How to Find Influencers for Your Influencer Marketing Strategy

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How to find influencers to promote your brand seems easy. After all, there are a lot of influencers nowadays. How can it possibly be that hard, right?

But in reality, finding the right influencer is easy said than done. The fact that there are a lot of influencers now means that you have to be methodical about your approach. The key thing is looking for the most appropriate influencer for your brand.

Thinking of starting your influencer marketing strategy? We’ll walk you through how to find the right influencer for your ecommerce business.

The significance of influencer marketing in ecommerce

Word-of-mouth marketing has stood the test of time as the most profitable form of marketing. 

Think of influencer marketing as a kind of word-of-mouth promotion on a grand scale, as social media enables influencers to massively extend their reach and communicate directly with their followers. 

According to a 2019 study by Rakuten Marketing, 80% of consumers buy a product based on an influencer’s recommendation. The study further breaks down the numbers as follows:

  • 41% of consumers discovered at least one product per week through influencers.
  • 24% of consumers found a new product daily through influencers.

The influencer marketing industry was estimated to be worth a whopping $13.8 billion by the end of 2021. This is a massive leap from its original $1.7 billion in 2016.

While those numbers are certainly impressive, you might be left wondering, “What exactly is an influencer, anyway?” 

An influencer is someone with specialized knowledge, a strong digital presence and influence in a specific niche. The power of an influencer is that they have a dedicated following who trust and are influenced by them. This includes purchasing the products or services that an influencer recommends.

Influencer marketing basically redefined word-of-mouth marketing. It became a powerful marketing strategy that when done right, it can easily and rapidly boost your brand awareness. Eventually, leading to more online conversions for your business. 

By leveraging a well-executed influencer marketing strategy, you can get more eyeballs on your products and convert these visitors into paying customers.

Benefits of finding influencers to promote your brand

A great influencer can help you tell your brand story to your target market. This allows you to connect with your market a lot easier as compared to other marketing channels. 

Let’s explore how influencer marketing can benefit your ecommerce business:

Leveraging an influencer’s credibility

Influencers amass huge followings because they are viewed as credible sources of information by their followers in their respective niches. So hiring an influencer allows you to gain access to their followers and let them trust your products. 

Normally, that level of brand-to-customer connection can take significant time and effort, but influencer marketing gives you the opportunity to shortcut the process. In fact, most customers trust influencers’ product recommendations just as much as they trust a friend’s recommendation.

Creates brand awareness

Unlike conventional ads that can be seen as intrusive or overly pushy, influencers can organically promote your product in a “non-salesy” way. An influencer’s audience is already engaged with their personal brand and content. 

An influencer’s followers generally share the same tastes and values as the influencer themselves – it’s probably why they are following them. Followers therefore have their guard down when consuming an influencer’s content, making it easier for them to accept your brand messaging when the influencer recommends your product.

Accurate targeting

Using influencers to market your brand lets you target your ideal audience with pinpoint accuracy. If you were to use paid social media ads, you would need to start by targeting a broad audience then work your way down to a more specific audience over time. This process costs you both time and money. 

With influencer marketing, you can study an influencer’s audience and online identity and decide right away if they align with your brand or not. When you engage with that influencer, you gain immediate access to the exact type of customers you want to sell to with less hands-on effort.

Offers value to your customers

Value provision and non-intrusive promotion are essential ingredients to drive customer buying decisions. By combining the two, you can simultaneously teach your intended audience about your product with influencer marketing while marketing it to them. 

For example, an influencer creates a video tutorial breaking down the specifications for your product and how to use it. In such a scenario, you get the two-for-one benefit of teaching the audience how to use your product as well as marketing it to them.

How to find influencers to promote your brand

The success of your influencer marketing strategy boils down to choosing the right influencer for your brand. To learn how to find influencers who are the right fit for your business, make sure to assess them against the following specific metrics:

Audience relevance

Audience relevance is crucial when choosing an influencer. You want to make sure the influencer’s following aligns with your target audience before proceeding any further. For example, if you sell clothes, you should partner with influencers whose audience is interested in fashion. 

Kylie Jenner promoting Fashion Nova on her Instagram page
Kylie Jenner promoting Fashion Nova on her Instagram page

Fashion Nova is a case study of influencer marketing done right. The brand used influencer marketing to grow to $400 million in revenue in just 18 months. It now dominates the fashion industry and has established partnerships with celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Cardi B.

Start by creating a list of influencers who align with your target market. Look at their social media posts and comments from followers. Assess whether what they’re publishing in their social channels matches your brand. 

