How to find the right social media influencers for your brand

Finding the perfect influencer is hard. 

But you know the biggest mistake most ecommerce brands make? 

... Only considering the face value of an influencer profile.

They look at the follower count, engagement rate, profile aesthetic, and the type of content they are making.

This is flat-out judging a book by its cover. 

This article is sectioned into three-parts — define, identify, and analyze — to give you the best approach to finding the right influencers to promote your brand, save you from working with the wrong ones, and wasting your money!

We'll cover: 

  • Define: What is an influencer?
  • Identify: How to find the best influencers for your brand?
  • Analyze: How to choose the right influencers for your influencer marketing campaigns?

Define: What is an influencer?

Influencers are the best storytellers, content creators, and allies for building trust. They have the power of affecting the purchasing decisions of your potential customers. 

  • They can be: a blogger, podcaster, social media personality, celebrity, industry expert, and thought leader
  • You'll see them on: A range of social networks like TikTok, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Youtube
  • They help brands: sell product, build brand awareness, find communities, and achieve digital marketing objectives
  • They can be labelled as: Macro-influencers or micro-influencers — determined by their number of followers and measures of influence

Types of influencer marketing campaigns & ways to engage with new influencers

Influencer Gifting/Product Seeding

Product seeding (also referred to as influencer seeding) is when brands send free products to influencers with no strings attached (i.e. no expectations on a post in return). 

The term ‘seeding’ describes a long-term mindset where the goal is the relationship and everything else is a bonus.

Guest posting

This is typically a blogging technique in content marketing strategies where you guest post on other sites to build SEO authority. In this context, you would invite influencers to guest post on your site.

Sponsored content

Sponsored influencer content is content that's made possible by a brand or created in partnership with brands.

Contests and giveaways

When you partner with influencers to do a social media giveaway.

Influencer takeover

When Instagram influencers temporarily take over an account on behalf of your brand and share instagram posts or stories.

Influencer affiliates

Brands with an affiliate program will have a list of influencers who promote products and earn a commission on each purchase made.

Discount codes

Brands offer an influencer a discount code to promote to their audience — often connected to a unique URL so you can track the results.

Brand ambassadors (flag bearers) 

A person who absolutely loves your brand and your products, and is an authority in the industry you're in. Most ambassadors will create content for you for free — that's why finding your brand ambassadors (or flag bearers as we like to call them) are your holy grail. 

Finding these people takes time, and even longer to build a solid relationship. But that's exactly what we're going to help you do.

Identify: How to find the best influencers for your brand

There are a few ways to get started. 

  • Using hashtags to search for potential influencers is one way you can start building out your influencer list — but that's manual and time-consuming.
  • Influencer marketing platforms provide searchable databases of influencers to help brands find a perfect match for their campaign. Helpful — but these third-party tools can cost upwards of $5k per month!
  • An alternative to influencer marketing tools is using a social listening platform like Buzzsumo. They do offer a free plan which gives you a social media dashboard dedicated to finding influencers — but you're limited to only 10 searches a month.

All of the above either costs you money, is limited, or it's time-consuming. Lucky for you, there's another way ... 

Saving you from burning money on fancy tools

This isn’t some third-party tool with a bunch of scraped data from an outsourced independent contractor that's overseas. This is the mothership — Facebook — giving the public an influencer identification tool, FREE of cost.

Brand Collabs Manager is Facebook's very own influencer identification tool, and it's FREE of cost. 

There isn’t a machine learning system in the world with more data than Facebook, giving brands no greater opportunity to identify the right influencers to promote their product(s)/service(s) in such a cost-effective manner.

Get onboarded & start your search [Video Tutorials]

If you haven’t already done so, go apply for your brand to be on-boarded onto their platform as an “advertiser”. 

After a week or two following your application to Brand Collabs Manager, you should get on-boarded. Once you do, this is what you can expect from BCM.

