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Are you ready to improve your influencer marketing campaigns with the best influencer marketing tools?
Maybe you need help finding and connecting with relevant influencers. Or you want to organize your campaigns better, and automate your influencer outreach efforts. Or perhaps you’re looking for a more effective way to communicate and build relationships with influencers.
Whatever it is you need to take your influencer marketing to the next level, this post will help you find it.
We’ve collaborated with some of the best digital marketers and influencer marketing experts to bring you a list of must-have influencer marketing tools. Each expert shares their favorite tools for executing successful influencer marketing campaigns. They also reveal why these tools make such a huge difference in their performance.
Learn more about how each tool can be used to improve every stage of your influencer marketing campaign. Using these expert insights, you will be able to execute a more effective, and better organized campaign that’s destined for success.
#1. Ann Handley – MarketingProfs
My favorite tool for Influencer Marketing is BuzzSumo, because it’s a great place to visit to identify influencers in your niche or category. (BuzzSumo is also a great tool for other reasons, by the way!)
#2. Aaron Orendorff – iconiContent
On the influencer front, however, joining eight or so closed groups and then starting my own with a select group of writers and media folks has been a huge boon not just to getting my content shared by influencers but to collaborating on content as well.
For me, share and share alike has been the rule. Slack helps you develop relationships based on mutual giving. Plus, it’s provided far more payoff and traction than any of the Facebook groups I’m a part of. Just start by asking any of the influencers you know if they’re in any Slack communities. If they’re not, go all in with a few friends and invite as many influencers you know to join. Set expectations and make it easy (not another “to do list” task). As long as there’s value in it … they’ll come along. And from there, it’s on.
#3. Sam Hurley – OPTIM-EYEZ
I have always used BuzzSumo for a double whammy: Research of influencers for outreach and also content creation.
You are able to quickly discover influencers, journalists, and blog writers for your desired niche and the tool has powerful filtering options you can apply to find influential people (with the most social shares) and also those who are most active.
I’m also going to cheat and drop in another tool that I use afterward to validate the likelihood of getting a reply from your chosen influencers…Check out Klear!
A few handy ways you can use BuzzSumo to find influencers:
- Sort results by their reply ratio and average retweets, plus highest domain authority if they have a website
- View the recent links they shared so you get a sense of what interests them
- Use the advanced search function similar to how you would in Google
- Click the ‘View Links Shared’ button to see the influencer’s most popular shared content
Use the ‘Content Research‘ tab to gain valuable insights into a topic of your choice, including which posts and topics are performing best. This will also return lots of websites to target for outreach and consequent guest blog and link building opportunities.
#4. Sujan Patel – SujanPatel.com
You’ll notice it’s very low tech as I found that finding and reaching out to influencers outside of any platform works best.
Connecting with influencers starts and ends with reaching out to influencers over email. I only use two tools to do this; the first is called ContactOut, a Google Chrome extension that finds email addresses on the back of LinkedIn. It’s – without a doubt – the best tool I’ve ever used to find email addresses. It has about a 95% success rate, and usually finds personal and work emails for influencers.
The second is my own tool Mailshake. I use it to send, automate, and manage all of my cold email outreach campaigns. It’s super lightweight and easy to use (and inexpensive), and allows you to send personalized emails in-bulk, schedule followups if they don’t reply, and track opens, clicks, and bounces, and overall performance of an outreach campaign.
#5. Shane Barker – ShaneBarker.com
While there are several tools that I find highly effective, my absolute favorite is HYPR. Like other influencer marketing tools, this platform also enables you to search for influencers using a certain keyword. But what makes this tool so much better is the detailed analytics it provides you of each influencer.
On the platform, you can clearly view the key interests of each influencer without having to go through their social media profiles yourself. It shows you the number of followers, likes, shares, and comments they have on each social media profile. You can also see their performance in terms of reach, engagement, and amplification.
What’s great about this tool is that it shows the audience demographics for each influencer. For example, you can see the audience geography, so you can choose influencers based on their influence in certain geographic locations. It shows you the influencer’s influence on certain age groups and genders as well. So this tool makes it much easier to choose influencers according to your target audience.
I’m also a huge fan of Insightpool. This platform shows you the number of followers/subscribers each influencer has on all the social media and blog platforms they’re on. It gives you details on what kind of topics they normally post about. And you can even view their most recent social activity and the brands they’ve worked with.
