Find Influencers, Brand Ambassadors And Brand Advocates To Build Viral Content For Your Brand
How do I find influencers for my brand? How can I effectively find and utilize influencers, advocates and brand ambassadors to build my brand? I hear these questions and others every single day, numerous times.
My answer is always you can start by looking all around you. Influencers are everywhere. An influencer builds a large following on social media and can sway the opinions of their followers on various topics. You already have a list of potential brand ambassadors and advocates in your possession. We will explain this in detail below.
Finding relatable and relevant influencers for your brand in 2022 may seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. It is all a process. Ambassador, advocate and influencer discovery can be a lengthy process. We will show you how to create a workflow and automate the most time-consuming portions.
Whatever system you end up creating or using for influencer discovery, it should be an ongoing process. The weight of authority an influencer has may change, or new influencers may appear and be very popular at the moment, but may not last. Consistently adding new people to promote your products, covers for any that lose their influence for other reasons. Being at the front edge of that trend is often better than riding the tail.
This article will dive deep into how to find influencers, ambassadors, and advocates, plus we will show you how to scale and automate your system. I recommend that you or someone you trust in your business set this up and get it started. Then automate it and hand it off to a VA to monitor.
PRO TIP: Don't waste your money on Fiverr lists to find influencers. In general, they are not even worth $5.00. Steer clear of the people that pose as influencers on Fiverr also. They are fake in the majority of cases.
Influencer Marketing Campaigns Lower Your Cost Of Acquisition
Traditional PPC, Pay Per Click, ads target one potential buyer at a time, You want that one click that leads them to your sales page that can hopefully close the sale. You pay for the click whether they purchase or not. This can be very effective but it is very risky because you can burn through a lot of money with little to show for it. Once the click occurs, the money is spent and that's it.
PPC is one of many, many different marketing strategies. There is nothing wrong with it IF you can be profitable with it. Most businesses do no marketing and must rely on PPC since search accounts for the majority of their traffic. The focus of one click for one sale with no other benefits can add up quickly and provides little to no lasting benefits.
With influencers, you are leveraging the trust and authority that they have over the people that follow them and their recommendations. Dollar for dollar, it costs a fraction of what PPC does plus the created content can continue to drive sales on a regular basis far into the future. Compared to PPC, this drives your cost of acquisition into the basement and continues to provide value in the future.
The smartest marketers have marketing campaigns running 24/7/365, some paid and some organic. You should always have your eye out for new brand collaborations. Set a goal to commit 10% of the time you spend on Facebook chatting with friends to finding quality influencers to work with, and you will have a great list of influencers in no time.
This article is part of our series Influencer Marketing – The Ultimate Guide. In this complete guide, we bring all of the different facets that we cover with the in-depth articles together into one complete system.
Learn how to supercharge your social media marketing in 2022. Finding the best influencers to work with is the first step. Maximizing your potential results means growing your brand, we recommend our best influencer marketing strategies to get a better ROI from your influencer partnerships. Learn the best methods to manage them and the process with our best recommendations for free and paid influencer marketing tools.
We present you with the best methods that are working today in 2022, the best channels to use them, and how to maximize the benefits of collaborating. We also have an in-depth article which will show the many different ways that you can use social listening to you advantage for far more than influencer discovery.
We will leave no stone unturned as we create multiple guides to arm you with the tools and knowledge needed to drive down your acquisition costs. The first step to find influencers for your brand is deciding what type and size influencers you are looking for and should be working with.
What Type Of Social Influencer Should I Use?
Nano- & Micro-Influencers, Brand Advocates & Brand Ambassadors.
Smaller sellers, in particular, will benefit from working with nano and micro-influencers. Nano-influencers can be very effective because they have personal relationships with their followers. They have up to 1k followers. They usually know every one of their followers because they tend to be friends and family.
