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Influencer Marketing 101: What It Is, How It Works & How To Find The Right Influencers

Influencer Marketing 101: What It Is, How It Works & How To Find The Right Influencers
Influencer Marketing 101: How To Find The Right Influencers

Influencer marketing has been picking up speed over the past few years.

As more people jump on social media, more people are starting to gain traction, building small or even large audiences around the world.

These people have realised that there's leverage and power by owning these tight-knit communities, and have started to monetize them by helping businesses reach their ideal audiences.

Compared to normal marketing strategies, like paid advertising, influencer marketing is great for many reasons.

Firstly, influencer marketing is usually much cheaper than paying Mark Zuckerberg - to reach 1000 people via paid ads could cost you around $10, the same price you might pay someone with a following of 10,000 people, or even more.

Secondly, influencers have spent time and resources building their community - they've nurtured and gotten to know their community on a deeper level, meaning it's much more effective than getting hit in the face with a cold ad.

There are a ton more reasons why influencer marketing is extremely effective, and a lot of business owners - even wildly successful businesses, are catching on to the trend.

Here in the UK, alone, we're seeing brands like Footasylum taking advantage of this trend by starting a YouTube channel and making weekly videos with some of the UK's biggest influencers.

What is influencer marketing?

We've gone ahead and talked a lot about how effective influencer marketing is, but what is it really?

Better yet, how does influencer marketing really work.

Although it might sound a little confusing, influencer marketing is very simple - you don't need a massive audience yourself to get in touch with most influencers nowadays.

Influencer marketing is the simple strategy of recruiting influencers on social media who have the reach that your business or product needs, and partnering with them to market to their audience.

To begin with influencer marketing, all you need to do is reach out to the influencers you want to work with through platforms like:

Then ask them how much they charge for advertising.

It's important to note that not all influencers offer paid marketing, so don't overthink it if you get rejected or ignored - it happens to everyone.

A lot of the time, you'll need to have a constant, back and forth chat with the influencer before putting a deal together - it's important to remember that these influencers have a reputation to uphold, and so they won't work with all products or services.

Before you set off into the digital sunset and start spamming influencers, there's quite a bit more you must understand.

Types of influencers

There are usually a few main types of influencers on the internet.

The most abundant are micro-influencers. These are influencers who have a small following (10,000-50,000 people) and are usually very effective, and undervalued.

Most companies tend to go for the big players, bumping up the price at the top, and leaving these small pockets of people at the bottom ripe for the picking.

If you're on a small budget and need some quick exposure, micro-influencers might be exactly what you need.

Next, there are page influencers.

Have you ever been on Instagram and come across a meme page? These are page-influencers - they're usually faceless pages that post about a specific topic, and have an audience built around a shared interest.

Although these can be effective, they're more of a wildcard - while they may work sometimes, they won't work a lot of the time.

However, it's worth trying, given the fact that they're relatively inexpensive.

Next are personal influencers - these are similar to micro-influencers but they're a little bigger, between 50,000 and around 500,000 people.

Anything larger than this audience size could be classed as a celebrity.

While personal influencers might still fit within budget, celebrities are where a lot of us cross the line

It can cost tens of thousands to get a sponsored post, video, or shoutout from a celebrity.

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson charges $1 million per Instagram post.

How to find the right influencer:

Influencer Marketing 101: What It Is, How It Works & How To Find The Right Influencers

Now that we understand the different types of influencers there are, how do we know who to choose?

Let's discuss how you can find the right influencer for your business.

The niche

When recruiting influencers for your marketing campaign, one of the most important things to consider is their niche.

A mistake a lot of marketers make is choosing any influencer with a big following, without paying attention to their niche, and the industry they specialise in.

"A big audience is a big audience, what's the problem?"

The problem is that you can't sell kitchen equipment to a gen-Z audience.

Same way you can't sell Batman toys to a group of 60-year-olds (unless they really love Batman). 

Whenever you choose an influencer, the first thing you want to make sure is that their audience/niche is parallel to your business' niche.

If you're selling email marketing SaaS solutions, you'll want to find an influencer in the email marketing niche.

If you're selling NFT art collections, you'll want to find influencers in the NFT space.

This is a lot more hard work than simply opening up a social media app and messaging the first influencer you run into.

