5 Tools to Find Influencers for Your Next Influencer Marketing Campaign

January 11, 2018

The future of marketing lies in promoting content that fits in perfectly with the content users are already consuming. As users continue to employ ad blockers and turn a blind eye to ads that aren’t native, brands are increasingly using influencer marketing to infiltrate the channels where their target customers are – and they’re doing it with great success. Take, for example, these stats:

  • 86 percent of marketers said they’ve used influencer marketing, and 94 percent found it effective, according to a recent report from the influencer marketing platform Linqia
  • 71 percent of people are more likely to buy a product based on a social media referral, according to this HubSpot infographic
  • Over 12 months, influencer marketing generated 11 times the ROI that banner ads pulled in, according to this Convince & Convert case study

Now the question becomes… where do you FIND influencers?

So, you get it – influencer marketing works. The big bosses are on board. But now you need to know… where and how do you FIND these influencers? This post highlights five great tools to find influencers in your industry and the best practices to recruit them.

1. Twitter

With 328 million monthly active users, Twitter is the optimal place to start. The Poynter Institute for Media Studies reports that journalists make up about one-quarter of Twitter’s verified users, and journalists and news organizations are the most active accounts on the network.
There are several ways you can use Twitter to find influencers:

  • Use the keyword search to find top accounts related to the search term
  • Search real-time tweets to see users with high engagement rates
  • Build relationships with top users by interacting with their content, sending them tweets, and sharing their content on your own page via retweets
  • Visit the profile pages of potential influencers – many display an email address or way to contact them in their bio, and you can reach out to them that way

Good to know: To contact Twitter users through direct messaging, they’ll need to follow you.

2. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a website that shows users the best content and influencers based on keyword searches. The platform also includes a monitoring feature, which allows users to get real-time alerts on their brand mentions, so they can identify potential influencers who are interacting with their brand.

Free searches provide some basic influencer insights to marketers, while pro plans offer unlimited searches and provide more thorough results. Users are limited to only a few free searches a day, which only provide baseline results, so a pro plan will help you get the most use out of the platform.
Marketers using BuzzSumo can learn:

  • Who the top social media users are related to keyword searches
  • What their engagement rates with their fans are like
  • How much page authority their profiles have

Users can filter location-based searches to find journalists, bloggers and regular users, all of whom may have noteworthy engagement rates with followers that deem them influencer-worthy.

Good to know: You can also find content related to topics, which can help your business find authors who share expertise related to your industry.

3. Followerwonk

Created by the SEO software provider Moz, Followerwonk is designed to help users find influencers on Twitter. Your business can sign up one Twitter account on Followerwonk for free, which allows you to search Twitter profiles and Twitter bios for influencers based on keywords. How this works:

  • You search keywords, and influencers show up in the results
  • You can then see which ones you already have a relationship with (you follow them, they follow you, or you both follow each other)
  • Analyze how influential your current Twitter followers are using Followerwonk’s “Social Authority” rating, which enables you to pinpoint influencers you might consider targeting (Social Authority is determined by a user’s retweet rate)

Good to know: The more followers you have on your own Twitter account, the more likely you’ll have to upgrade to a paid plan to use all of Followerwonk’s search tools, some of which are restricted based on paid subscription requirements.

4. Klout

Klout is a social influence tool that aggregates a person’s influence on various social media channels to create a “Klout score,” which signals their overall authority on social media. How it works:

  • When you search for topics, you’ll see new and highly relevant content related to the topic as well as top influencers in the space
  • Click on an influencer profile, and you’ll be linked to all their social networks as well as their latest content
  • Each profile also displays other topics in which the influencer is an authority

It’s free to do all these actions on Klout. As you explore, you can click over to content on websites, where you can search for contact information for the influencers, or visit comments sections to participate in discussions related to your industry and possibly contact with other influencers.

Good to know: Creating a profile for your brand on Klout is also valuable, because you are then searchable to bloggers and journalists looking for profiles related to your area of expertise.

5. LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a must-have tool to find influencers in your industry, whether you are a B2B or B2C business. First stop should be LinkedIn Groups, which are groups of users interested in various topics. In these groups, participants share relevant content, ask questions and join in discussions related to the topic.

You and others at your organization can join groups and regularly check in on them to see which members are thoughtfully participating. Then, you can connect with those users and build relationships that turn into influencer marketing campaigns.

Paid LinkedIn Premium Accounts are also valuable, because they give users the ability to find the top LinkedIn users based on keyword searches. How premium accounts work:

  • The LinkedIn algorithm combs through profiles based on relevant locations, skills, recommendations and more to deliver searchers profiles that demonstrate authority related to keywords
  • Paid accounts also allow users to directly message users they aren’t yet connected with, which is a powerful feature if your business wants to connect with celebrity or high-profile influencers

Good to know: You can simply search “influencer” and a keyword related to your industry to see what profiles pop up. It’s not as robust as doing a premium search, but it’s a good starting point.

Follow these influencer marketing best practices

As you identify influencers, you can increase the chance they’ll agree to work with the following tips:

  • Make your pitch relevant to the influencer. Tell the influencer what’s in it for them. Will your brand share their content and promote their channel before the campaign? Could your followers become valuable followers for their brand, as well? Do you want to offer free products or exclusive looks into your business to the influencer?
  • Don’t spam. Pestering influencers is less effective than building organic, thoughtful, meaningful relationships. Genuinely interact with their content. Do your research on why the influencer is valuable to your industry. Be polite in your interactions.
  • Follow their guidelines. Savvy influencers might have guidelines listed on their site about how they prefer to be contacted, or what they require to participate in a campaign. Some might only work for a fee, some might want you to send a press kit in any pitch, and some might dismiss any email that doesn’t have the right subject line. Save time by learning what your target influencer requires, so you approach them the right way from the get-go.

Final tip: Engagement & trust are key in influencer marketing

Be careful not to dismiss potential influencers whose follower counts aren’t sky-high. The key to a successful influencer marketer campaign relies on how engaged their followers are, and how much their followers trust their content. Once you’ve completed some campaigns, you can also ask influencers for referrals within the space to grow your network with valuable contacts. If you want to dig into the ins and outs of influencer marketing even more, consider checking out a Digital Summit event near you.