In recent years, influencer marketing has emerged as one of the most powerful marketing strategies for driving a high Return On Investment (ROI).
According to Linqia, about 63% of marketers work with at least 10 influencers on every campaign.
Did you know the reason for this exponential growth in influencer marketing? The reason is simple!
Influencers are trusted by a large target audience. Yes! The opinions, knowledge, and authenticity of influencers can convert the target people – mostly trusted peers and fans – into loyal customers.
More so, influencer marketing has grown to become one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies. That is why business owners who understand the potency of effective influencer marketing are getting impressive returns.
Recent research by the Influencer Marketing hub revealed that business owners who rely on influencers received a return of about $7 on every $1 spent on influencer marketing. The top 13% of the studied businesses received a return of close to $20 on every dollar spent.
Unlike the influencer campaigns of days past where major stars are used (though they can be used), modern marketing landscape enables businesses to also focus on influencers with smaller but more engaged audiences – audiences that are more precisely aligned to your business niche.
Aside from attracting more niche-aligned audiences and more effective, niche influencers charge far less than major stars.
However, the only major challenge is how to find the key niche influencers to work with.
A survey by Mediakix revealed that about 61% of marketers are faced with this challenge. This challenge has also led most businesses to turn to social media as a tool to find key influencers.
Luckily, unlike the TV and magazines, social platforms have no limits, there are as many influencers as the world requires on social media. These influencers can be of any social status and age and can work with any business.
To help you find key influencers in your niche using social media, I have created this comprehensive guide for you to help you identify and choose influencers who best suit your business.
Before I discuss the nine best ways to find key influencers in your niche using social media, let’s learn “what influencer marketing is,” “who influencers are,” “why your business needs influencers,” and “what makes influencers a good fit for your marketing strategy.”
What’s Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing is the practice of leveraging key persons who have built the right audiences you want to reach in your business.
The essence of influencer marketing is to connect and collaborate with the influencer to leverage their audience so that you can generate leads, sales, and build massive brand awareness.
Who is an Influencer?
An influencer is a person who’s known and trusted by your target audiences. For example, Seth Godin is an influencer in the business environment while Kim Kardashian is an influencer in the showbiz and entertainment space.
Not all influencers are created equal. Funny enough, not all of them have the same level of influence on social media and the world.
According to Mark Schaefer, there are five types of influencers as shown below.
The point is that key influencers in your niche are farther down the spectrum and that’s where you should pay your attention.
If you are a social media pro, you would have realized that people who are highly relevant within smaller groups are more powerful advocates in word-of-mouth marketing.
So, what should you look for in your influencer? Consider these three criteria:
- Engaging: The person must generate conversation, trigger shares, and create compelling content. There must be signs that the influencer is well-known and trusted by their followers.
- Relevant: The person should be known by your audience. They must be willing to promote or share your content with their followers.
- Collaborative: The person must be likely to accept your invitation to collaborate.
Now that you know who an influencer is and what influence marketing is, let’s dive deeper into how to find your key influencers.
How to Find Key Influencers in Your Niche On Social Media
You can decide to keep all the criteria I listed above in mind when choosing an influencer. But, how do you find the key influencers in your niche who merits those criteria? Here are the best ways:
#1: Relevant Hashtag Searches
Relevant hashtag searches are one of the best ways to find key influencers in your niche on social media platforms.
About 71% of marketers use social media searches to find key influencers and that’s because social media contain lots of contacts and information.
Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and Blogs are the key channels that influencers have built huge and loyal followings on.
Using relevant hashtags enables you to tap into conversations in your niche and identify influencers who are talking about businesses, products, or services that are similar to yours.
Note that relevant hashtag searches are most effective on Twitter and Instagram. Instagram has a dedicated hashtag feed, which you can embed on your website.
To perform relevant hashtag searches on social media, you first need to identify hashtags that are very relevant for your industry.
For instance, if your business is within the hospitality industry, search for hashtags like #travelblogger, #vacationing, #holiday, #leisuretrip, #travellover, and #travel.
In this case, I will be using the hashtag #travel and the search returned about 422 million posts.
The next step involves going through all the posts manually to identify appropriate influencers whose posts/content you like and who would be able to promote your products, services, and brand.
Hint: Use more specific hashtags where appropriate. So, if you run a luxury hotel chain, use the hashtag “#luxurytravel” and not “#travel.” More so, if you wish to promote your brand in a specific region, use city-specific hashtags for your search.
For instance, if you run a restaurant chain you wish to promote in New York City, use hashtags like #nycrestaurants, #nycfoodgram, #nycfoodies, #nycblogger, or #streetsofnyc.
In this case, I used the hashtag #nycfoodies for the social search, which led me to the post by @brooklynbitess, an influential account managed by influencers Giuseppe Falanga and Sabrina Argiro.
Giuseppe Falanga and Sabrina Argiro are New York-based influencers with about 103K followers on Instagram.
#2: Ad-Specific Hashtag Searches
Ad-specific hashtags searches are another way to find key influencers in your niche on social media.
FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines necessitate influencers to disclose brand collaborations. Hence, influencers usually use hashtags like #paidpartnership, #promotion, #sponsored, or #ad in their post captions.
You can search for these hashtags to find influencers who promote products, services, or brands similar to yours.
In this case, I searched using the ad-specific hashtag “#sponsored,” which led me to this post
In this post, Annie Tran endorsed the wedding dress by Blush Bridal Couture. Annie Tran is an influencer with 80.3K followers on Instagram. She specializes in endorsing beauty products and clothing lines.
