Have you already planned a smashing influencer marketing strategy and set up specific goals for your influencer marketing campaigns?
The next step is to find and connect with social media influencers. Who are they, and how do you find them?
Your first response might be: influencers are celebrities with a huge follower base and my company doesn’t have the budget or highly attractive brand image to work with them.
You are right. But hold on.
Celebrities aren’t the only type of influencers – often, the best influencers are your existing customers and their friends. Who would be a better marketer for your brand than a happy customer with a relatively high follower count?
In general, a social media influencer is someone who has established credibility within a particular topic and has a relatively large follower base on social media channels. There’s no exact number of followers that would qualify someone as an influencer, as the quality of followers and the size of the potential audience make a difference too. But as a rule of thumb, I’d suggest looking for social media users with 5.000+ followers.
How do you find social media influencers? We listed five tools to help you create a successful influencer marketing campaign:
- Tribe – connect with micro-influencers in a self-serve marketplace
- Buzzsumo – find the most shared content and key influencers
- Smarp – encourage your employees to share content
- Flockler – find people who mention your brand on social media
- CRM – leverage your existing customer base
1. Tribe – connect with micro-influencers in a self-serve marketplace
Tribe is a self-serve marketplace which connects brands with micro-influencers and helps to find everyday people who create beautiful content. With Tribe, you send a brief to the marketplace and simply wait for submissions to roll in.
Tribe offers two different types of campaigns: influencer marketing campaigns and content campaigns. In an influencer marketing campaign, influencers create content about your product, you approve the content, and they post it to their social feeds. In a content campaign, you purchase content that's made by influencers to use in your channels. For more inspiration, browse through Tribe's case studies.
2. Buzzsumo – find the most shared content and key influencers
With Buzzsumo, you can find the most shared content and also the people who are sharing it. You can, for example, look for keywords that resonate with your business and see what's trending – and who the key influencers sharing content are.
You can also search for influencers based on topic or location. Buzzsumo allows you to analyse influencers and filter them by reach, authority, influence, and engagement. It's a really useful tool.
How can brands use Buzzsumo? At Flockler, we’ve used Buzzsumo to identify influencers sharing articles that are related to our blog posts. The trick is to identify articles that are widely shared by influencers on social media channels - but where you can provide additional value with a new article and then share your post with these influencers.
To give you an example, last year, I approached Neal Schaffer, one of the leading experts in social media with 222k followers on Twitter. Neal had shared a popular post on influencer marketing so I reached out to him to share the additional value my blog post had to offer. He responded to my message, shared the article, and we even met for a coffee in London!
Influencer marketing activities help you to build relationships online and offline. By the way, Neal’s latest book is called “The Age of Influence”, and it’s highly recommended for everyone looking to maximise the ROI of influencer marketing campaigns.
3. Smarp – encourage your employees to share content
Co-workers are some of the best influencers you’ll find – you just need the right tools to motivate them. Smarp, a communications and advocacy platform, enables you to create an informed and engaged workforce.
How to engage your employees in sharing content? The crucial part is to distribute all your new content to them quickly and efficiently. Smarp helps you to do just this. And the best part – it’s not only for marketing but you can also gather all the different departments around one platform, from customer service to HR. Talk about leveraging your workforce!
Have you created an employee advocacy program for your business? Check Valio's five point plan on how to engage your employees in creating content.
4. Flockler – find people who mention your brand on social media
At Flockler, we help marketers like you to gather, display, and analyse social media posts. You can easily set up a feed that automatically collects all the social posts that mention your brand or your brand-related hashtag. This feed can be for your eyes only - or you can display the feed on your website and mobile applications or in digital screens at the office. For more inspiration, check 10 inspiring examples of a social media wall.
Flockler allows you to discover and analyse the conversations around your brand - and enables you to find influencers you didn’t even know were there. And by encouraging your customers to mention your brand and share their experiences on social media channels, you will be able to set up an influencer marketing campaign organically and without a big budget.
One of the best examples is the grid of Instagram images on the homepage of Hilton Grand Vacations highlighting the mentions and the best images and videos by their customers.
Are you already asking your customers to share content mentioning your brand? Check 7 great examples of user-generated content campaigns.
5. CRM – leverage your existing customer base
Would you be surprised if I said that the best influencers might already exist in your traditional marketing databases? Depending on the features of your CRM, you can, for example, list your most recent blog subscribers or the people who always attend your events or submit to competitions. Why don't you get started by contacting existing customers and engage them in giving feedback and creating content with you?
In addition to your CRM, it’s a good idea to map out your existing influencer partners offline. Many companies sponsor local teams or events, for example, and an existing relationship might help to kickstart your influencer marketing campaign.
Are you ready to get started?
Here are a couple of general influencer marketing tips to keep in mind:
1. Influencer marketing isn’t free – set aside some budget!
From thousands of dollars to product gifts, the costs of an influencer marketing campaign vary and are always dependent on the influencer you wish to work with. Micro-influencers with smaller audiences might agree on a collaboration where only products or services change hands. But if you’re looking for a five-figure follower base, be prepared to really invest in your influencer of choice. Most of the time, it pays off.
2. Pick the most relevant social media channels for your business
Influencers usually appear on multiple social channels, such as Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Instead of looking at the total number of followers, you can concentrate on finding the best influencers in your targeted social media channel.
Because you want to build engagement and increase reach in the channels your target audience is spending time on. If you’re aiming your message at politicians or journalists then an influencer with a popular YouTube channel but with a low number of Twitter followers might not be a good idea. Equally, if you’re reaching for a young foodie group then Instagram is probably the place to be. So be sassy with your channel selection and make sure it's matched to your target audience. This is the way to get the most from your influencer marketing campaign.
3. Influencers are people, not marketing tools!
When talking about influencer marketing, the influencer part of this phenomenon can sometimes be oversimplified.
Influencers are, above all, people.
They have earned their position with hard work and the relationship they have with their audiences is something us brand marketers can only dream of. So remember this, while connecting with an influencer: their credibility is in danger if persuaded to say something they don’t believe in. Creative freedom within some basic guidelines is the best way to get authentic, outstanding, and shareable content.