You’ve decided to use influencers for your next marketing campaign, but now you want to know where to find them. Physically, many of the biggest influencers live in Los Angeles or New York. However, there are countless micro and macro influencers in every city, state and country. Their followings are on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs and beyond. Though you can find many of these influencers directly through their social media pages and get into direct contact with them, there are several sources available for influencer discovery, and the best way to figure out which to work with is by identifying a target number of influencers to activate per campaign. These could vary based on your available resources and how involved your team would like to be in the process, but here are some general guidelines:
1-10 INFLUENCERS PER CAMPAIGN
Recommendation: Handle in-house through direct outreach to creators directly and/or talent managers. If your team doesn't have the bandwidth, consider bringing in a freelance influencer marketing specialist to help pull the pieces together.
When searching for an influencer on your own, here are a few things to look out for:
Find influencers related to your industry and campaign mission- Look within your industry to find experts or well-known people in the field. To help find these influencers, 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 related to your industry.
Search top posts within hashtags relating to your industry. Then, browse through their content and the content of others they tag & who tag them.
Search your own brand hashtag to see what creators are talking about you. Or, search your competitors and check out if any creators have tagged them. If someone is a great fit that they’ve worked with in the past but don’t seem to have an ongoing deal with, they are totally fair game.
Spend time reviewing the influencer’s content to fully understand the authority of the influencer- Know if they have a relevant or large enough audience that will help you achieve your campaign goals. Once you get a sense of their voice & POV, make sure to look at their average engagement rate, quality of content and types of comments, and posting frequency. Also, take a look at past branded content to see how it performs compared to non-sponsored content.
A quick tip – if you’re working with a talent manager on a campaign, a great way to find more creators that might be a fit is to ask for other recommendations from their roster. Don’t just take their word for it though, be sure to vet any additional creators with the same rigor as the first.
10-20+ INFLUENCERS PER CAMPAIGN
Recommendation: Utilize an influencer discovery and/or campaign management tool, such as Tagger.
There are hundreds of influencer discovery platforms available, each with their own nuances in terms of influencer selection, user experience, tool sets, and search capabilities. This software often costs a hefty sum – but if you are just getting started and plan to scale your efforts in the future, be sure to ask sales reps about starting with a short term trial or customizing pricing/access to your needs. Need help picking the tool that’s right for you? Here are a couple helpful resources: Forrester New Wave – Influencer Marketing Top Influencer Platforms to Have on Your Radar
20+ INFLUENCERS PER CAMPAIGN
Recommendation: Utilize an influencer agency partner.
Influencer Agencies can be a huge help for brands that want to activate influencers at scale. They manage everything from soup to nuts, from sourcing and contracting influencers through guaranteeing results. The best influencer agencies have a wide network of relationships with talent and talent managers in the space, and often work with many of the same creators across multiple campaigns. They often know which creators are easiest to work with and put safeguards in place in case a campaign underperforms.
When RFP-ing an influencer agency, here are some tips to keep in mind:
Know your campaign goals- Different influencers are effective for different objectives. When identifying an influencer, it’s important to focus on those that align with your campaign goals & target audience, not just the ones that appear to be the best brand fit aesthetically.
Know what type of influencer campaign you want to run- are you looking to drive direct sales, or generate brand awareness? Are you able to pay influencers, or are you just looking for gifting opportunities? Do you need special considerations, such as event attendance, whitelisting, content usage, etc.? The more you establish and define up front, the better.
Offer a range of budget options, so you can understand the efficiencies available at a higher spend level, even if it’s just to keep in mind for the future.