How to Find Influencers
“90% of Americans ignore digital ads.” Harris Interactive, 2015
And they’re not alone. Influencer marketing is taking the online advertising world by storm. Now more than ever, consumers are turning to people that they follow online for product, service and other types of recommendations instead of the traditional advertisements we come into contact with every day. While it’s not a new concept by any means (think: celebrity endorsements), the type of influencer that people gravitate towards has evolved.
The key here is to find the right influencer(s) for your brand - because each influencer doesn’t always suit the campaign that you’re looking to create.
In this article, we’ll cover what an influencer (and influencer marketing) is, how to find an influencer that suits your marketing strategy, as well as the benefits of adding influencer marketing into your advertising mix.
What Is An Influencer?
An influencer is a person that has built an audience (of any size), and that shares content and expertise within one (or many) specific niche(s) - think beauty, sports, travel, clothing or food. An influencer has the power to affect the purchasing decisions of those that follow them - often because of an established relationship of trust built through the content that they provide. Their audience often looks to them for product, service or destination recommendations, and becomes a sort of community themselves.
A common thought within influencer marketing is that it’s all about the numbers. In some cases, this has proven to be correct - however, many are finding that it’s about the relationship that influencers have with their audience, not about who has the most followers.
Many influencers develop strong relationships with brands over the months and years that they are present on their platform of choice - but it’s important that brands don’t simply see influencers just as a marketing tool in their tool belt. Rather, they are a strong social asset that can be used to build a relationship between a brand and their target audience, strengthening their position within their desired market.
What is Influencer Marketing?
Influencer marketing, in a nutshell, is the partnership between a brand and an influencer. The ‘influencer’ promotes specific brands’ products or services to their audience on one (or many) social media platforms, such as Instagram, Youtube, TikTok or Facebook. Many influencers build and retain a loyal follower base, becoming a trusted resource within a niche market.
An influencer partnership is not the same as a celebrity endorsement - though many originally thought that it was the closest comparison. It’s not about attaching a name to a brand and hoping for the best. Rather it’s the relationship between themselves and their audience is what makes influencer marketing so effective. They are independent from the brand - meaning that they take the specifications from a brand’s influencer outreach or marketing team and put their own spin on it, in order for it to resonate better with their audience.
Common niches for influencers are those like beauty, fashion, travel, food, technology or the how-to-do-it-yourself space.
Benefits of Influencer Marketing
The benefits of influencer marketing are many. Previously when people primarily watched television in the evenings, it was guaranteed that they would be exposed to the ads in ‘prime time’. However, now that types of content available to the masses are expanding, with new streaming services and social media platforms (seemingly every day) available - people can be much more choosy when it comes to the content they interact with. Especially when they can pay to eliminate ads altogether. With more and more people turning away from traditional media sources, this is where influencer marketing becomes so effective - and it’s not just the large players with hefty budgets on the scene that can participate. Macro and micro influencers make this marketing practice sustainable for businesses of all sizes. But ease of access to this marketing tactic isn’t it’s only selling point. Here’s why:
Quickly build trust with your target audience
Because influencers have spent so much time dedicated to building a relationship and credibility with their follower base, people trust their recommendations and the content that they push out. Whether you re-share their content or collaborate with an influencer for a campaign, you can tap into that relationship - putting your brand or product in front of an actively engaged, niche audience.
Increase brand awareness
This is almost a double benefit - one that can serve you as well as the influencer that you might be working with. Whether it’s a sponsored or organic content share, an influencer putting your brand or product in front of their audience will expand your reach as well as your brand positioning online. This new audience will begin to get to know your story, who your brand is, the values you hold and what you offer.
The key here is to be able to add value to the influencer that you are working with - adding value to their platform as well as your own.
Build out your content strategy
Let’s be honest here, sometimes it can be difficult to fill every single day with original content, especially if you don’t have the bandwidth to generate a higher volume of content for a multichannel approach - think email marketing, social media and the like.
Sharing influencer content can not only help you build out your content strategy, filling the gaps that you might not have a piece planned for, while also strengthening the perception of your brand.
Quicker customer acquisition
When partnering with an influencer, the idea is that your product already aligns with their audience - your target audience. These social platform users are already interested in the niche content that features your product - which makes the acquisition process much faster (and much easier) than a traditional sales experience. If they’re already interested in the topic, it makes them much more likely to buy.
Be more organic and “in-tune” with your audience
Modern advertising catches a lot of flack because of how “in your face” it can be. In many instances, this is the main reason that so many are put-off of mainstream ads. Influencer marketing, however, is a different story altogether. One of the biggest appeals of influencer marketing is that it feels organic, and “in-tune” with what your target audience is searching for.
It doesn’t appear pushy or “sales-y”, and when done well - it can have a massively positive effect on your campaign goals.
A more technical reason that many brands find influencer marketing more successful than traditional advertising tactics is because many people now use ad-blocking software - making it hard for traditional ads to be seen by the consumer.
How to Find Influencers with Cohley
Searching for the perfect influencer for your campaign may seem like a daunting task - after all, if you’re new to influencer marketing, it can be hard to know where to start. Enter into the mix: Cohley, an influencer connection platform.
The Cohley platform is designed to allow brands to connect with smaller and larger influencers alike via a backend interface.
Influencers sign up to become a Cohley creator, which once complete, allows them to apply for the campaigns they’re most interested in working on. After the review process is complete, each brand can approve or decline as many or as few applications as they desire. The application covers social media handles, the influencer’s engagement rate and a brief synopsis as to why they feel they would be a good fit to work with the brand. Think of Cohley as your ideal shortlist, before you even look at your list of applications!
Our platform streamlines the influencer search process on the brand side, as well as allowing influencers to create and build relationships with multiple brands at once. It’s a win-win!
Written by Jenn Wang
Jenn is our Director of Brand Strategy and our first hire! Constantly in the pursuit of a vibrant life, Jenn leads our internal and external product marketing functions, supports sales and CSMs teams, product resources and training, and oversees all fully managed client services. This go-getter is all about challenging the status quo of content generation and creating a flawless system that works for Cohley's customers. Outside of work, Jenn can be found planning her next vacation, eating seafood, or patting every dog she sees.