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Influencers help companies advertise their business and grow their customer base. Because so many influencers and content creators exist, it’s helpful to know how to choose the right one and how to begin a professional relationship. Using this guide, you can learn more about influencers, how they can help you, and the best way to find and contact them using different techniques and tools.

What Is an Influencer?

An influencer is someone who advertises products and services through social media. They gain followers by creating engaging content about a specific industry or topic. Companies then use influencers to market their goods to the influencer’s followers, which creates potential customers. Influencers use different social media apps such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook. Through these, influencers communicate with large audiences, recommend products, and generate buzz.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is when an influencer recommends a product or service to their followers. They might even say they’re using the product themselves. Because of the influencer’s persona, the followers may feel like the recommendation is genuine, so they’re motivated to buy the product. Even if the influencer says their recommendation is being paid for, the followers may still value their presentation of the product and consider making a purchase.

This style of advertising is also known as word-of-mouth marketing. “Word-of-mouth” means that one person recommends something to another person, who then recommends it to someone else. The excitement for the product spreads through its users. When a potential customer hears someone they respect on social media recommend your product, they may be more inclined to buy it and tell others in their network about it.

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The Benefits of Influencer Marketing

The primary benefit of influencer marketing is a large audience that already trusts and admires the person who is recommending your product. Successful influencer marketing leverages the goodwill and brand loyalty that an influencer has already cultivated with their followers. This means that you do not have to put a significant amount of time or resources into building an organic connection with this audience.

Additionally, influencer marketing is a mutually beneficial arrangement, meaning that it is advantageous for influencers as well. In addition to payment, companies typically offer influencers free or heavily discounted products or services in exchange for promoting them, and a partnership with a reputable company can further elevate an influencer’s status and brand.

How Do I Find a Social Media Influencer?

When you look for an influencer, here are some things to keep in mind:

Understand Your Target Audience

Before you start your influencer search, it’s helpful to understand your target audience. This includes their interests, the content they watch, and the people they follow on social media. The more you understand what they love, the more quickly you’ll find the right influencer. For example, if you notice that a lot of your customers or target audience members follow the same influencer on social media, you might consider reaching out to that person to propose a partnership.

To gain more details about your target audience, you can also try:

  • Sending out surveys
  • Communicating with customers on social media
  • Reading reviews about your company
  • Finding influencers and content creators you’re interested in

One of the easiest ways to find an influencer is to follow them yourself. If you own a business that sells cookware, you might follow a few chefs online that love to cook. Chances are that your customers might follow those chefs, too.

There’s a lot of content out there, and it can be difficult to know where to start. CopyPress has an eBook on the current content ecosystem and how to navigate it, which you can sign up for and download free of charge.

Research Influencers

Researching influencers can help you learn important information about them and if they are a good match for your brand. Some of that information includes:

  • Their audience: It’s good to know how many people and what types of people follow the influencer. When you research the influencer’s audience, you can see what other influencers or companies interest this demographic. Understanding the audience’s other interests can help you more holistically assess if the influencer can successfully market your product to them.
  • Brands they promote: Knowing which brands the influencer already promotes helps you figure out if they’re right for your business. If they’ve never marketed a business similar to yours, they might not know the best way to do it. However, if they’ve marketed similar businesses, they probably have a better understanding of your brand or industry. 
  • How they promote: Take note of how influencers post in order to gauge if their promotion style is compatible with your organization. Assess their tone and visual branding to see if it aligns with your company’s. You might also review how they engage with followers in Q&A sessions or comments sections to see if they interact with their audience in a way that will reflect positively on your own brand.