#6. Ed Leake – Midas Media
“What’s your go-to tool for influencer marketing, and why?” For me Ninja Outreach ticks a lot of boxes, you can search based on keywords and filter down several layers to find the highly specific contacts. Social profiles are usually easy to find, they are here of course, but it layers a few other metrics on top such as ‘SEO’ numbers for the domain authority, Alexa rank and other estimates – if you like that sort of thing. For me, I take domain authority and ‘Klout’ (lol) with a pinch of salt.
I’m more interested in an influencers activity and response rate on their chosen platform. I don’t mean how many bots spam retweets for them, either.
Ninja Outreach allows you to setup and track campaigns easily, so you can add notes and see your email history. However, with any tool like this it’s open to abuse.
Abuse? Yeah, like grabbing an outreach template (what hell is that anyway?) and adding a pseudo personalisation, then hitting spam… sorry, I mean send, to your potential contacts. Influencer outreach tools give us the power to find, sort and activate potential engagement – but the key takeaway for me is, don’t fake personalisation, don’t spam people, and be selective with who’s time you ask for.
#7. Rebekah Radice – RebekahRadice.com
The simplest way to do this is to begin by searching your keyword or phrase (e.g. social media). Choose 5-10 Pages to begin and determine which ones you want to like and keep up with.
Once you click “like,” Facebook will show you more pages that are similar. Take your time to review the content, engagement, and consistency.
Now start to interact with those pages and build a relationship. It’s important to do your homework before making any Influencer decisions.
#8. Lilach Bullock – LilachBullock.com
I use a few different tools for influencer marketing: Agorapulse for finding any new social influencers that are following me, BuzzSumo for finding more influencers and BuzzStream for both finding influencers and for the outreach part.
BuzzStream is probably the main tool I use for influencer marketing, though; it allows me to find relevant influencers easily and to reach out to them and I love that you can easily see all of your interactions with them, whether they be via social media or email. You can also see at a glance whether the influencer opened the email and even if they clicked on any link.
#9. Debra Mastaler – Alliance-Link
The Right Relevance app is part of the Right Relevance content discovery platform which is an enterprise level tool and probably the best I’ve seen for trending content and influencers.
My other go-to favorites are my alert services like Talkwalker and Screaming Frog. Without them, I could not shift through hundreds of sites and articles a day to find what I need to work. They cut my workload in half!
#10. Mark W. Schaefer – BusinessesGrow.com
I am going to provide an unusual angle to this question: A survey. What I am finding is that the true value of influence marketing cannot be discerned through a digital footprint alone, especially in B2B. Top really understand, we need to go right to the influencers, either through a poll or a phone call to understand how the client brand might be showing up in their content, presentations, workshops, and conversations. Old school? Yes. But a lot of the power is occurring outside of what we can easily measure.
#11. Daniel Knowlton – KPS Digital Marketing
My go-to tool for Influencer Marketing is Twitter Lists. Twitter Lists make it super easy and efficient for me to regularly engage with various groups of Influencers. Regular, human engagement is a big part of getting an Influencer on your side.
#12. Joanna Wiebe – Copy Hackers
I can’t say I use a tool for influencer marketing — my go-to “tool” in this case is getting on stages that other influencers are already on, and speaking to audiences filled with influencers. So it’s not a tool but perhaps a hack: to get influencers to respond to your emails, share your content and otherwise help you grow your business, get your butt out there and actually share your best ideas with the world. Build your influence in real life to borrow the influence of others.
#13. Jason Falls – JasonFalls.com
I don’t really have one go-to tool because different tools have different strengths. But I’ve recently used Scrunch and like the versatility and simplicity of it. In my early testing, it also seems to have a good algorithm for surfacing influencers in a given niche even those familiar with the niche may not be familiar with.
#14. Ross Simmonds – RossSimmonds.com
The best way to connect with influencers is by establishing a meaningful relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of going in immediately for the sell when in reality, the best approach is to establish rapport and a connection with influencers.
The folks at Groove talked about the value of relationships in one of their blog posts about generating 1,000 subscribers from one single blog post.
