As we’re sure you’re well aware, Influencer Marketing is the fastest-growing customer acquisition platform. According to a study from Convince & Convert, 22 percent of marketers rank it as their most cost-effective strategy. As a result, businesses are making $5.20 for every dollar spent on it. Combine Influencer Marketing with a content strategy and you’ll have a huge marketing win for your brand granted you have the right influencers on board.

With no signs of slowing down, Influencer Marketing will continue to grow along with the number of influencers in the social space. With 2.5 billion+ monthly active users on Facebook, 1 billion+ monthly active users on Instagram, 800 million+ monthly active users on TikTok, and 330 million+ monthly active users on Twitter, the numbers will only continue to increase. Those incredible stats are filled with countless influencers who are ready and willing to represent your brand. So, how can you identify the right influencers for your brand? In this post, we will uncover seven ways to help you find the right influencers and achieve a high return on your investment (ROI).

right influencers

The Importance of Finding the Right Influencers for Your Brand

Whether you’re a small business or large corporation, you want influencers representing the brand who align with the product, service, and image. If you’re a small business candlemaker that provides a wholesome product, you’ll want to stay on-brand and work with influencers who have a wholesome image. If you’re a large corporation that is slightly edgy, then you’ll want to find influencers who have an edge to their look and feel on social media. Find influencers who have the same vibe as the brand to make the content authentic and genuine. Let’s face it, genuine content results in higher engagement.

With the Right Influencers, You Can Achieve High ROI.

You can blindly choose influencers based on their followers and engagement. That’s always an option. But, to really achieve high ROI, you’ll want to dig deeper and find influencers who truly represent the look and feel of your brand. In doing so, the content the influencer produces will be authentic since the brand fits the influencer’s lifestyle and image. The last thing you want to do is simply work with an influencer who has a high reach but doesn’t match your product or service. That mismatch can possibly do more harm than good and waste both time and money. Instead, working with the right influencers (maybe even influencers who have lower reach) will help you reach your desired audience in a more effective approach.

Avoid Frustration

Followers can sometimes get frustrated by seeing influencers promote sponsored content. However, the frustration will be lessened—if not completely avoided—if the influencer is pitching a product that fits that influencer’s vibe. Therefore, the better the fit between influencers and brands, the more influenced the audience will be, resulting in high engagement for your influencer marketing campaign and strategy. The influencer will maintain authenticity while his/her audience will increase engagement and possibly become customers.

Create Genuine Connections

Think about the last time you were scrolling through Instagram Stories. You most likely came across a few influencers pitching a product or service. The brands that are doing it right are those that are working with influencers who use and like the product. You can tell the difference between people who just mention a product in exchange for compensation and those who actually like the product and use it. If you make that genuine connection with the influencer, the influencer will genuinely connect your product to the audience.

Build Long-Term Relationships

Since you’re focused on finding the right influencers, your brand will be represented by people who truly believe in your product or service. If it’s a great partnership, then the influencer will become a lifelong fan and ambassador, continuously sharing how much they love your product or service. Not only will the influencer promote your product online, but in real life as well.

At Forward Influence, we managed a campaign for Shutterfly with a few influencers that turned into a multi-faceted campaign with the same influencers. During two separate 7-month campaigns, the brand ambassadors created monthly projects and shared with their readers unique and creative ways to use Shutterfly home decor products. The ambassadors even participated in a SoHo New York City loft design event. They also hosted in-home events, shared posts, and encouraged followers to enter giveaways. The loyalty that the influencers had to the Shutterfly brand resulted in incredible engagement with their followers and ROI for the brand.

Increase Customers

When working with influencers who are a great fit for your brand, their story about your product will be genuine. Their authenticity will shine through which their readers and followers will appreciate and trust. The content will be on par with your brand’s vibe. As a result, the followers will be more likely to develop a desire to purchase the product, sign up for a list, download a coupon code, etc.

7 Ways to Identify the Right Influencers for Your Brand

As we learned above, brands should focus on finding influencers who are a great fit for the brand—whether the brand decides to move forward with celebrity influencers or nano-influencers. With an extremely high number of influencers across blogs and social media, the task of finding the right influencers for your brand might seem daunting and overwhelming. 

In 2019, Mediakix carried out its annual Influencer Marketing Survey. Of the marketers they surveyed, 61 percent acknowledged the difficulty in finding relevant influencers for a campaign. In Influencer Marketing, the goal is to identify influencers in your niche and make them work for you by promoting your brand. Based on this stance, a brand needs to be firm on working with influencers who can help them receive maximum conversions.

So, how can a brand identify the right influencers in a streamlined way? Here are seven questions to ask yourself when identifying the right influencers.

1. What are the campaign objectives?

Each campaign has an objective and some campaigns even have multiple objectives. It’s important to nail down the primary objective (e.g., visiting a website, using a coupon code, signing up for an email list, sharing on social media, etc.). When you know what your primary objective is for the campaign, it will help you narrow down the social media platforms that will be important to use during the campaign. For some campaigns, it’s important to do a combination of a blog post and social media amplification. For other campaigns, perhaps it only makes sense to do an Instagram blitz. And then there are the campaigns where you might want to focus on TikTok or YouTube.

Figure out the primary objective of the campaign to determine the best strategy to achieve that goal. This will also help you figure out what platform you should focus on when it comes to influencers. You wouldn’t want to enlist the help of a huge Instagrammer if your objective is to create long-lasting evergreen content or a popular TikTok influencer if your target audience is men over 35. 

2. What is the influencer criteria?

With a countless amount of influencers available and excited to partner with brands, it’s vital to your campaign that you nail down the influencer criteria right from the start. It’s important to be as specific as possible when considering the influencer criteria. Consider the following: age, location, ethnicity, number of children, ages of children, blog niches, social media platform niches, and number of followers … to name a few. 