Connect With Influencers of Interest

Lastly, it’s good to know how to connect with the influencers you find. If you find an influencer using an influencer marketplace, they often list their contact info on their profile. However, if you find an influencer on social media and don’t know how to connect with them, here are a few things to try:

  • Search their profiles for an email address
  • Message them directly on their social media account
  • See if they have a manager or agent to contact
  • Check their website for a “Contact Me” section

Tips for Engaging with Influencers

Once you find a way to connect with an influencer, it’s good to know the etiquette for engaging with them and asking about possible brand promotion. Here are some tips to help you successfully connect with influencers:

Be Succinct

When you message an influencer, don’t simply write a salutation or introduction and wait for a response. Instead, write out a brief message that describes who you are and your reason for reaching out. Explaining your purpose up front makes it more likely that you’ll receive a response, since influencers often receive many personal messages every day. 

Find a Way to Connect in Person

Influencers sometimes host local events to promote themselves or another company. They may post about the event several days or weeks in advance. If you see an influencer you’re interested in hosting an event near you, register for it. While there, you can try to talk with the influencer in person. Talking in person can help you sell your idea more easily and also receive a quick yes or no response. 

It’s not guaranteed that you’ll be able to talk with the influencer at the event, but given the chance, go with a brief pitch prepared. Keep the pitch short, and show you’re excited about the idea. It’s also good to show the influencer you know a little about their brand and their work to help build a professional relationship. 

In the event that you can’t speak with the influencer one-on-one, you can still use your time at the event to further assess if the influencer is right for your company or consider attributes you might look for in a different influencer.

Set Up a Video Call

If you’re messaging with an influencer who is interested in promoting your product, ask if they have time to talk with you through video chat. Video calls can help you present your ideas in more detail. They also let you gauge the influencer’s personality and give you the opportunity to answer any questions the influencer might have about your product or company.

See if You Have a Mutual Connection

It’s possible that someone in your professional network knows an influencer personally. As you look for an influencer to promote your company, consider asking your connections on social media if they might know someone who’d be excited to work with a brand like yours. This can help you generate a list of possible influencers to contact, and it allows you to connect with an influencer more easily through your mutual friend.

If you find an influencer through other means, look through their friends list or contacts on social media and see if any of your professional relationships overlap. If you have a friend in common, consider talking with that friend to see if they can help you set up a meeting. If the influencer meets you through a mutual friend who they trust, they might feel more inclined to listen to your pitch and promote your company.

Maintain a Checklist or Schedule

When you contact influencers for promotion opportunities, it’s possible you might message or email multiple people at one time. If that’s the case, make a checklist or schedule to help you keep track of who you’re contacting and when. Keeping a schedule or setting up reminders can help you answer influencers promptly and avoid neglecting messages. 

How To Grow Your Audience Through Influencers

Once you have an influencer helping your company, it’s good to see what you can do to grow the influencer’s following, as this also benefits you. Some of the best ways to grow and engage an audience through an influencer include:

1. Creating a Contest

An effective way to partner with your influencer is to have them promote a contest or giveaway on their account. For example, let’s say you wanted to increase your online following. You might then have the influencer tell people to follow your company’s social media account for a chance to win a free product. The influencer can then randomly select winners from the pool of participants, generating excitement among their followers and increasing your own follower count as a result of the contest.

2. Developing a Product Together

This is a great way to collaborate with an influencer and develop products customers are excited about. It’s also a great way to learn more about what your customers look for in your goods and services. Start by asking the influencer about their knowledge of your field or industry. They often have a great understanding of products or services it might need. For example, if the influencer works mainly with interior decorating, they’ll have a strong knowledge of what’s in style and what your customers may want to buy.

From there, you can collaborate with the influencer to develop a great product or service. People will be excited to purchase something that’s not only endorsed by the influencer, but also partially created by that person. Another great way to advertise the product is to put the influencer’s name on it so that customers can recognize it and purchase it more easily.

3. Creating a Joint Video Series

Depending on your products, it might be helpful for you to develop a video series that generates immediate excitement and engagement. Partnering with an influencer in the same industry helps you deliver content that their followers will immediately trust. 

The type of video series you create can vary depending on your company’s field. For example, if your company offers exercise and wellness products, your video series with the influencer could touch on specific topics in this area, such as “How To Make the Ultimate Post-Workout Protein Shake.”