My favorite tool for building relationships with influencers is the social media tool Crate. Crate allows you to upload the Twitter handle of an influencer or their blog and within seconds be met with content they’ve tweeted or published on their site. From there, you can share these posts and mention the influencer in the process to notify them and get on their radar. It’s a great way to establish an initial connection and scratch the influencers back before going in for an ask or request.
#15. Aaron Agius – Louder.Online
One of my favorite tools for influencer marketing lately has been Mailshake. It’s pretty lightweight compared to platforms like Pitchbox, but it does basic automation really well. I’ve tested a lot of tools with built-in research components, but often I find that I get better results and spend less time just doing my research by hand (rather than wading through lists and lists of irrelevant results).
Once I’m sure I’ve qualified all the influencers I plan to reach out to, Mailshake lets me customize small batches of emails with the necessary merge fields so that every message I send out reads as personalized to the recipient.
There’s no tool that can replace building real relationships, but I’ve found Mailshake to be a great, cheap alternative to automating the process of making many of those initial contacts.
#16. Melonie Dodaro – Top Dog Social Media
I’m going to go old school with my go-to tool for influencer marketing. If you are attending an event where influencers are speaking, get a list of speakers from the event website and start engaging with them on social media before the event.
Start sharing their content and engaging with them on social. Send them a connection request on LinkedIn and tell them how excited you are to see them speak.
Then make a point of reaching out to them just before the event. If they’ve written a book say you’d really love to meet them in person to get them to sign your book. After the event, continue to engage with them to stay top of mind. Many people have used this exact strategy with me when I speak at events and several of them then became guest bloggers on my website and have actually become personal friends. I can’t think of a better way to do influencer marketing then to get to meet influencers offline, it’s offline that a relationship becomes real.
#17. Adel de Meyer – AdelDeMeyer.com
Scraawl can help you to identify potential influencers for new markets. Simply conduct a search using keywords or hashtags relevant to your target market. Scraawl will provide a list of top users (those with the most content matching your search), top mentions, and top influential users (with the Influence Discovery analytic).
Once you know who the important voices are in the conversations, you can examine their communities and networks to better understand their realm of influence. You can also use Scraawl to track the performance of your existing influencers using Brand Monitoring reports which provide social metrics like reach, engagement, and impressions for each user.
In addition, to the social metrics, you can use Scraawl’s Topic Modelling analytic to get understand the content of your influencers’ communications. Scraawl provides valuable insights to inform and shape influencer marketing. Rather than some ‘influence score’ calculated by reach and engagement by most tools, with Scraawl you can really dig into the data to make sure if the influencer is really influential and has a real community, not filled with purchased bot followers.
#18. Brian Carter – The Brian Carter Group
The main tool I’ve used for finding influencers is BuzzSumo. It can do many things, like surface highly-shared content, but in regards to influencers, it can help you search any topic area (Google keyword-style) for influencers to discover the most influential people by niche. You can choose to narrow your search results by bloggers, journalists, companies or regular people.
Then you can save and organize these influencers into any number of outreach lists. They have another feature to help you build an audience of Twitter users who’ve shared content from your domain, which you can then use for targeting in a Twitter ad campaign, if you want to stay visible to people who’ve already been influential for you- these people have retweeted once, so they’re much more likely to again than any other random person, which makes that ad money well-spent.
This latter strategy helps you reach both medium and lower-degree influencers. The influencers with the most power are the hardest for companies to enlist and influence themselves, so it’s very important to also have a plan for accessing and working with medium and lower-power influencers.
#19. Erik Qualman – #1 International Bestselling Author & Motivational Speaker
I really like what Ted Murphy has built at IZEA out of Orlando Florida. The Shark Tank’s Daymond John and I were down there to check it out the operation first hand earlier this year and it was impressive. Their platform makes it easy for brand and influencers to connect. Everything about it is easy from a user standpoint I was fortunate to speak with over 50 of the top bloggers, “YouTubers,” and influencers that same week and they all raved about IZEA and it’s easy to see why.
#20. Mike Allton – The Social Media Hat
My approach to Influencer Marketing is, perhaps, less scientific than others. While I have used some great tools like Ninja Outreach to find previously unknown bloggers and content creators in specific niches, that’s really more outreach and discover than true influencer marketing.
What’s truly outperformed every tool and technique is to foster personal relationships with the experts in my niche. And for that, there really is no tool.
