How to Find and Partner with the Right Niche Influencers
It’s no secret that influencers impact consumer behavior. Snapchat’s $1.3 billion loss in market share in February, which came on the heels of a single tweet from Kylie Jenner, shows the power that influencers can wield. While you may not have a celebrity or a TV personality like Kylie Jenner to endorse your business, partnering with an established influencer who already has a fan base for your niche market can provide opportunities for reaching your ideal customers.
Here are some tips for finding and partnering with the niche influencers who can help raise your brand’s profile:
1. Manual search
Manually searching for influencers for your niche market involves conducting searches for relevant keywords on Google and sifting through pages containing information about your industry. It’s grueling work, but if done right the results can be rewarding―your searches can turn up blogs, forums, Reddit threads, or comments on articles. By documenting your findings in a spreadsheet, you can take note of important details like:
- Fan base size
- Social media channels (and links to them)
- Strong points
- Weak points
- Contact info
- Observations: write down their unique identifiers (e.g., tend to use video a lot, has a great sense of humor, has lots of ads, our competition has him/her under contract, etc.)
Comparing influencers’ strengths and weaknesses will help you pinpoint partners who match your brand’s values and personality.
2. Hashtags & Google Alerts
By following hashtags on social media and Google alerts, you can spot who’s active in relevant conversations. Search for hashtags that are related to your brand. Instagram is a great place to start since the app now has a higher number of monthly active users (MAU) than Twitter. Searching a relevant hashtag can lead to influencers who have tagged a post with that hashtag. Once you’ve found an influencer who meets your criteria for tone, audience, and content, check to see how many followers they have and whether they have an email address (e.g., on their website or blog) where you can reach them.
Identify influencers who write about topics relating to your industry or products by setting Google alerts using keywords that are relevant to your brand. Social monitoring and listening tools, like those offered by West Digital Media Solutions, make it easy to keep up with brand and industry developments.
A high-profile influencer who’s related to your brand is likely followed by smaller influencers who comment on and like posts. These followers are known as micro-influencers and can be anyone from bloggers to everyday consumers who have built a loyal following on social media. In fact, despite the lower count of followers and subscribers, micro-influencers tend to drive better engagement because they’re approachable, relatable, and have a dedicated following. These smaller niche influencers can be ideal partners because they offer authentic content to your target audience.
When searching for partners, don’t overlook your own followers. They’re already interested in your brand and they’ll be more authentic in their recommendations and opinions about your product or services.
4. Influencer marketing platforms
There are a variety of platforms that scan the Internet searching for influencers and industry pundits and compile the results for you to make outreach easy. These platforms come with a cost, but can provide a proven strategy for finding the right influencers for your brand.
Once you have a good list of potential influencers, remember to cross-check your influencer’s list of followers against your own current list to make sure the influencer is reaching a unique audience. There’s no sense in spending time and budget on an influencer campaign if it’s not reaching your target audience. Also make sure to weed out influencers whose brand values do not align with yours. Otherwise, you won’t be reaching your ideal customers or providing your audience with unique content. People can tell the difference between influencers who are just mentioning the advertiser for the cash and those who actually use and like the product.
The outreach message you send to a potential partner is crucial, especially with smaller influencers who may be concerned with the authenticity of requests for collaboration. Here are three things to include in your pitch:
1. Benefits: Make it clear what’s in it for them. Remember, you’re asking someone to use their time to engage in an activity that benefits you. They need incentives to make this extra effort on your behalf. Explain how partnering with you will benefit them in terms of providing more traffic to their site, raising their profile, or generating more cash.
2. Instructions: Be specific about what you’d like the influencer to accomplish. That way, you’ll create less work for them and they can better meet your expectations.
3. Deadlines: Provide influencers with a specific timeframe for participation, and don’t be afraid to provide a small window for making a decision to prevent them from forgetting about your pitch.
Make your next influencer campaign a success
Working with influencers can yield results since your message is being distributed by a brand that your target audience knows, trusts, and has chosen to follow. Working with an influencer can also compliment other time-sensitive product launch strategies like marketing webinars and press release distribution.
If you don’t have the time to invest in seeking out influencers yourself, an influencer marketing platform is essential. Not only will this type of tool help you find an influencer, it can also provide you with analytics and other key information in one easy-to-use platform. Learn more about how West’s communications solutions can help.