If your brand makes kid toys, you’ll most likely want to work with influencers who share parenting topics on their blogs and/or social media platforms. Also, are the kid toys for babies, toddlers, or school age kids? If you’re a brand that offers baby toys, you might not want to reach out to influencers who have kids in high school.

If you’re a restaurant that only has locations in Texas, then you wouldn’t want to waste marketing dollars enlisting the help of influencers who live in Virginia. Yes, the influencer who lives in Virginia might have followers who live in Texas. But, it would be wise to hone in on the vast amount of Texas influencers who most likely have a high percentage of Texas followers.

Try to be as specific as possible when listing out your influencer criteria so that you’ll work with influencers who are a true representation of your brand. As a result, those influencers will most likely come off as more genuine and authentic in their shares.

3. What is my brand’s vibe?

Take a look at your brand and determine its vibe. If the look is wholesome, then make sure you work with influencers who have that same vibe. If your brand is edgy, then partner up with influencers who have that look and feel to them either as a person or with the content they share.

An important component to Influencer Marketing is creating a story about the product or service. Instead of just having influencers throw together content and get it live to receive compensation, you’ll want to work with influencers who can share a story.

It’s so easy for someone to post “Hey, I love this product. You’ll absolutely looove it. #bestproductever” Yes, that might result in some click-throughs and purchases. But, what if you partner up with someone who can tell a story about why they love the product? Their followers will be hooked and want to try the product, too. Hello, engagement! When you partner up with an influencer who has the same vibe as your brand, then the story will be more natural. A natural fit will result in higher engagement. And, let’s face it, we all love high engagement.

4. How will I find the right influencers?

The list of influencer options can be overwhelming. Where does one start? There are plenty of companies that offer lists of influencers. You can create an account, pay a fee, and have the company share a list of influencers based on your criteria. Or, you can start having influencers sign up to be on your mailing list and send out emails to the list when you have opportunities available. Another way to find influencers is by performing manual research. Simply hop onto Google and start searching. There are countless articles full of lists of influencers based on niche, location, etc. Some of these options are pricey while others are free. Decide what type of budget you have and start cranking out those influencer lists.

5. Have I vetted the list of influencers against the criteria?

One thing to keep in mind is that no matter what route you take to find the influencers, you’ll want to carefully vet the list of options based on the campaign criteria. The criteria are set for a reason and it will help you line up the right influencers for your brand. Don’t stray too far away from the criteria. In fact, don’t stray at all if possible. Vetting the list against the criteria will help streamline and even expedite the decision-making process when it comes to considering who are the right influencers for the brand.

6. Has the influencer shared about the brand in the past and/or similar brands?

Let’s say you’re Coca-Cola and you’re looking to partner with influencers. You reach out to some influencers and a bunch of influencers show interest. So, you click on an influencer’s Instagram Story and come to find out, you see her drinking a Pepsi. Red flag! You want your sponsored content to be authentic, right? So, why partner with someone who clearly loves Pepsi over Coca-Cola.

When lining up influencers, you’ll want to verify (via you doing your research or by sending out a questionnaire) whether or not they have shared about your brand and/or similar brands in the past. Then, be sure to collect a few links from the influencer to check out what was shared and their stance on the product. If the influencer has shared about your product before and it was in a positive light, then that is a big positive sign.

Since we’re in the influencer marketing business, we follow a lot of influencers. We’re always keeping our eyes and ears open to see what influencers are sharing and how they are sharing it. There have been many times when we partner up with a brand and we recall an influencer naturally talking about the brand in the past—in an unsponsored or sponsored format. If the criteria and rate line up, then that’s a perfect match. Why? If that influencer shares about the product again, then the followers will take notice. The influencer’s love of the product will shine through and really drive home the authentic love of the brand.

7. Have I done my research?

Research is key when trying to find the right influencers for your brand. We can’t stress enough just how important it is to work with influencers who are a great representation of the brand. You’ll want to review their blog posts, social shares, videos, bios, etc. You can ask them to pitch themselves as to why they think they are a good fit for the brand. You can also ask them to submit links of similar content they have shared, or to give you a rundown of how they plan on putting together the content. There are countless ways to ensure that who you’re working with is a good fit for the brand.

Also, if you’re a brand that might not be working with influencers at the moment, consider performing some research when you can and start compiling a list of influencers who might be a good fit for your brand in the future (be sure to jot down who is already talking about your brand). Consider it a wish list. Then, when you decide to enlist the help of influencers, you can either use that list or share that list with an Influencer Marketing agency like Forward Influence. By sharing that list with an agency like Forward Influence, we can hit the ground running and either line up those influencers or work with influencers similar to those on your list (depending on budget, timing, availability, etc.).

Wrapping It All Up

It’s important to keep in mind that influencers are creative people who can develop a positive, trustworthy image of your brand. With hundreds of thousands of influencers ready and willing to partner with you, it’s extremely important to find the right influencers for your brand. The right influencers:

  • Achieve high Influencer Marketing campaign ROI.
  • Avoid frustration.
  • Create genuine connection.
  • Build long-term relationships.
  • Increase customers.

To find the right influencers for your brand, you’ll want to do the following:

  • List the campaign objectives.
  • Write down the influencer criteria.
  • Determine the brand’s vibe.
  • Figure out what technique you will use to find influencers.
  • Vet the list of influencer options against the campaign criteria.
  • Question influencers on their past involvement with the brand and similar brands.
  • Do your research.

By performing these actions, you’ll narrow down the list of options and land on the right influencers for your brand.

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