A nano-influencer's followers naturally trust their opinions and recommendations. A great place to look for nano-influencers is in your existing buyer's list, the different groups that you are in. and and your own followers olists on social media. Brand advocates and brand ambassadors typically are nano- or micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are good to work with because they are up-and-coming influencers and have as much skin in the game as you do. Nano- and micro influencers have deeper conversations with their audience and drive more conversions for small businesses. Most small businesses work with this group of influencers the most with some addition of macro-influencers.
Macro- and Mega-Influencers
Our experience has been that the more prominent the potential influencer is, the less effective they become. However, that is not always the case. Macro and mega-influencers can also be well-known celebrities and famous people. They have vast audiences, but that comes at a price.
Kim Kardashian charges 1.4 million dollars a post but has 225 million followers. While you can get extensive coverage fast from a mega influencer, the cost is prohibitive for most small businesses. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian also risk crashing and burning as a result of some unprofessional personal behavior on their part, fading from the limelight as fast as they appear and taking your investment with it.
As you can see from the chart below: influencers, word of mouth recommendations, and social media posting are very strong sources of brand discovery for consumers.
What Types Of Social Influencers Are Best For My Business
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The best influencer relationship for your business will vary depending on your industry and target market. An Influencer can be anyone. We recommend using nano-influencers, micro-influencers, thought leaders, and brand advocates for a small business.
Micro-influencers are individuals with a relatively small but highly engaged following on social media. They can be an excellent option for businesses looking to reach a more niche audience. Thought leaders are experts in their field, and their opinions are highly sought after by followers. They can be a great source of information and inspiration for your target market.
Brand advocates and ambassadors are often customers who are highly satisfied with your product or service and are willing to promote it to their social networks. They usually are longer-term commitments, and they earn using affiliate links in a pay-per-performance model.
First, we need to identify, analyze, and interact with potential influencers. We are building an extensive database of influential people in our topic area, both large and small. Once that is done, we will start examining the influencers metrics and engagement to evaluate them closer and get on their radar.
We need to make sure they are suitable for our brand and their follower's fit while exposing them to our brand and content. Doing this impacts the quality of influencers we work with, their effort, and their level of enthusiasm. This is not some simple business transaction like a paid ad. Influencer marketing has the potential to affect your business in positive ways for years to come.
How To Find Influencers For Your Social Media Networks
There are many ways to build an influencer list. It typically begins with a thorough understanding of your buyer personas and then creating a content plan that aids them along their buyer's journey.
Utilizing the results, develop goals and expectations. Those goals and expectations will determine how you proceed and define your influencer marketing strategy.
Plan on building a list 3 to 4 times larger than the final number of influencers you want to use because some will not respond to your outreach. Use the methods laid out below to ramp up finding top niche influencers to collaborate with.
Ideally, my target number would be a working list of 50 influencers of different sizes and reach and audiences. Pick your mouth up off the floor. That is where I want to end up, including advocates, ambassadors, and influencers. It is easier than you think.
Why so many?
If you have an army of influencers creating content across platforms, the exposure and reach will be tremendous. You want your audience to see multiple influencers that they follow mentioning it. Brand awareness and recognition would increase a lot. If I hear four people I respect recommend the same brand at different times, it will pique my interest, and I would consider buying that brand if and when I was looking for that product.
Step 1. Hashtags - An Influencer Discovery Tool
Relevant hashtags are an effective influencer discovery tool because you will find that nano-, micro-, and macro-influencers use these hashtags and post content. Use IQHashtags.com, you can develop lists of relevant and related hashtags to research. Start by entering a seed hashtag in the search bar and perform a hashtag search. Don't use seed hashtags on posts ever, but for research here, it is perfect.
It produces a list of 200 related hashtags, including the amount of Instagram posts using it, comments, and likes. Next, switch the search criteria to trending, and it will identify which of those hashtags are trending. This is the easiest way to generate relevant hashtags that you can quickly evaluate.
Repeat the process with any hashtags that didn't come up the first time. Export your findings and add them to a tracking sheet like this influencer relationship management tracking sheet to stay organized.
Step 2A. Using Instagram To Discover Additional Hashtags And Find Influencers
Open Instagram in a browser window. Enter what you think are the strongest, relevant hashtags from your list into the search bar one at a time. The autofill dropdown will open and reveal additional hashtags you may want to consider—press enter.
