Knowing how to find influencers who can help you get in front of your target audience is an excellent way to reach new people, drive traffic to your website, build brand awareness, and increase sales.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to find influencers who can support your marketing strategies by reviewing 19 tips and tools for developing, launching, and refining an effective influencer marketing strategy.
What Is an Influencer?
An influencer is an online authority who has a following of people who believe and listen to what they have to say. Their followers are loyal and frequently shape their opinions and interests based on what the influencer thinks, uses, and believes.
An influencer could be a:
- Social media personality
- Industry expert
- Thought leader
- Lifestyle brand
There is no specific list of influencer criteria when it comes to characteristics or reach. An influencer doesn’t even necessarily need a very large audience to be considered an influencer
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. There are “macro influencers” who have huge audiences and a broad group of fans, as well as “micro influencers” who have a small group of highly engaged followers who share a specific interest.
What Is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is when a brand leverages an influencer’s reach and authority to increase their visibility, share their messaging, and build brand awareness and loyalty.
Brands can engage influencers by getting them to:
- Spread the word about their content or brand. Influencers can share content or mention a brand and lead their audience to the brand’s website, content, or social accounts.
- Become a spokesperson for their brand. Influencers can become a brand ambassador and regularly mention and share content about a brand.
- Write about their brand. Influencers can cover a brand’s news by writing their own content about the brand’s story, products, or services.
Through these partnerships, brands can reap multiple and varied benefits of influencer marketing.
Looking for influencer marketing inspiration? Read our post: 3 Influencer Marketing Examples (That Don’t Require Celebrities)
The Benefits of Influencer Marketing
Whether you work with a macro influencer celebrity like Kylie Jenner, who has 137 million Instagram followers, or a niche micro influencer blogger like Karrie Truman, who shares instapot recipes with her 14,000 Instagram followers, you have something to gain from influencer marketing.
Influencer marketing helps to:
- Build brand awareness
- Reach your ideal audience
- Increase your social following
- Build trust
- Acquire high-quality backlinks
- Gain earned media and social shares
- Generate leads and drive sales
Now that you know what influencer marketing is and how it can benefit your brand, let’s look at how to find influencers for your brand.
How to Find Influencers: 7 Tips
When you start to look for influencers, use these tips to guide your search. These best practices will help you find the influencers most likely to help you create a successful campaign.
- Know your goals before you start
- Know the type of influencer campaign you want to run
- Find influencers related to your industry
- Find influencers you promote your competitors
- Find influencers that share your audience
- Understand the authority of the influencer
- Track your results
1. Know your goals before you start.
When learning how to find influencers, don’t focus on finding every influencer; find the right influencers.
The right influencers are people, brands, and accounts that can best help you reach your audience and goals.
Start building your influencer marketing campaign by first outlining what you want to happen as a result of your work. Your marketing objectives may include:
- Brand awareness
- Building brand identity
- Audience building
- Lead generation
- Customer loyalty
- Link building
When you can clearly define your primary goals, you can better assess influencer relationships and determine if they will help you achieve positive results.
2. Know the type of influencer campaign you want to run.
As you map out your influencer marketing plans, also consider what type of campaign will best help you connect with the type of influencers you want to work with.
Different types of influencer campaigns include:
- Gifting: giving influencers gifts in exchange for mentions, posts, etc.
- Guest posting: getting an influencer to allow you to write for their blog
- Sponsored content: paying an influencer to share your content or create content that is tied to your brand
- Contests and giveaways: using contests as an incentive to get influencers to mention your brand or share your content
- Influencer takeover: letting an influencer take over your social media account for a set amount of time
- Affiliates: sharing affiliate codes with influencers so that they earn money each time someone that came through their funnel purchases from your brand
- Discount codes: allowing influencers to give discount codes for your offerings to their fans and followers
- Brand ambassadors: partnering with an influencer who regularly promotes your brand in exchange for discounts and perks from your brand
3. Find influencers who are related to your industry.
When deciding how to find influencers in your niche, a good place to start is with famous or well-known figures in your industry. Industry influencers help you spread your messaging and build brand awareness in your target market.
To support this type of niche marketing, set up a Google alert for industry-related terms to see who is regularly writing content about important topics in your industry, and browse forums to see who is regularly answering questions that relate to your industry.
4. Find influencers who promote your competitors.
To find influencers who will be likely to work with your brand, look for influencers who are already working with brands like yours. Influencers who already write about others in your industry will be more likely to share content about your brand than accounts that never mention other brands in your niche
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Browse industry-related hashtags on social media to see who is regularly sharing content and talking about your competitors. These engaged influencers would be a good group to reach out to.
5. Find influencers who share your audience.
Influencers don’t necessarily need to be tied to your industry. Influencers who share your audience can provide just as much value as those directly tied to your industry. In fact, working with influencers in an industry that overlaps or is complementary to your own may help you reach even more of your audience.
Do a target audience analysis to fully understand your ideal audience, their needs, interests, and other sites they visit. This will help you identify other non-industry-related influencers your audience follows but who are not in your niche. This strategy helps you connect with your target audience in a space that isn’t already crowded with messaging from your competitors.
