Influencer marking is consistently gaining traction each year, and almost all modern DTC brands have signed on to work with influencers and content creators. As a result, these brands have continuously seen incredible growth and new exposure from working with creators.
Something that is often a pain point for many brands, though, is the process of finding the right influencers to run a campaign with.
Influencer discovery can seem dicy, but there are many surefire strategies that you can utilize to find the best influencers for your brand.
The right influencers are out there, waiting to work with you! In fact, on Instagram alone, there are over 500,000 active influencers. This means the perfect influencers that are perfect for your brand and niche are on social media; you just need to discover them.
So in this article, we will show you 13 different strategies you can use to find the best influencers for your next campaign!
Benefits of Working with Influencers
Your brand can gain so many rich benefits from working with influencers.
Influencers can help you expand your reach, genuinely market your product, and hit your growth goals.
Some of the significant benefits brands gain from working with influencers include:
- Increase brand awareness
- Promote trust
- Boost in social following, engagement, and reach
- Easier time reaching your ideal customers who might not know you exist
- More shares and engagement on social media
- Increase website flow
- Increase in sales and repeat purchases
Plus so much more. Working with influencers will provide your brand with more growth and happy customers.
13 Smart Strategies for Finding the Best Influencers to Partner With
Ready to harness the power of influencer marketing and absolutely thrive this year? Then follow these 13 strategies to find the best influencers and content creators for your brand! 🤩
#1 Establish Goals and KPIs
The first step with any influencer marketing strategy is to set goals for each campaign, define your budget, and establish campaign KPIs.
Doing this before beginning outreach will help you evaluate if an influencer will generate a positive ROI and help you reach your growth goals.
We recommend looking beyond vanity metrics when working with influencers, such as likes and followers.
Instead, analyze their average engagement rate, how many real followers they have, and if their content style will fall in line with your brand's voice.
Don't fall into the trap of working with an influencer because they have hundreds of thousands of followers. Bots exist!
Instead, opt to work with influencers and content creators who have a strong rapport with their audience and a highly engaged community.
#2 Define Your Vetting Process
Vetting is essential in finding influencers to work with on any campaign.
Influencers may reach out to you for collaboration opportunities. Still, it's best to take the time to ensure that the influencer aligns with your brand, that their audience will respond well to your products, and that their following is legit.
That's why checking metrics such as reach and engagement rate are essential when vetting.
There have been influencers out there that have bought their following. But unfortunately, partnering with influencers like that won't yield positive results from the campaign.
Instead, be sure to ask for a variety of metrics and KPIs from applicants, including:
- Average reach
- Average number of impressions
- Engagement rate
- Audience demographics
Be sure to check that the influencer has a niche that makes sense for your product and that their comments aren't filled with bots, spam, or negativity. Instead, strive to work with authentic influencers that genuinely connect with their community.
#3 Evaluate Their Media Kit
Before starting a campaign with an influencer, ask them to send you their media kit.
Think of an influencer's media kit as their resume. In this kit, you will often find social metrics, examples of past work, companies the influencer has partnered or is currently partnering with, KPIs, and a bio.
Typically, the influencer will include a variety of media to represent their work best.
Evaluate the media kit to help you determine if the influencer will be a good fit to work with your brand.
Be sure to keep tabs on the testimonials from previous work, as well as vital statistics, such as engagement rate.
Media kits also usually include pricing, so it will be a great way to evaluate if working with the influencer will be within your budget.
#4 Perfect Your Pitch
Mastering the art of the initial outreach message will help you close more contracts and campaigns with influencers.
It's important to remember that influencers receive a large volume of DMs each day, so you will want your pitch to be professional, personal, and non-pushy.
Here are some pieces of advice:
- Send an email over DM; it has a higher chance of being opened by the influencer
- Throw in a personal touch, such as why you like their work or a piece of content they created that resonated with you
- Always include their name
- Keep it short, sweet, professional, and don't be pushy
- NEVER ask the influencer to DM you in the comments of their most recent post - that indicates a scam to them. Engage in the comments, but don't put the work on the influencer
- Give it some time before following up - you don't want to come off as desperate
- Genuinely engage with their content (and make sure you follow the influencer)
#5 Outline Your Campaign Details Before Starting Outreach
Before you start reaching out to influencers, you will need to organize your campaign details.
This will include your budget, KPIs, and strategy for managing the campaign.
Additionally, you will want to decide if you will work with the influencers once or for an extended period.
Get with your team, iron out your messaging and goals, and document it. To make for a smooth and beneficial campaign, you will want to be completely upfront with your expectations, pricing, and KPIs.