Top Tip: Choose an influencer based on your brand ethos and specific niche. It’ll help you narrow down your search. For example, if you’re selling skincare products that are eco-friendly, you’ll choose an influencer who not only talks about skincare, but also cares about the environment. 

Influencer performance metrics

Once you have a list of potential influencers, you can start narrowing down your search. It’s time to look at the influencer’s performance metrics. Having a relevant audience goes hand-in-hand with excellent performance metrics to create a profitable influencer marketing campaign. 

Let’s take a look at the most important influencer performance metrics to consider:

Quality of followers

Some influencers are known to use bots to inflate their follower count. It’s important to make sure your selected influencer’s following is genuine as this can directly affect the performance of your influencer marketing campaigns. 

One way to gauge the quality of an influencer’s followers is to look at the ratio between their follower count and the reactions to their posts. 

If an influencer has a high number of followers but very few reactions, they may have low-quality followership, whether that’s through bots or simply that their followers are not particularly interested in the content the influencer is sharing. 

A tool like TrendHERO can help you discover if an influencer has fake followers. If they do, you should steer clear and look for influencers with high-quality followings.

Engagement

Engagements measure the strength of the bond between an influencer and their audience. If any influencer’s content receives lots of comments and reactions, this is a good sign that the followers resonate with the influencer’s content. 

The average acceptable engagement rate is 2% to 3%, but the higher, the better. You can calculate the engagement rate using this formula:

Engagements = (likes + comments) / followers x 100

Content quality

Checking the quality of an influencer’s content before partnering with them is also a crucial step. As counterproductive as it sounds, you don’t want to partner with an influencer whose page is full of promotional posts. 

Remember, your goal with influencer marketing is not just increasing your sales, but ultimately increasing your brand awareness so more customers will go back to buying from you. If an influencer posts promotional content too often, their audience gets desensitized and loses interest in the content. 

To maximize the impact that content about your brand will have on the influencer’s following, choose an influencer who doesn’t post many ads. When influencers are seen to be very selective about the brands they work with, this boosts their credibility so their followers are more likely to trust that your brand is special and worth buying. 

Instagram engagement levels by content type showing carousel posts do better than other content types 
Instagram engagement levels by content type showing carousel posts do better than other content types 

Another thing to keep in mind is the type of content you are asking the influencer to create for you. Statistics show that Instagram carousel posts (posts with multiple images) have an average engagement rate of 3.15%, the highest of all content formats.

Past campaign performance

An influencer’s past campaign performance can help you to predict the success of your partnership with that influencer. While there is no way to know the exact return on investment generated by an influencer’s post simply looking at their profile, you can look at the engagements and feedback they get on their marketing posts to estimate the performance of their future campaigns.

Platform

How to find influencers also means considering platform the influencer uses. Different platforms work well for different industries. For example, business-to-business (B2B) products sell very well on LinkedIn, while ecommerce and business-to-customer  (B2C) products typically perform well on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.

Instagram has been a major launch pad for many successful ecommerce businesses such as Lululemon, Blendjet and Fashion Nova. It’s tried and tested as a profitable platform for ecommerce businesses. 

Distribution of TikTok users in the United States as of September 2021, by age group.
Distribution of TikTok users in the United States as of September 2021, by age group.

TikTok is another social media platform worth considering, but only if your target audience includes Gen Z and younger Millennials. According to Statistica, nearly 50% of Tiktok users are under the age of 30.

Pricing

At this point, you should have a list of influencers you want to work with. The final thing you need to consider is the pricing. 

Different influencers charge different rates. You need first to establish your budget, as this will determine the level of influencers you may be able to work with. From there, look at different influencers’ metrics and decide if they’re worth what they charge. The pricing model is the other aspect to consider. 

Some influencers prefer full payment upfront, while others may take a deposit with the balance paid upon completion of the contract, or payment via commission. It all comes down to what you’re willing to pay for the value you believe you’re getting. 

Going with a performance-based pricing model such as commission is often a good approach if the influencer asks for a reasonable percentage.

Make the most out of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has revolutionized marketing for ecommerce businesses. Building a relationship with influencers can prove profitable in the long run for your ecommerce business. 

Here are some final tips to make the most of your influencer marketing strategy:

  • Using influencer marketing tools makes it easier to find credible influencers and negotiate better prices.
  • Micro-influencers with fewer than 100k followers tend to have a conversion rate up to 20% higher than macro-influencers and celebrities because their audience is niched down into a specific audience.
  • Always track the performance of each campaign to identify the best influencers for long-term partnerships with your brand.

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