That said, there are some tools that can help make that process a little easier.
First, tools like Triberr, Feedly, NinjaOutreach and others can help you to find and identify influencers in your niche. If you’re just getting started, it’s sometimes hard to know who the real experts and ‘movers’ in your space are. Taking the time to read what others are saying – and what those individuals are saying – will pay off.
Second, the social networks themselves are critical pieces of influencer marketing today. No tool will replace your ability to follow and engage with influencers. With social networks, you can see and respond to their posts, as well as take steps to help them and, by doing so, make a positive impression that furthers the relationship.
Third and most important is face-to-face contact. No amount of tweets and mentions can replace meeting someone “in the flesh” and making a real connection to them. Whether it’s a local influencer you can meet at a networking event, or a colleague you can spend time with at an industry event, those meetings will often result in taking what might have already been a great relationship to the next level.
#21. John Hall – Influence & Co.
Social Rank is great because it gives you an easy way to manage and organize your Twitter and Instagram followers. It pulls all the information of your followers so you can quickly identify them, and you can create filters so you can easily target the appropriate group with a campaign. Also, you can sort your followers based on who is the most influential and engaged, making it so easy to target the right people for the right messaging. It makes sorting through the social noise a breeze.
#22. Eric Enge – Stone Temple Consulting
BuzzSumo – This tool lets you rapidly find the most shared content on any topic (such as “content marketing”). You can set the time range to anything from 24 hours to 1 year, or something more specific than that. There are may other filters that you can apply as well. Using this tool can help you learn a lot about what works, and who is creating it. There are also paid options that let you do more.
BuzzStream – This is great for finding influencers and sites from which you would like to obtain links. It helps you identify contact information and manage the outreach process. You can then sort and prioritize your opportunities. It helps track tweeting between your accounts, and your email communications as well.
Followerwonk – This one is owned and operated by Moz, and it’s specific to Twitter. It measures “Social Authority,” and it provides a score of a combination of your followers and the level of influence of those followers, as well as the engagement level you typically get on your posts. It’s very useful if Twitter is a major area of focus for you.
#23. Andrew Hutchinson – Social Media Today
Followerwonk is actually, I think, and underutilized tool in this regard. It’s a bit more of a manual process than you’ll might get with some of the more popular choices, but using Followerwonk’s ‘Compare Users’ option, you can get an overview of Twitter audience cross-overs, which enables you to locate the most relevant sources for the people you’re trying to reach.
For example, if you know you want to reach people interested in ‘fishing,’ you could look up all the people who tweet about fishing or list fishing in their profile, then use the ‘Compare Users’ tool to see who they all follow in-common. Refine this list and you’ll eventually get a focused selection of Twitter users followed by all the key people you want to reach. Those are the voices likely to give you the most bang for your buck, at least on Twitter.
#24. Barry Feldman – Feldman Creative
BuzzSumo is my go-to resource for identifying influential people and publishers. It sheds light on quite a few things including domain authority and several metrics regarding influence on Twitter.
Often, I’ll go from there to doing research on Google and Amazon looking to find authors, bloggers and speakers. The influential people are creating valuable content, so I try to learn more about the content they create then I get on their radar somehow: blog comments, shares, email, and actually meeting them.
I find conducting web-based interviews to be powerful. No one’s going to forget you after you spend time interviewing them, especially if you’ve done your homework and can ask insightful questions.
#25. Ted Rubin – TedRubin.com
The biggest mistake brands make when trying to engage influencers is not first trying to understand who they are and what they stand for. They think it is all about the money, and simply the number and reach. I write a lot about looking people in the eye digitally… so for me the most important influencer marketing tool is building relationships.
Influencer marketing, when used to its best effect, is about building a network of business relationships that will yield results over time. You’ll get as much out of the program as you put into it. So if your goal is to find a platform, and make this like programmatic advertising, and do whatever you can to automate the process… you will be throwing the majority of your budget down the drain.
A Network Gives You Reach… But A Community Gives You Power!
Relationships are like muscle tissue… the more they are engaged, the stronger and more valuable they become. So if you are only focused on the Money… You risk completely overlooking the People.