To find niche influencers, you'll need to use Hashtags and search for relevant topics - for example, if we are selling NFT art, we'll look for hashtags like #NFT, #NFTartist, #NFTcommunity, etc.

If you decide to go with an influencer outside your niche, you might successfully get eyeballs to your business, but you'll see no tangible results.

Their reach & engagement rates

While a lot of people make the mistake of choosing any influencer, despite their niche, I've seen more people make the mistake of focusing purely on vanity metrics.

Vanity metrics are rosey numbers that give a happy perception of success, but hide the dark truth behind them.

Still confused? Not to worry.

Simply put, a lot of people focus too much on the follower count of the influencers they choose, but forget to go a step further to look at the engagement levels.

The follower count (vanity metric) does not matter anywhere near as much as the engagement an influencer gets.

While some influencers might have 100,000 followers, they might get 5000 likes per post and 300 comments - not bad.

On the other hand, there's a micro-influencer with 10,000 followers, gaining 12,000 likes and 1000 comments.

The clear winner is going to be the micro-influencer with fewer followers but better engagement.

You might think that engagement might not matter to you, but trust me, it does.

When you run influencer advertising, the engagement rate is the next most important aspect of choosing the right influencers.

There are influencers who post a ton but have no effect on their audience, however, those with a lot of engagement are a lot more valuable - their audience is more likely to lead to real sales down the line.

On platforms like Instagram or Twitter, you'll want to check things such as the ratio of likes, comments, shares, retweets, etc, to the followers.

There are tools like phlanx.com (I haven't used this myself, I found it by using Google) that help you calculate the exact engagement rates of social media accounts.

Their account activity

One of the biggest red flags when it comes to choosing the influencers you want to work with is their account activity.

There are two types of influencers on social media.

There are those that can't stop promoting things to save their lives, then there are those that do an advert once every blue moon.

The problem with the former is that their audience is likely deaf to their promotional content.

These influencers have ran so many promotions to their audiences, that their audiences are no longer engaged or interested in what they have to offer.

On the other hand, those that carry out promotional content once every blue moon can be an indication of one of two things:

Their promotions are not effective,

They don't do promotion/don't reply to promotion requests.

You want to try and avoid both ends of the spectrum.

Instead, you want to focus your time and energy on finding people closer to the latter option.

You want to find influencers who don't post too many sponsored posts, yet they do it enough, indicating that it's somewhat effective.

This is because, no business or brand will carry on filling a leaking bucket with water - if the influencer does not lead to results, they won't come back.

However, those who have repeat advertisers could be a sign that their marketing works really well - these are the influencers you want to find and reach out to.

Their reputation

Like most things around the world, influencers also have reputations that they must uphold and show off to their audiences.

This is extremely important when choosing the influencer you work with, granted, that their reputation aligns with your business, brand, and values.

Different influencers have different reputations.

Going back to the example I shared previously with Footasylum, the UK influencers they work with are very funny and loved by gen-z individuals.

They're seen as cool, which carries over when they represent the Footasylum brand.

On the other hand, a brand that uses influencers from LinkedIn, for example, might be looking for a more 'professional' reputation.

Most professionals are on LinkedIn, a lot of influencers and authorities hang out on LinkedIn.

When a brand looks for an authoritative influencer to help them with their marketing campaign, this level of authority is carried over to that brand.

Here it's completely up to you the sort of reputation you want to uphold with your audience.

As long as the reputation the influencer has is positive, there won't be much irreversible harm done.

However, when the reputation of the influencer is tainted, this can rub off badly on you and your business.

Think of all the criminal allegations that famous celebrities have, and the effect it's had on the brands they work with.

While reputation might not matter as much as something like the niche or engagement rate, a negative reputation is the last thing you want to deal with.

Final words

Working on my new NFT collection, I've tasked my partner with the job of helping me find influencers to market our NFT collection.

A few weeks later, he comes back to me with around 10 influencers.

Don't be like this person - out of 10 influencers, 1 might reply, and 0 deals will get closed.

It's a numbers game, don't forget that!

Did you find this article helpful? 

If so, please leave your thoughts in the comments below - let's get some conversations going.

Share this article on social media and with others, let's help more entrepreneurs realize their dreams!

Get involved in our NFT collection's Discord server now.

Join my Quora group where we're building the largest community of online entrepreneurs in the world.

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(Find me on social media if you don't receive it)

Till next time,

Mohamad

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