The posts at and near the top of the search results are usually the influencers. Hold your mouse over each post to ensure high engagement and not just likes. As you find posts that look relevant with higher engagement, look at the bios and evaluate the number of followers, type of content, posts, Instagram reels, stories, the type of engagement they receive, and how they engage with followers.
Does this influencer post consistent with your brand values, tone, and voice? Consider this very closely because this person will be representing your brand to their followers. Add these metrics to the tracking sheet.
Step 2B. Geo-tags For Location Specific Influencers
Another method of finding extremely relevant influencers are geotags. This would be the most helpful to someone that sells in a specific location.
Geo-tagging can be a convenient way to find the type of influencers you want if the focus of your business is location-based. You may have a brick-and-mortar store for your business in one geolocation, but you may also sell online to a much wider area.
If a particular campaign focuses on a specific area, geotagging your posts is a good idea. When you click those geotags, they open up to reveal other posts tagged to that geolocation. The most popular posts, which are generally at the top of the SERPS, are made by local endorsers.
Step 2C. Followers & Existing Buyers List = Brand Ambassadors And Advocates
This is easily the most overlooked potential source of influencers that most businesses either ignore or overlook.
When was the last time you looked through your follower list and existing buyer list? The chances are good that there are influencers already on your list. You just don't know it. You may have endorsements coming in already for your brand Instagram Influencers and on channels like Tiktok, Twitter, Snapchat, and others.
Influencers and celebrities buy and use regular products just like the rest of us. They may already be part of your audience demographics and may be an effective way to raise brand awareness with your relevant audience.
Discover.ly and Carro are influencer tools that evaluate your followers, contacts, and buyers list for existing and potential people to work with. It helps with the outreach emails and evaluates social media profiles in real time. Leverage your friends for the introduction to the influencer. These people already use your product and maybe great brand ambassadors or provide you with great celebrity endorsements.
Step 3. Social Media Monitoring - Monitor The Hashtags, Influencers, Competitors To Scale
Social Monitoring is the process of tracking online conversations about your brand, product, or service, specific phrases, hashtags, competitors' primary phrases, or names. In this case, we will use it to build our list of influencers by monitoring specific phrases, hashtags. competitor's names, and their hashtags.
Several different influencer marketing tools and services are available to accomplish your media monitoring. We recommend and prefer TalkWalker and Social-Searcher The best part of these tools is that you can apply some marketing automation eliminating a lot of the busywork.
Once you've signed up for social listening tools, you need to set up the monitoring. Listed below are some things that you can use the tools to listen to. You should have this in place for your business regardless of any other marketing. It is an endless source of valuable information about your product, your competitors, what potential buyers are looking for, and more.
The goal of social monitoring in an influencer marketing campaign is to monitor the hashtags and profile names that you have already uncovered. When you get new alerts, check those posts, the comments, and followers. You are looking for hashtags that you may have missed, and you will also be able to identify additional influencers from comments on other pasts as you follow new hashtags.
Look closely at your competitors, posts, hashtags, and followers. Nothing says their following wouldn't also like your business. They don't know you yet.
Follow and review shoulder niche brands. Those are brands that sell products that share the same audience. For example, you sell dog bowls and food, and they sell leashes and dog toys. Why wouldn't they also be interested in your products? Don't overwhelm yourself with too many alerts at first. Do it in chunks spread out over a month.
Learn about social monitoring and listening plus how it can be an incredible simple system to give you a competitive advantage for your business in our article Social Listening For Brands
Influencers vs. Content Creators - New Terminology 2022
This is a rapidly changing industry. Influencers are evolving and now prefer to be called content creators, but not all create content. It looks like it will split into two groups with people like the Kardashians and many of the more significant influencers that don't create content continuing to be called influencers.
The content creators will be the nano-, micro-, and many macro-influencers. They are the ones that create content tailored for their audience. They are making numerous brand mentions, a guest post or two, multiple Instagram stories. These people are sudo content marketers.
