How to pick the best influencers for your campaign

If you ask a kid what they want to be when they grow up, there’s a 17% chance you’ll get the following answer: an influencer. With that, influencers finish as the second most popular dream profession, closely followed by another startling choice: YouTuber (16%).

While a traditional dream job still leads the list (doctor, with 18%), the shift is clear. Technology has permeated our lives on almost every level. No wonder influencer marketing is currently one of the hottest areas of the industry.

Influencer marketing

Striking up a partnership with social media influencers has many short and long-term benefits for your business. You can reach a wider audience instantly, rely on the power of word-of-mouth marketing, boost your brand recognition, and get a great return on investment (ROI).

When taking all of this into account, it’s hardly a surprise that influencer marketing continues its exponential growth. According to the State of Influencer Marketing 2019 Benchmark Report, the market size of influencer marketing is predicted to reach $6.5 billion this year. Given that, back in 2016 the market was a “mere” $1.7 billion worth, this sudden growth is even more impressive.

If you find yourself grabbing your phone and checking out potential candidates for your next marketing campaign, you’re not alone. But do you know how to find influencers?

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How to find influencers

Finding influencers is not hard. In fact, you can barely scroll down a social media site without stumbling upon a post by some celebrity influencer or another. But is the Kardashian klan, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Selena Gomez the best choice for your brand?

Even if one or more of them were, I bet they’re not the right choice for your budget. If you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on one single post, you better keep looking. How? Glad you asked.

Find the platform

To find the right influencers, you need to first determine which social media platforms your target market prefers. If you’re targeting the 30-45+ generation, Facebook or LinkedIn would be a safe choice. However, if your target market is 18-29 year-olds, it’s best to look into Snapchat or WhatsApp.

Of course, if you’re reaching out to a more niche market (e.g. manga-loving 20-somethings), there may be a specific platform that caters to that audience. Make sure to thoroughly research your target market’s preferences. Otherwise, your carefully designed influencer marketing campaign gets lost in the ether.

Your safest bet in most cases is Instagram, which is currently one of the most popular platforms for social media influencers.

Once you have the platforms down, you’ll need to find out which influencers your target market listens to.

Find the influencers

Even if you’ve determined the target market and the platform, finding actual influencers is harder than it sounds. Why? Because there are different types of influencers, and the ones that instantly jump to your mind aren’t necessarily the best ones.

Don’t let yourself be swayed by larger-than-life, A-list celebrities (aka macro-influencers). Instead, dig deeper and find micro-influencers, people who have a smaller following but a higher engagement rate.

There are micro-influencers in almost any industry. For example, trusted bloggers who write about a specific topic (e.g. food, beauty, fitness, or lifestyle-bloggers) tend to have a highly valued opinion among their followers.

Don’t worry, you won’t have to comb through the entire blogosphere to find these influencers. (Although it wouldn’t hurt to learn about blogs your target market likes to read.)

There are a few handy tools that help you find influencers. BuzzSumo, Followerwonk, Hootsuite, or Trendspottr are just a few platforms that boast well-functioning influencer-finding tools. For a very low-cost option, you may even try Googling “best influencer + your industry” and see what happens.

Pick the right influencers

Chances are, about a hundred eligible influencers showed up in your search. Unless you want to engage all of them, you need to narrow it down to one or two social media influencers. But how?

Who best fits your brand?

Not all influencers are created equal. Some are funny, others are serious. One appeals to a certain type of person while driving others crazy. Besides considering what your target market prefers, you need to consider whether the influencer’s style and personality fit your brand.

What is your brand’s voice? What would it be and look like if it was a person? Young, quirky, and laid-back, or older, more reserved, more serious? Try to find an influencer that matches your brand’s personality.

For example, the match between football player Marshawn Lynch and the brand Skittles has is definitely made in heaven. The player’s and the brand’s images align with each other, creating a genuine message for the audience.

However, would Lynch be a similarly good match for Dr. Hauschka’s organic skin care product line for men?

Reach

Check your prospective influencers’ followership and engagement. As a rule of thumb, we can assume that the larger the followership, the wider an influencer’s reach is. Beware though: it’s not uncommon for influencers to commit fraud.

Yes, unfortunately, even influencers can cheat. To make themselves seem more influential, some influencers may resort to buying followers. Luckily, you don’t have to check each follower to see if they’re a genuine human being. There are tools that can help you with that.

Or, alternatively, you may look at how engaged (commenting and replying to comments) the influencer is with their followers. A person with 200,000 followers but only one or two comments per post typically raises a red flag.

As an added bonus, engagement can help you find your perfect influencer as well. How? Usually, a higher engagement with followers means a more thorough influence on those followers’ choices.

Price

And, last but not least comes the issue of price. Influencers typically require payment for their services. Their rates vary depending on their status, followership, the amount of required posts, and the social media platform they’re working on.

Define your budget for influencer marketing and see which of your top choices would fit within your limits.

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Conclusion

Finding influencers is not an easy task. However, due to the many benefits of influencer marketing, rest assured that the hard work will pay off. With a well-chosen influencer, you can expect a long and fruitful partnership that has a highly positive effect on your brand image, reputation, and sales numbers.

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