Do’s and Don’ts of Finding Influencers for Your Brand

Experience makes the task at hand easier. Experienced designers make logos more quickly than novices, adept copywriters craft texts on familiar topics better than novices, and targeting specialists generate results from the get-go. 

However, sometimes you have to create a “new niche,” if you’ve done something similar in another area.

For instance, a cosmetics agency is called by a client to locate influencers in the automotive category. Over the last five years, the agency has carefully compiled a portfolio that can only be used partially to fulfill this client’s request; therefore, additional opinion leaders need to be found and verified (without spending another five years). We will assume for the sake of this article that you are that agency (or an independent business acting on its own). 

Do’s and Don’ts of Finding Influencers for Your Product:

Summary

  • Doing It Manually
  • Four Proven Methods to Find Influencers In Any Niche
  • Three Methods of Influencer Discovery That DO NOT Work

Doing It Manually

The following sections will discuss professional methods of finding dozens or even hundreds of influencers, from nano-influencers to people with millions of followers. The tools and platforms we are going to use are influencer marketing tools. Basically, you wouldn’t be surprised if a plumber showed up at your house without his tools and supplies – this principle applies to just about any profession.

But that doesn’t mean that you can’t try to solve the task manually:  

  • Google – For a comprehensive list of top fashion influencers, type in “top gaming influencers,” then switch to Advanced Search and filter for articles dated between 2011 and 2017. As a drawback, your search results will be filled with influencer lists compiled by journalists from all types of media. These compilations are often biased and don’t provide you with a complete picture. 
  • Search Instagram by hashtags — utilize the keywords people use to find your business when searching on Instagram. However, using this method has several disadvantages. You can’t easily find all the hashtags on your own, so you need a special service to produce a list. Another potential problem is that not all content creators use hashtags correctly or use them at all.  
  • Search by location for local businesses — for example, an organic food store may be interested in partnering with gyms and personal trainers nearby for a promotional integration or sponsored content. The best way to do this is to open Instagram’s Top tab and scroll through all the posts under the gym’s location tag. However, you should keep in mind that not everyone specifies their location and that you must understand clearly who you are looking for. In other words, there may be a great nano influencer right next to you, but you won’t be able to find them with this method. 
  • Subscribe to niche influencers — Instagram will provide you with recommendations on subscriptions after you follow someone. The disadvantage of this method is that recommendations are based on your own activity and not just those of your chosen opinion leaders.
  • Study your competitors’ advertising — to see who mentioned an Instagram user, you should at least look in the Mentions section of the profile. There are no stories to check since you’ll only see mentions that the account owner has approved. 

Analyzing data is another method. Do a search in subscribers to see who subscribes to you and has more than 2,000 followers. Although Instagram does not have a tool to collect this information, there are other services that can be used to do so.

Four Proven Methods to Find Influencers In Any Niche

Instagram offers categories, but… you cannot search them.

1. Basic search by categories

For example, if you type ‘Jewelry’ in your search bar, the result will be a list of accounts, hashtags, and places, but you won’t get a list of those content creators who marked themselves in the Jewelry/Watches category. Plus, there are so many Instagram categories that if you need a fitness trainer, they can be listed under the categories of Fitness Model, Athlete, Fitness Trainer, Swimming Instructor, and more. 

Instagram can be searched by categories through a number of external services. CreatorDB, HypeAuditor, and Heepsy, for example, use AI to try and classify influencers based on the content they post. People who write about promoting and building up accounts, for example, fall under the Marketing category, and someone who writes about family, kids, and relationships falls under Family, Kids, and Relationships. 

2. Similar influencers in the relevant niche

There are two methods of finding similar accounts:

  • By geography and audience size: for example, if an influencer is from Australia and has 217,000 subscribers, the service will give you a list of accounts with more or less the same parameters. This principle is used by CreatorDB.
  • By lists of Average Views – the service analyzes the list of the views of the users who interact with their content. This way you can learn the analytics of the influencer. This is how CreatorDB operates. 

3. Creator Overview

Services give you more options, as we’ve mentioned before. You can use specialized tools to see an overview of the creators and key statistics. 