4. Co-Hosting Events

Co-hosting an event with an influencer can help you both increase your audience. That’s because the event brings your customers and the influencer’s followers into one spot to talk with each other and generate excitement. 

For example, a B2B company that helps businesses improve their sales numbers could create a seminar to educate new and existing clients. The company could partner with an industry influencer to host the event and attract an even larger audience. The seminar could then educate the audience while it generates buzz for the company and influencer simultaneously.

5. Promoting Discounts

Some companies establish a partnership with influencers to promote each other’s businesses. If an influencer sells products or services in the same industry as your company, you could both advertise each other’s businesses on your social media and websites. For example, those who visit the influencer’s site or follow them on social media could receive a discount to your e-commerce store. People who buy from your online store could receive a discount or coupon for the influencer’s services or merchandise. 

Influencer Marketing Tools

There are a variety of helpful tools that can help you find and keep track of your influencers. Here are eight marketing tools you can consider based on your industry and exact influencer needs:

AllTop

Screenshot of Alltop Website

Image via AllTop

AllTop is a service that lets you view some of the most influential blogs for your field. While Google and other search engines are a good place to start, AllTop narrows down the most popular blogs and websites in your industry. As such, you can use it as a starting point to identify potential influencers who may work well with your brand.

AspireIQ

Screenshot of AspireIQ Website

Image via AspireIQ

AspireIQ puts a lot of content creators in one space. You can use it to find the influencers that are best suited for your goals. As you hire each content creator, AspireIQ tracks your partnership and content delivery. The platform also helps you manage multiple influencers simultaneously.

Discover.ly

Screenshot of Discoverly Website

Image via Discover.ly

Discover.ly helps you find mutual connections on social networks. This Chrome extension that lets you manage and view multiple social media accounts at once. For example, if you connect with someone on Facebook, Discover.ly will tell you if you have any mutual friends or connections on LinkedIn. You can use this tool to find many different types of professionals, including influencers, and compare their connections with yours.

HypeAuditor

Screenshot of Hypeauditor Website Image via HypeAuditor

HypeAuditor is a tool that provides you with a list of top influencers. It also shows you important information about their social media accounts. That information can include:

  • The subjects they post on
  • Their number of followers
  • An authentic engagement estimation
  • The country they engage with the most

Using this information, you can see what each influencer has to offer you. If you find one that’s a good fit for your brand or company, you can reach out to them to gauge their interest.

Influence.co

Screenshot of Infleunceco Website

Image via Influence.co

Influence.co is an influencer marketplace. It provides a place for businesses to see what influencers have to offer and reach out to them. You can also create a campaign brief that influencers can apply to. The site offers a free account and a premium account, each with a varying set of features to choose from.

Podbay.fm

Screenshot of Podbay website

Image via Podbay

Podbay.fm is a platform that makes searching for podcasts in your industry easier. While Podbay isn’t specifically an influencer network, it can help you identify podcasts that your target audience enjoys. You can then see if there’s an option to sponsor a relevant podcast by paying for ad time, which allows you to promote a specific product or service to the podcast’s listeners.

Post for Rent

Screenshot from Post for Rent

Image via Post for Rent

Post for Rent is another great influencer marketplace. It allows you to create a profile for your brand and search for influencers who can help you. Part of what makes this platform unique is its rating system. Brands can rate influencers based on their work, but influencers can also rate brands. This helps to create a better work environment for everyone involved.

Upfluence

Screenshot of Upfluence Website

Image via Upfluence

Upfluence lets you search influencers by keywords. It also sorts the influencers by audience and follower size. This can help you find an influencer that matches your brand and then check to see if they have enough followers to help you grow your audience.

Influencers can greatly benefit your company. The first step is just to find a few that can best represent your brand, then reach out to form a professional connection. The sooner you start, the sooner you can start forming these mutually beneficial partnerships.

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