#26. Viveka von Rosen – Linked Into Business
Despite getting a bit of a bum rap, my go to tool for Influence Marketing is actually LinkedIn Publisher. You don’t have to be a LinkedIn Influencer to get some great mileage out of Publisher (and maybe even Pulse!)
An article on Publisher that goes viral can build visibility, credibility and subject matter expertise – that goes a long way to making you an industry Influencer.
#27. Nicholas Scalice – Earnworthy
My go-to tool for influencer marketing is a simple Facebook Ads campaign. While some might say this isn’t exactly a “tool” in the traditional sense, it is certainly an effective way to get the attention of people in any niche.
The secret for small influencer campaigns like this is in refining your ad targeting so that you’re spending your budget effectively. You can target a Facebook ads campaign in so many ways, including job description, interests, and industry.
And with Facebook ads, you can literally start with a very small budget. I’m talking about just a few dollars per day and then scale up the best performing ones.
#28. Tim Fargo – Social Jukebox
The #1 tool to use in becoming an influencer is YOU. In a world where everyone can buy the same services as you, YOU are the difference.
This doesn’t mean a collection of your most staged poses, or choreographed actions.It’s often sharing your own very human struggles, or organizational ups and downs.
Your story. The extra weight you’re trying to shed. The decision you’re facing as a company to grow or stay smaller an closer to your existing clients. While technology is an important part of marketing, people want to identify with those they engage in business. Often the best “hack” is to cut the bullshit and be yourself.
#29. Eric T. Tung – EricTTung.com
I’d say don’t use a tool. If you network, meet people, and figure out who is in your industry and proactive about sharing news and information, it’s easy to get into influencer marketing. It’s easy to use tools to see who are the top social people in particular segments, but they can be wrong.
I was once ranked #16 in the world for ITSM, IT Service Management, or helpdesk software. I tweeted about it a couple times, but have a huge following.
Someone with a smaller following, but with a legitimate blog, or who is active in the community is much more influential than I am. So I would say forget tools, use some common sense, and see who is actually active and willing to participate in social.
#30. Chad Pollitt – Native Advertising Institute
My favorite influencer marketing tool is probably not what most would think. It’s my personal contacts database, or what was once called a rolodex 20 plus years ago. As digital marketers we can sit behind our computers most every day or we can get out there and network – both online and offline.
I’ve been fortunate enough to develop relationships with hundreds of industry insiders over the years – real relationships, both online and offline. Don’t be afraid to attend networking events, don’t be afraid to attend conferences, don’t be afraid to consistently leave comments on thought leaders posts, don’t be afraid to attend webinars or virtual events, don’t be afraid to leave book reviews.
We may call certain folks “influencers,” but at the end of the day they’re just people like you and I. There’s an old saying that goes something like this, “It’s not about what you know. It’s about who you know.
#31. Dave Schneider – Ninja Outreach
I don’t want to sound self-serving, but it would be ironic if I don’t say NinjaOutreach. Our business is influencer marketing and outreach, and I and my team use our tool heavily for exactly that.
It was born out of our dissatisfaction and was built to address the gaps we found with the other tools we’ve used before, so you can pretty much say it’s the model of everything we need right now.
#32. Josh Steimle – JoshSteimle.com
Coffee. No, I don’t drink it, I’m Mormon, but a funny thing happens when you sit down with an influencer and buy him or her a cup of coffee and chat for a few minutes–you start to develop a relationship. And because it’s in person, the old-fashioned way, and because it represents a real investment of time on the part of both parties, it stands out in stark contrast to the emails that flood the inboxes of the best influencers.
I primarily target influencers who are writers and contributors at top-tier publications, and although I’ve been introduced to many of them online, once I’ve met them in person everything changes–in a matter of minutes we go from being cautious associates to best friends. All it takes is a cup of coffee, and some old-style relationship building.
#33. Dan Scalco – Digitalux
One of my favorite tools for influencer marketing is BuzzSumo. To be honest, while there might be more “feature rich” apps out there, I continuously find myself going back to BuzzSumo because it’s easy to use, straightforward, and saves me time. I just type, hit enter, and I have what I need.
I will also occasionally use Followerwonk by Moz. It’s probably one of the best tools out there to help you understand who’s who in the world of Twitter — top tweets, most mentioned domains, most mentioned users, and more.
