Imagine this scenario.
You want to buy a faux leather sling bag.
However, you’re not sure which brand is best.
You go online, read reviews, and scour your local shops.
You’re bombarded with ads, endless lists of brand X’s features and brand Z’s benefits, and the annoying voices of countless grinning salespeople.
But just as you’re deciding, a friend drops over and you tell her about your dilemma.
“Oh, that’s easy!” she says. “I bought a faux leather bag from X five years ago, and it’s never since failed me!”
What would you do?
Of course, you’d ignore the lists of features from other brands…
…and buy a bag like hers.
This is how influencer marketing works. It makes us feel safe to take the step we’re afraid of taking because we know someone we trust took it before us.
So, are you ready to get into influencer marketing?
In this article I’ll show you:
- Three reasons you shouldn’t wait until later to dive into influencer marketing.
- Five influencer marketing tools to find real influencers in your space.
- How to find influential influencers if you have zero budget.
- And more!
Let’s dive in.
What’s an Influential Influencer?
When you think of “influencer marketing,” Kylie Jenner probably pops into your head and you think, “Nah, not my type.” 😉
But the truth is, influencers aren’t just famous (or infamous) socialites and celebrities with their own 24-hour shows.
According to Hootsuite, influencers are:
“…social content creators with niche audiences (who have) dedicated and engaged groups of followers on social media.”
This means that your influencer doesn’t have to be a Kylie or Kendall Jenner.
He can be a content marketer on Instagram who earned 10,000 followers because of his awesome posts.
She can be a beloved soccer or tennis player on Facebook (even if she’s unknown to ESPN, as long as she has a sturdy and engaged following).
She can be a chef on Pinterest who grew her fanbase through mouthwatering pins of her homemade dishes + recipes.
In other words, an influencer can be anyone in your niche who’s developed trust with an audience and earned authority in your industry.
Because the truth is, influencer marketing simply works.
3 Reasons to Ditch Your Endorsements & Dive Into Influencer Marketing Today
Ever seen a celebrity promoting cheap shampoo and thought, “Nah, she doesn’t really use that.”
(Me too. 😉)
Because the truth is, endorsements don’t work as well as influencer marketing today.
Here are three reasons to go all out on the latter.
Reason #1: You’ll Build Trust in Your Niche
Influencers didn’t become famous overnight because some producer decided to put them in a movie (not that that’s a bad thing).
They earned trust slowly and painstakingly through the awesome value they brought into people’s lives.
That’s why one message from them about your product/service will build instant trust between their followers and your brand.
Reason #2: You’ll Reach Your Target Audience
Think of an influencer with 80k+ followers like Harry.
The thing is, Harry doesn’t post cute cat videos and generic pics.
He’s all about social media marketing advice.
His followers are people who are into social media marketing.
If you’re in the same niche, this is a pot of gold without the leprechaun guarding it.
Just think of it: You’re not throwing your marketing message to billions of random people who probably don’t care. You’re focusing it on 80,000 people who you know do care about what you’re doing and need your product.
Reason #3: Winning Partnerships
According to a LinkedIn study, 80% of professionals consider networking essential for career success.
And according to John Donne, “No man is an island.”
Bottom line: Working with others leads to tremendous opportunities. Think joint ventures, launches, live events, etc.
5 Influencer Marketing Tools for Finding Real Influencers in Your Space
“That’s great,” you’re saying. “I’m all excited to dive into influencer marketing. The problem is: where do I find real influencers?”
Here are five tools you can use to spot the best campaign partners for your brand.
Want to find influencers on Twitter?
With Followerwonk, you can search for new influencers, compare authority rankings, compare followers, and more.
You can even analyze accounts with huge followings to see what’s working for them.
Price: Free (limited access), $29/month (up to 3 accounts), $79/month (up to 20 accounts)
BuzzSumo is a paid tool, but totally worth its weight in gold!
What’s great about it is its “influencers” tool where you can search YouTube, Twitter, or Google for industry leaders with authority in their space.
For instance, click YouTube and type a keyword into the search field.
Click Search and voila!
Here are your content marketing influencers on YouTube.
Price: Pro ($99/month), Plus ($179/month), Large ($299/month), Enterprise ($499+/month)
3. Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool
This tool is great if you want to check out brands that share your audience.
As I mentioned, teaming up with influencers in the same niche helps you reach more people who need your products or services.
With Alexa’s Audience Overlap Tool, all you need to do is type in a well-known name in your industry, and you’ll see which other names share their audience (and yours).
You can also check out their Alexa rank, their overlap score, and more!
Price: $149/month (includes other top-notch tools)
Keyhole is super easy to use, and it shows you top influencers based on the keyword you type in its search field.
You can get data like how many followers each influencer has, how often they post, and the average engagement they receive from their followers.
Price: Keyhole Suite: $59/month
Klear is a smart influencer marketing tool that helps you target influencers based on your market and location.
Its advanced filters help you focus on influencers by social channel, niche topic, audience demographics, and more.
How to Find Influencers on Social Media in 3 Simple Steps (Even If You Have Zero Budget)
Ok, so maybe you’re just getting started.
Maybe you don’t yet have a sizeable budget for finding influencers.
But you still think influencer marketing is awesome, and you’re excited to give it a go.
If this sounds like you, here are three steps you can follow to find influencers with zero budget.
Step #1: Look out for the Blue Badge
Ever notice a tiny blue badge next to someone’s name on Twitter or Instagram?
You know, like this one next to my name.
What that blue badge means is that the account has been verified by the social media platform as authentic.
Which goes on to mean…
…the person behind the account is a well-known figure.
So if you’re questioning whether or not someone is an influencer, check out whether or not their name has a blue badge next to it.
Step #2. Use Hashtags
I know, it’s hard to dig up blue badge users when there are 3.8 billion people on social today.
But you can narrow it down by using hashtags.
First, brainstorm popular hashtags around your industry.
For instance, if you’re into content marketing you can check out #content or #contentstrategy.
Browse through the results.
Soon enough, you’ll come upon one or two blue badges.
Now, head over to his profile and check:
- What he does.
- How many followers he has.
- How engaged his followers are.
- If his followers could benefit from what you’re offering, and vice versa.
Repeat until you have a sizeable list of influencers to target.
Step #3: Use Keywords on Social Media
As I mentioned, an “influencer” doesn’t have to have to be a person with special status.
They don’t need to be famous actors, athletes, or musicians.
All they need to be is influential.
So, if you find someone in your industry who’s trusted by their followers…
…this is a great person to reach out to for collaboration.
The great news is, it’s not that hard to find people with influence on social media.
All you need is one great keyword.
For instance, “marketing.”
Type this into (for example) Instagram’s search field.
What you’ll get is a bunch of results.
Now, check these results one by one.
How many followers do they have?
Do these followers engage with their posts?
Do they post helpful, trustworthy, valuable content?
If the answer is yes, then you’ve found your influencer!
How to Leverage Influencer Marketing for Your Brand
I know, winning people over is harder than ever.
We’re all exhausted with ads and salespeople ramming us deeper into a funnel.
So if you’re looking for a fresh way to reach out and win trust, it’s through someone people already know and like.
Someone who’s worked long and hard to give value and build credibility.
This person is like the friend who tells you about the faux leather sling bag she’s bought.
Since you trust your friend, you know she’ll only tell you about something that’ll improve your life.
That’s the beauty of influencer marketing.
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All screenshots taken by the author, December 2020