Your choice should be the content creators. They are more in tune with their followers, plus they can churn out content for your social profiles if you set up your agreements correctly.
Step 4. Evaluate and Finalize Your List
As you find social media influencers and add them to your list, we recommend following them in groups of 10. Pay attention to what they post, their average engagement rates, and who is commenting on their posts. It will be easier to manage in groups of 10-20.
After your first group, you will figure out if they will work out right away. Operating at scale makes the bad ones stand out like a sore them.
Now you must do a deep dive into their content, profiles, other social sites they use, the makeup of their followers, engagement, and so on. Ask yourself if their content is relatable for your audience. Their followers must be in your target audience. Their posts must be conducive to the tone and professionalism you seek. Remember, they represent your brand when you work together.
You'll want to regularly monitor their content quality, posts, and engagement as you research new promotional partners.
Step 5. How Do I Get A Relevant Influencers Attention? Here Are A Few Tips:
You've put in the effort to build your influencer list. What now? It is time to begin engaging with potential influencers. We can jump straight into an email outreach campaign, but we want to convert as many of these as possible into active collaborators.
Before we jump onto an influencer platform like Buzzstream, we want to shake the trees a little and get ourselves noticed and on the influencer's radar. This will increase how many of them respond when we reach out to them and make most more open to working with us.
A. Familiarize yourself with their methods - Subscribe to their newsletters, read their blog posts, review the type of content they post, and follow them on the channels where they often share their thoughts and ideas. It's a great way to ensure they are a good fit. You will also notice that they respond better to your inquiries when you are familiar with them, their content, and their positions on subjects.
B. Engage with their content - When you come across content from an influencer that you like, make sure to engage with it. Leave high-value comments and responses without hijacking the post from them. This will help get your name in front of their followers and hopefully make yo*u memorable to the influencer.
C. Provide value to their audience - Influencers are always looking for content that provides value to their audience. Make sure that you create content that is relevant and interesting to their followers and can be seen on your profile if they look at it. Make sure that your account is not just about selling and contains helpful content.
D. Reach out to them - If you have an excellent idea for a collaboration or you think that their audience would be interested in your content, reach out to them. Most influencers are happy to collaborate with other brands and individuals. Utilize our done-for-you influencer discovery email outreach templates to initiate a conversation about brand collaborations.
E. Be patient - Getting noticed by an influencer is not an overnight process. It can take time and effort to build a relationship with them. Be patient and keep putting in the hard work. This may seem a little tricky or overwhelming at first, but you'll get the hang of it fairly quickly and do just fine.
You have to find a way to get noticed by the influencers themselves. Working with influencers should be approached as a collaboration. You are not just buying their influence for a sale. You are also building relationships with both them and their followers. Are you seeking just one sale with their followers, and that is it, or are you building your audience to grow and become customers for life, advocates, and raving fans?
Next Steps - Email Outreach
The next step will be reaching out to influencers, bloggers, and potential advocates to make agreements, discuss creatives, and schedule posts. We have listed several tools above to make this process much easier to keep track of. We recommend using one of the tools unless you have a staff member assigned to do it in-house. You should have an extensive list of potential influencers, which can be challenging to keep organized.
We cover conducting an email outreach campaign, including email templates, an influencer contract, style guides for you to provide them with, and more in our Influencer Marketing Guide in the section Influencer Outreach.
Automation And Outsourcing Your Influencers Discovery Process
In this article, you learned out processes of influencer discovery. Remember, I said ultimately, Idd like a list of 50 influencers of various sizes that I work with on a regular basis. I also mentioned to expect to start with a list 3 to 4 times the size of your final list. That is upwards of 200 influencers. That can be a lot of effort and turn into quite a task if you get distracted often.
Recap Of The Process to Find Influencers
There are several ways to make this much easier on yourself and automate it. I've already provided this worksheet in the hashtag section earlier in the article. It is the influencer relationship management tracking sheet Use this sheet initially to make your list of hashtags(Step 1 in this article) that you will monitor.