#34. Gini Dietrich – Spin Sucks
The go-to tool we use for influencer relations is Traackr. Not only are they extraordinarily nice people, the tool is, hands-down, the best at identifying, researching, engaging and supporting influencer relationships.
The kicker for me, though, is it helps you measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, down to specific tweets, blog posts, or videos your influencers have created on your behalf. It’s the only tool we use today
#35. Joe Gagliese – Viral Nation
Personally my go-to tool is experience. Influencer marketing is like hiring strangers to take care of your child the child being the brand. It is about managing people and understanding that they are never going to be robots. Experience allows you to know who is easiest to work with and the most effective.
Once you have established the experience influencer marketing because exponentially easier and more effective. Influencers interests and personalities vary greatly and you need to have a personal connection in order to be successful.
#36. Cameron Conaway – CameronConaway.com
At Klipfolio we’re radically focused on small and midsized businesses, so we’ve naturally grown into big advocates of “advocate marketing.” Our biggest influencers have always been and will continue to be our customers, and Influitive grants us the platform and creativity to leverage their voices and empower their advocacy.
We’ve used it in a variety of ways—from simply asking for social shares on important company-related blog posts to serving as beta testers for new features that, on many occasions, they’ve actually been the first to request.
For us there is a critical difference between influencer marketing and advocate marketing: both have the capacity to amplify reach, but it’s often only those in the latter that deeply care about the ins and outs of your product and want to help play a role in improving it.
#37. Evan Dunn – Transform
I use ManageFlitter. With the largest database of Twitter user information outside of Twitter itself, ManageFlitter enables targeted, curated influencer engagement at scale. We have leveraged ManageFlitter to raise awareness for startups, gain funding for Kickstarter campaigns, and promote B2B brands to industry influencers. ManageFlitter’s powerful search and management features make it incredibly quick and effective to launch influencer campaigns.
For us there is a critical difference between influencer marketing and advocate marketing: both have the capacity to amplify reach, but it’s often only those in the latter that deeply care about the ins and outs of your product and want to help play a role in improving it
#38. John Jantsch – Duct Tape Marketing
I rely on many tools to run my business effectively, but if I had to choose one in regards to influencer marketing, it would be BuzzSumo. I originally used BuzzSumo as my go-to tool for doing content and competitive research, but now I use it for so much more, including influencer mining. With the paid version you can find influential players in just about any topic or industry. All you have to do is type in a topic and start mining the list.
The great thing is that once you develop the list there’s a wealth of information about who they are, who they are connected to, how much engagement they generate, and what they typically share.
#39. Mike Schiemer – Bootstrap Business
For Influence Marketing I actually often turn to Quora. It allows you to easily search for any topic and find the Top 10 Influencers of the last 30 days. I also search on Influencer websites like Onalytica and Agilience. I’ll even check Twopcharts or similar programs to more accurately gauge an Influencer’s following on Twitter.
I might even check Klout on occasion. That all being said, there is no substitute for really knowing your target industry when it comes to identifying and leveraging true Influencers that can provide you with a strong ROI.
#40. Doug Kessler – Velocity Partners
LinkedIn is still my favourite tool for influencer marketing in B2B.
It’s the world’s biggest professional network, the search features are excellent and you can reach out to people with InMail.
You can also research people really thoroughly on LinkedIn, discovering key influencers and seeing what content they share and engage with.
With all the (admittedly cool) social media monitoring tools out there, it’s easy to take LinkedIn for granted. That would be a mistake.
#41. Matt Heinz – Heinz Marketing
My go-to tool for influencer marketing is (wait for it…) the telephone. Digital channels and organizers are great, and I’m a huge fan of Influitive’s advocate hubs, but personally I still like picking up the phone and talking to people live. It’s differentiating, non-scalable and beautiful!
#42. Shonali Burke – Shonali Burke Consulting
I see a lot of new influencer marketing tools popping up, but so far I haven’t seen anything hold a candle to Traackr (disclosure, they’re a former but not current client). It’s an extremely powerful search engine-plus-management platform for influencers, so it’s literally your one-stop influencer platform. Of course, like any other software you have to use it to get to its full potential – but if you do, your results are remarkable. Btw, I worked with them to create their Academy of Influencer Marketing, so if you’re interested in great educational content on influencer marketing, you should check it out.