If you are into fashion, wedding business, or beauty brand, you may consider Annie Tran as your influencer.
#3: Social Media Monitoring or Listening
Sometimes finding influencers who are already mentioning your brand is an effective way to find key influencers in your niche.
So, try to find influencers in your follower list too. You are likely to find a few micro-influencers in your social media followers list waiting to be discovered.
Since these influencers have already shown interest in your brand, they can be great to work with These influencers are likely to endorse your brand more effectively.
Identifying these influencers is pretty easy. All you need to do is browse through your followers’ list and find any follower with large followings of their own. Any follower with decent and large followings may be a good choice for your brand collaboration.
An example of a brand that adopted this way is Airbnb. Airbnb has several travel influencers in its followers’ list on social profiles. Airbnb simply partnered with these influencers to promote its property listings.
An example of such influencers is Harry and Nikita, couple travel bloggers with the account name “@thevagabondstories.”
Sometimes, some people aren’t following you but are talking about your product, services, or brand and can be your key influencers.
So, tracking your brand or products’ social media mentions can be very useful when finding your niche influencers.
To make this process easier, there are some social media monitoring and listening tools you can use. These include Hootsuite, Mention, Statusbrew, or Google Alerts.
#4: Advanced Search Tools
Some social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook all have advanced search tools, which help users to dig faster and deeper.
In this case, I will use LinkedIn for my example.
Simply search for your specific keyword – niche or topic – I used “analytics” in my example. The search results page allows you to filter for influencers.
Check every box necessary (location, industry, etc.) and click “Apply” to start narrowing down the search.
The search results will possibly contain influencers you are not connected with yet. Send them a connection request with a personal note to start up a warm conversation.
#5: Free Social Media Search Tools
This method is great for Twitter and luckily, Twitter provides a platform to find influencers easily. The Twitter Advanced Search Tool is good, but not without a hitch.
The search results can’t be sorted.
Nevertheless, you can join the clique of other business brands to use other Twitter search tools like FollowerWonk. I will be using FollowerWonk.
Click on the “Search Bios” tab, enter your topic (in this case “analytics”). Click on “more options.” Enter your industry or niche into the advanced search field. Be specific with your search term to dig deeper into your niche.
For instance, instead of searching for “cars” or “travel,” you can use “family cars” or “island travel.” To avoid overloading, input minimum followers of about 11,000 or 1,500 for specific niches. Click “Do it” to generate search results.
The results are likely influencers within the niche sorted according to the size of their followers.
Hint: More followers doesn’t translate into more influence. Getting a lot of followers is possible on twitter without influencing anyone. So, check the “Social Authority” column.
Influencers with low authority should be avoided because they are less likely to drive or engage traffic.
The five methods explained above do not require the use of any third-party app. However, the next four methods rely on the use of paid influencer marketing tools.
#6: Find Influencers With BuzzSumo
This tool is specifically built to search for influencers on Twitter. To use this tool, click on the “influencers” tab on the top of the page. Enter your search term and click on “search.” Check the filters only for “bloggers,” “influencers,” and “active influencers” and click “filter.”
The result will return a list of influencers in your niche with data about their followings, reply ratios, and retweet ratios. With this result, you can easily see who is likely to interact on social media at a glance.
Just like followerwonk, BuzzSumo also has domain authority data. A higher number indicates a bigger benefit to your search rankings if the blogger mentions your brand and links to your website from their blog.
You can also get quick access to the content they’re sharing from the report. Choose the influences you like best, contact them and collaborate with them.
#7: Use Awario to Find Influencers
This is a social media listening tool and capable of monitoring major social media platforms, such as Reddit, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Awario can also monitor forums, blogs, news, and the web in general for mentions of your products, services, brand or any other keyword.
Awario is a great tool for finding key influencers in your niche as well as brand advocates. Influencers are ranked based on the daily visits to their blogs, the number of followers they have, or their reach.
#8: Find Influencers with Klear
Klear is specially made for influencer marketing. This tool analyses influencers in 60,000 topic categories, their psychographics, and demographics.
Searching with Klear doesn’t take much time since the tool is essentially a database of influencers.
Influencers can also be filtered by social media platform, their demographics, the keywords they mention, their location, their skills, and the size of their audience.
More so, this tool measures the results of your influencer marketing campaigns to decide which ones work best.
#9: Find Key Influencers Using Traackr
Just like Klear, Traackr is solely an influencer marketing tool that conducts the influencer marketing process from start to finish.
For instance, the tool finds the key social media influencers in your niche and measures the results of their influence.
You can filter the social search on Traackr by brand affinities, gender, age, location, language, topic, and social media network. You can apply the same filters to the influencer’s followers.
#10: Use Upfluence to Find Micro-Influencers
Upfluence contains a database of about three million influencers. It analyses each influencer according to demographics, location, engagement, reaches, and niche.
Upfluence also reveals the type of content influencers post most as well as their habitual post times.
By now, you would have understood that working with key influencers in your niche can help your brand to effectively reach and engage its target audience.
But remember that influencer marketing doesn’t produce overnight results. It could happen if you have a fantastic product and the likes of Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber gives you a shoutout.
But if you’re in this to connect and build relationships with people for your business, you’ll need to be consistent.
You’ll see dramatic results if you embrace influencer marketing as another ‘strategy’ for connecting and helping your target audience. Don’t see it as a money-making avenue.
If you need a helping hand to launch your influencer marketing campaign, you can contact us today.