There are a few different types of campaigns you could run with influencers, including:
- Sponsored post or content
- Affiliate marketing
- Becoming a brand ambassador
- Giveaways and contents
- Running ads
- Guest posting
Define the best one for your brand, and then search for influencers you think would be a good fit for the campaign.
#6 Check Your Tagged Posts
One of the EASIEST ways of finding influencers and interesting creators to work with is to see who is tagging your brand and products on social media.
Checking your tagged posts will indicate who is already engaged with your brand, using your products or service, and is already a happy customer.
This will create a more genuine campaign since influencers recommend your brand to their followers.
Search in your DMs, comments, tagged posts, and story mention to see who is tagging and engaging with your brand on socials.
The transition from customer advocate to partner will be natural and will convert well with your audience and the influencer's audience.
#7 Partner with Influencers Your Audience Is Already Following
Another crucial step in finding the right influencers to work with is to analyze who your customers are following.
You will want to work with influencers and content creators that best resonate with your ideal target audience.
The best way to do this is by studying who your ideal customers follow, what content they are engaging with, and who they are following.
By researching your ideal customers' patterns on social media, you will be able to evaluate better the kind of content and influencer campaigns that will resonate best with them.
#8 Work with Creators of All Sizes
The world of influencer marketing is changing, and there is a significant shift in brands working with smaller content creators on campaigns.
Many brands have begun to harness micro and nano influencer power and have embraced them with open arms.
There are many rich benefits of working with smaller creators, including:
- They typically have a smaller, tight-knit community that trust their recommendations
- Great if you are on a budget
- Smaller creators usually have a higher engagement rate
- Brands have great luck finding micro/nano influencers that are also customer advocates
Working with various nano and micro-influencers can help your brand see a higher engagement rate and work within a community that is already tightly dialed in.
#9 Offer Long-Term Partnerships when Possible
Influencers and content creators prefer long-term partnerships in 2022.
Working with an influencer and content creator over several months will be better for your brand as well.
If you enter into a long-term contract with an influencer, your brand will benefit from repeated exposure with the influencer's audience.
When working with an influencer on a one-time basis, you run the risk that their audience will miss the post that includes your product. Additionally, the influencer's followers could take it as a cash grab and not a genuine product recommendation.
Many brands are turning to long-term partnerships with influencers. For example, 56% of brands use the same influencers across different campaigns, as long-term partnerships are mutually beneficial for both the brand and influencer.
One-time posts aren't necessarily bad, especially when working with more prominent influencers with a bigger audience.
But to help market your brand to the influencer's audience in a trustworthy and genuine way, you should aim to have the influencer feature your products several times over a few months.
It will help the influencer earn more money, especially if they are an affiliate, and it will help you convert more customers.
#10 Tap into Your Community and Customer Base
Customer advocates are genuinely the best types of content creators to work with.
Because they are already talking about and recommending your product to friends, family, followers if they have an active social media presence.
Nano, micro, and even macro-influencers are likely already using your products, and you have their information in your customer base.
So reach out to your customers and ask interested customers to share their media kit and apply to work with your brand!
#11 Monitor the Competition
With any marketing strategy, doing a competitive analysis is crucial in creating a plan that helps you differentiate yourself from the competition.
And finding the right influencers to work with is no different.
Checking out the competition will help you see influencers and content creators that the brands work with and give you an idea of potential influencers engaging with the competition's content.
You don't want to poach their customers, but checking out the competition can signal what types of influencers will resonate well with your brand and help you decide who to reach out to work with.
#12 Use Influencer Discovery Tools
Your brand can use many third-party influencer discovery tools to find the right content creators to partner with!
These tools can help you with campaign planning, forecasting, and finding great long-term partners.
Some tools you could consider:
Influencer discovery tools take the hard work out of finding influencers and help you discover influencers you might have never known were out there that could be an excellent fit for your brand.
#13 Search Relevant, Branded, and Niche Hashtags
Many brands use branded hashtags on their posts and ask their followers to tag them when creating UGC.
Additionally, many brands rotate hashtags on posts to increase searchability and find new audience members.
Utilize those hashtags to find valuable influencers in your niche and reach out.
For example - Vitae Apparel uses the branded hashtag #VitaeBabe, and they can go and search that branded hashtag to find potential influencers to partner with.
What strategies will you use to find the right influencers to work with during your next campaign?
Follow these 13 steps, and you will find the best influencers and content creators out there to help you achieve your growth goals!
Ready to turn your customers into your thriving crew of brand ambassadors? If so, watch the epic CrewFire demo video or get in touch with us to learn how you can drive more referrals, word-of-mouth, and user-generated content for your Shopify store.
Get in touch w/ Rony (CEO - CrewFire)