I suggest hiring a VA from a site such as upwork to do the bulk of the research and evaluation.
- 1Step 1 - Find and use the right hashtags that are being used by influencers competitors and your target audience. Save these to the hashtag list tab in your worksheet. Add any influencers that you discover along the way to the Influencer tab
- 2Step 2 - Use Instagram, your buyers list, followers list and geotags (if you have as local storefront) uncover additional hashtags. Add these and any potential influencers to the proper lists
- 3Step 3 - Set up a social monitoring campaign to listen for any mentions of your keyword phrases and the hashtags collected.
- 4Step 4 - Review the results of your social monitoring, continue building your influencer lit while evaluating the ones that you have so far and eliminating the ones that you will not use.
- 5Step 5 - This process is ongoing. As you have groups of 10 to 20 influencers lined up for the final evaluation, begin following them in groups of 10 or so and monitor their real engagement. Look at them from a followers eyes. Are they professional, engaging and someone you would follow yourself?
At this point, you should look over the list and spot check some of the names on the list. Check engagement and ensure the followers are your target audience. Id question them about a few of the influencers and ask what they like about them. If you are satisfied,, it is time to take the list of influencers and begin the Influencer Outreach phase.
Find Real Influencers, Advocates, and Ambassadors
The Internet is full of flakes and freeloaders. The more effort that can be put into the final steps in the process the better. Don't be surprised when an influencer says they want 15k to 35k per shout out, skip them, lol Rarely do they ever produce enough in sales to make their use profitable.
There are many Influencer Marketing Tools and Platforms that handle different portions of the process up the the entire end to end process. The link in the above leads to a list of our recommendations. As with any platform, you cannot just blindly trust the output. you should verify that the different steps are producing the right people for you to work with.
Once you've finished this step and successfully contact them, continue to follow the methods laid out for you. You are provided contracts and the other pieces that you need to complete the process in the main guide. Remember that you are not making this effort for a simple shout out. You are building relationships with people that will help you promote your business in a variety of ways.
Get The Most Out Of Your Influencers
What kind of results can you expect? That answer depends on the expectations that you set and agreements that you make. Make sure when you find influencers, that they know up front that you retain ownership of the assets that they produce for you. We prefer to always use their affiliate link, even once the initial campaign ends. It is the right thing to do and it may motivate them to continue creating additional content.
Your ultimate goal is to have a list of 50 influencers, advocates and ambassadors that are regularly producing shareable content for you. Remember 92% of consumers will believe a complete stranger over the brand, so getting their posts out there for people to see benefits both of you as they may gain new followers from it also.
With 50 different influencers, brand ambassadors and brand advocates producing shareable content for you, they become your viral marketing team and provide most of your social media content.
Ensure that you find influencers willing and eager to do the things that you ask. The available ways to work together are only limited by your imagination. See our 25+ Influencer Marketing Strategies for a list of very effective strategies to maximize the potential of the program and build awareness in ways most other people dont consider.
Wrapping Up - Consumers Rely On Influencers, So Should You
Consumer behavior and expectations also changed quite a bit amid changes brought on by COVID-19, among other things. Consumers are turning towards influencers more often for recommendations and advice. Your potential customers trust the recommendation of a stranger more than they do a brand boasting. The amounts brands spend on content creators and Influencers are expected to skyrocket as things return to normal.
The most successful influencer marketing tactics are the ones that develop ongoing relationships that grow from the combined efforts of you both. When you find an influencer that does an excellent job for you and produces results, extend the relationship and keep it ongoing.
Finding a lot of the very best influencers for your brand to work with is significant to the success and future of your brand. We are not just trying to impact sales this quarter; we are building your future sales, awareness, and reach as well. Influencers will put your brand in front of people at all stages of the buyer's journey. This includes people that may not have considered their need for your product in the past.
The benefits from working with Influencers far outweigh the effort required to put it in place. It is the future and they best way that consumers have stated that you can influence their decisions. Now that you have a working list of influencers, it is time for Influencer Outreach to start talking to them and making agreements to work together.