivation to work and collaborate with you.
Lastly, while one-off campaigns may give you quick results, you should concentrate on building strong relationships with the brand influencer. The content that you can create with them over a long period can have far greater value than one-off campaigns.
A brand influencer can help you reach your marketing goals with ease, be it brand awareness, lead generation, or even sales. You must conduct thorough research before collaborating with them.
Reach out to them through social media or emails and make sure that you concentrate on building a long-term relationship with them.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.