Influencer analysis. You can see these people’s statistics using this service. Now you have a clear view of the influencer you want to work with. It gives you insight into their abilities.

Accounts with more than a million followers and micro-influencers with more than 10,000 followers can both use this method. 

4. Keywords

It is a complex but very powerful tool for discovering influencers. 

Where do I find the keywords? One option is to download them from Google Search Console if you have this service enabled on your site. For somebody else’s site you can use Keywords Planner in Google Ads:

  1. Choose Keyword Planner from the Tools menu
  2. Select Start with a website tab
  3. Type the address of your competitor’s or your own site 

This instrument is free to use.

Once we find the keywords, we start to input them in our search for influencers. In our example, we began searching for Stationary and Arts Supplies:

Three Methods of Influencer Discovery That Don’t Work

1. Search only by Engagement rate (ER)

Influencer marketing often relies on this indicator, but you shouldn’t make your decision solely on ER. You might miss a great number of content creators with good sponsorship potential if you search by “ER>5%.”. 

There are three factors at play: 

  1. Fake engagement (fake likes and comments).
  2. ER depends on the size of the influencer’s audience. 
  3. CPM or cost per thousand impressions. 

The first one is the most obvious. There are plenty of accounts that practice fake engagement, and ER is pretty easy to fake. If you want to work with a particular opinion leader, you should also consider other indicators. In addition to Instagram giveaways and TikTok influencers – although they receive likes from real people, these people often don’t follow (in the case of TikTok) or will unfollow shortly (after the giveaway).

2. Friends or relatives of influencers

Influencers often begin offering additional sponsorship opportunities with “linked” accounts at some point: relatives, friends, or their other accounts. 

At first glance, it seems like a great idea. 

There is a problem in that we aren’t sure how their audiences overlap. We have two options: 

  1. There won’t be any significant increase in the advertising campaign’s reach if they have a common audience. 
  2. Depending on the audience, the other person might be working in a totally different niche. 

Both options are actually less appealing than finding other opinion leaders who have no connection to the one in question.

3. Search only for macro-influencers

According to our previous discussion, an average ER depends on the number of followers. This is the primary reason why you should pay close attention to micro-influencers (or even nano influencers). 

Additionally, in smaller niches, there are fewer content creators. In comparison, there are many more travel bloggers than those who write about survival in the desert. This isn’t surprising. 

Choosing between macro-influencers with some broad theme (such as wellness or lifestyle) or a group of micro and nano influencers is less obvious. 

Which is better: 

  1. Lifestyle and family content from a woman with 1M followers 
  2. A total of 20 micro-influencers, each with 15K followers, write about the same topic. 

Let’s calculate reach. 

Even though Instagram doesn’t show the post to every follower, we know it exists. One post will be seen by 100,000-200,000 people by an influencer with a million followers and ER of 2%. 5,000-8,000 followers will see one post if the micro-influencer has 15K followers and an ER of 10% or higher. 100-160,000 people can be reached if you bring in 20 opinion leaders. Both options may have a similar reach. 

Businesses tend to choose the larger opinion leaders due to the simplicity of this arrangement. Millions of followers are very impressive, and some of those followers may be potential clients. With such a person, you only have to agree on arrangements once (instead of 20 times with each new influencer). 

Nonetheless, people fail to realize that lifestyle content creators offer sponsors access to a general audience, whereas micro-influencers have access to people who are already interested in the subject. In other words, both options are pretty much equal if we’re talking about popular mobile phones. The micro-influencers may be able to give us a better result if we are selling board games or photo cameras (i.e. niche products).   

It is up to you to decide, but we strongly urge you to consider micro-influencers, as they have a good chance of being more effective financially and in terms of their reach.   

So, let’s summarize: 

  1. Follow the influencers you find interesting.
  2. Search by category.
  3. Search by similar.
  4. Check out the competitors’ sponsorships.
  5. Use keywords. 

In this way, you can locate hundreds of content creators in an unfamiliar market niche within a few hours of searching. Learn more about CreatorDB.

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