Influencers are people who may not be famous, per se, but have loyal and engaged online followings in a number of local or niche markets. As a small business owner, blogger collaborations can be one of the most effective and budget-friendly ways to market your business to targeted audiences. However, reaching out to bloggers and social media influencers requires tracking them down first. To help you create an initial list of prospects, here are 6 of the best ways to find influencers to promote your small business.
Are there any customers, fans, or social media followers who are already interacting with your company on social media? A person who regularly comments on your pages, tags your business, or uses your custom hashtag could be a potential influencer.
Before reaching out about an influencer marketing campaign, check out the profiles of these people to make sure they have clout and a loyal following. If you are having trouble keeping track of your social mentions, apps like Social Mention can help. If you need some help assessing their clout, tools like Follerwonk can help.
You can use hashtag and keyword searches to find influencers on social channels like Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and (to a lesser degree) Facebook. If you know what social channels your target audience frequents the most, start there. Otherwise, Instagram is a good place to start.
To find influencers who share your target audience, choose hashtags and keywords specific to your niche and local area. For example, if you own a gym in Miami, you should try terms like #MiamiFitnessBlogger rather than more generic terms like, #Fitness or #FitnessBlogger. If you aren’t finding many people posting in your specific town, try a nearby city or even state instead. If you’re getting too many results, narrow specificity of the location.
Also, focus on the top results of your search. When you perform a hashtag search, the recent posts with the most engagement will be displayed first, so you are most likely to find influencers from these posts.
Outside of social media, the best way to track down influencers is by finding their blogs. One way to do this is through a simple Google search. For example, if you were opening up a children’s rec center in Los Angeles you could search things like “LA mommy bloggers” and see if you could find relevant blog articles or lists of top local mom blogs.
There is also a variety of paid and unpaid blog search engines where you are able to more easily find and sort vast blog content via category tags or keyword search. Blog Search Engine, IceRocket and BlogHer are all sites where you can dig around to track down relevant blogs.
Find bloggers by location or basic category, then read through more posts to determine if their content would be relevant for a collaboration with your business. Make sure that their existing readers are in your target audience, or would be interested in your company. You may also want to track the blogger down on on social media to further assess their audience, engagement, and level of influence.
Depending on your budget, you may want to look past the first page of Google and reach out to bloggers on the second, third, and fourth pages of search results. Bloggers on the first page of search engine results may have a large following and be less likely to collaborate with smaller businesses. Bloggers who have a moderate following and are found on the subsequent pages of search results may be more likely to collaborate.
There are a growing number of tools specifically designed for finding online influencers (as well as measuring the influence of a person), using social media data, shared content, and more. Many of these influencer search tools are paid subscription services. Typically, these online tools can run you anywhere from $50-$250+ per month. BuzzSumo, GroupHigh, InkyBee, and Followerwonk are all examples of paid platforms which aid social influencer research.
If you’re operating on a tight budget but want to give the influencer search tools a try, consider signing up for a short-term free trial. For instance, you can get a 14-day free trial of BuzzSumo to test of their influencer search tool to do a little initial digging. On this platform, you can find top writers, bloggers, and content sharers by keyword and filter by reach, authority, influence and engagement to assist with the vetting process.
Remember, bloggers and influencers also live and market themselves offline. They attend events to grow their following and learn more about their area of interest. You have a good chance of finding influencers at local events like trade shows, seminars, open houses, community meetings, or trendy openings. Influencers get reached out to frequently, especially online, so initiating contact in person can give you an advantage.
Even still, you’ll want to vet these influencers in the same way you do other prospects. Check their social media profiles and blog traffic to determine whether they are actually a good fit to promote your business.
As always, use your connections. Do you have a friend who is a blogger, who has an in with an influencer? These are great opportunities to find influencers. Even if they are not in your specific niche, bloggers generally are very connected and have ties to lots of other local bloggers in their communities. If they are in your niche, they can likely point you to even more opportunities.
There are many ways to find influencers that can help you to promote your business and expand your reach. The key is not just in knowing these channels, but also in knowing your target audience and the information most important to them.