6. Understand the authority of the influencer.
When deciding which influencer is right for your campaign, evaluate their authority to determine if they have a relevant or large enough reach to help you accomplish your goals. Influencer analysis is an important part of learning how to find the right influencers that can reach your audience.
Consider influencer ranking factors such as:
- Their number of followers
- Engagement rate of followers
- Alexa Rank of website
- Quality of content
- The depth of niche coverage
7. Track your results.
As you launch campaigns, track influencer marketing KPIs that will help you determine if you’ve reached your goals. Then, once your campaign is complete, review your results to decide if the campaign was a success or needs work.
Use what you learn to help drive future campaigns. For example, if a relationship with an influencer results in the number of leads you were hoping to collect, run another similar campaign. If you failed to reach your goals, either stop the engagement or adjust it to see if you can produce better results.
How to Find Influencers: 8 Tools
Instead of manually searching for influencers, use the following tools to find top influencers for your campaigns
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. The following tools help you find, evaluate, and reach out to top bloggers, publishers, and social media influencers.
Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool
Find websites that share the audience you are trying to reach using Alexa’s Audience Overlap tool. Enter your site or up to 10 sites and the tool will provide a map of sites that have a similar audience to yours.
Save up to 10 sites that look promising using the List Builder and analyze them further using Alexa’s competitive website analysis tools.
Alexa’s Audience Interest Tool
See the topics and sites your ideal audience loves most using Alexa’s Audience Interest tool. Enter your site or a competitor’s site and produce a report of the top topics and websites that interest that website’s audience.
Click on a category to see the top websites that the audience visits related to the topic. Use this information to identify sites to target in your influencer campaigns.
Alexa’s Competitor Backlink Checker
Find out what sites link to your competitors with Alexa’s Competitor Backlink Checker. Enter up to 10 competitor sites to see what websites are linking back to them.
Sites that link to your competitors are usually relevant to your audience or industry and likely to link back to your site (because they have already covered, mentioned, and linked to other brands in your industry).
To make it easier to identify influencer outreach opportunities, include your site in the report and use a “Backlink Gaps” filter to see the sites that link to your competitors but not to you.
Alexa’s Keyword Share of Voice Tool
See what websites have the most authority on a topic using Alexa’s Keyword Share of Voice tool. Enter a topic or theme related to your niche and view a list of sites with the highest share of voice for the phrase. Share of voice is the exposure a brand gets for the target term, so it helps you see which sites are authoritative and highly relevant to your topic and industry.
Alexa’s Site Overview
To find out if a website is worth connecting with for an influencer marketing campaign, use Alexa’s Site Overview Tool. Perform an influencer analysis to evaluate the popularity of the website by entering the site URL and viewing the site’s Alexa Rank. Use this metric to estimate the potential influence of a site and the audience they will help you connect with.
Find influencers related to your industry and topic using BuzzSumo’s Influencer Marketing tool. Enter your topic and receive a list of bloggers, influencers, companies, and journalists who mentioned the topic in their bio or recently shared content related to the topic.
Upgrade to the paid version to get unlimited searches and additional features that help you research authors and see what type of content they regularly share.
Use Keyhole to follow topics relevant to your niche as well as find brands regularly covering your industry. Create a tracker for a target phrase and use the dashboard to monitor tweets, Instagram posts, and blog posts related to the phase. Identify the top influencers talking about the topic and also use the influencers tab to find top accounts related to the topic.
Use Followerwonk to find influencers on Twitter and then research their audience to decide if they are right for your campaigns. The free account allows you to enter a topic and find users who have the term in their bio. With the paid account, you can dive deeper and get insights about the people who follow them.
How to Find Influencers: 4 Providers
If you don’t want to manually search for influencers, you have another option. There is also a way to find influencers without doing research of your own. You can use influencer databases, networks, and marketplaces. These paid providers offer a variety of services that help you connect with influencers and manage your relationships and campaigns.
GroupHigh says it is “the World’s Largest Blogger Database.” It has information on over 50 million websites. Use the platform to find influencers and also manage your influencer relationships and guest blogging outreach.
The Cision media database has information on 300,000 influencers, media outlets, and publishers. An account with Cision allows you to access the database and perform distribution tasks, monitor the reach of your campaigns, and use analytics to assign a value to your earned media and exposure.
The TapInfluence Marketplace connects content creators with marketers who want to leverage their reach. Use the platform to browse profiles of over 50,000 influencers, and search through unique profile categories to find the right person or brand for your influencing campaign.
Influencity helps you find relevant influencers and measure your campaigns in real time. Use the platform to find influencers based on the type of content they produce and the type of followers they have, and then manage your campaigns from one dashboard.
Create a Complete Influencer Marketing Strategy
A strategically planned influencer marketing campaign that leverages the influencers most relevant to your goals, audience, and niche can lead to big results for your brand.
Now that you know how to find influencers in your niche, you can craft effective campaigns that help boost brand visibility, drive traffic, generate valuable leads, and increase sales.
Sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to access tools that can help you with your influencer research, as mentioned in this post.