You’ll be able to find the right influencers by using their search tool which enables you to filter through their database of influencers by specifying:

  • Location
  • Gender 
  • Age
  • Interests
  • There is added criteria you can also filter through in identifying influencers on BCM: 

    • What social platforms are they on 
    • What portfolio type do they have 
    • What their follower count is

    Also, you can search influencers based on affinity with an influencer’s page within your Business Manager account. This is a resourceful tool once you find an influencer type that really works on behalf of your brand for scaling purposes.

    As you find creators that fit with your brand, you can add them to a creator list for you to file away.

    Another awesome feature of the platform is you are able to reach out to the influencers directly from BCM via Facebook messaging and directly to their email (I’d recommend doing both)!

    This is a high-level overview of Facebook’s influencer tool but if you’re interested in influencer marketing, it's worth checking out.

    Analyze: How to choose the right influencers for your influencer marketing campaigns

    So once you've built a list of influencers, you have to work out which ones are going to help you nail your influencer marketing strategy. Here are some philosophies we believe in at Kynship, to help you choose the right influencers.

    Micro-influencer over Macro-influencer

    Firstly, our team defines micro-influencers as people with 5k-150k followers.

    Why do we suggest Micro over Maco?

    • You avoid agents and managers. Their livelihoods are contingent on them hustling you for hiked-up influencer pricing.
    • No money, no access. When trying to seed product to your identified influencers, agents won't allow you to get your product in front of their "talent" without any payment — as nothing is in it for them financially to coordinate this for you.
    • You are the one building a direct relationship. Whereas an agent or manager would be the gatekeeper to the relationship you desire.
    • Greater response rate. Micros are far more likely to respond to your outreach message and want to be a part of your influencer seeding program. We have also seen they are far more likely to post your product FREE of cost when you seed them product/s (i.e influencer gifting).

    10 Micros > 1 Macro 

    Let's say we have 1 macro-influencer with 1 million followers and 10 micro-influencers with 100K followers. When comparing the two, the aggregate following is the same but that is where the similarities end...

    On a per follower basis, micro-influencers have far superior ... 

    • Niche target audiences 
    • Reach
    • Engagement rates 
    • Conversion rates 

    With an aggregate following that is the same, micro-influencers become the obvious choice.

    Qualitative vs quantitative metrics

    When it comes to analyzing an influencer based on metrics — there are two ways to do so: 

    1. QUANTITATIVELY: follower count (i.e number of followers), engagement rate, pricing, brand awareness (impressions), and the quality type of content they are making. All these metrics plus insights into their audience demo: age, gender, location, etc. You can ask influencers to screenshot some of this information on their Instagram analytics.
    2. QUALITATIVELY: Take a look at what the influencer posts about — do they represent and post “on-brand” content? Do they share the same brand values?

    When you look at their feed, do they match the type of persona you want your customer to be as well? Who they are and what they are posting will most likely represent their follower demographics as well, especially at the micro-level.

    But more than just quantitative or qualitative metrics, or micro vs macro, the third philosophy is creator vs distributor — which is the most important. 

    In order for this to make the most sense, one of our founders Cody makes a very good point. 

    Every investment has a leap of faith in it, right?

    A belief that it will work and you take the risk — whether that is something like gambling or exercising. There’s a gap between where you are and where you want to be — or in the case of influencer marketing, what you’re spending and the return on that spend.

    So let me ask you this: If you could control the return on your investments, would you? If I said, you can pre-determine the number of sales you receive before paying this influencer, would you pay them? Of course, you would.

    So the question becomes: How do we reduce the gap as much as possible? I cannot predetermine a number of sales for you but the point I want to make is this...

    The likelihood of a strong ROI — the gap being reduced incrementally — will exist when you have more control over the return than the influencer does. 

    Let’s look back at the Creator vs Distributor philosophy.

    Creator vs Distributor

    The most effective influencers are the best content creators. Take a look through their social media accounts.....

    What you’re seeing here is the influencer’s content on the left under Creator and then that same piece of content existing on her feed under distributor.

    As a distributor, you're looking at this influencer solely for their distribution and amplification of the content they create.

    As a creator: You're viewing them as a professional creator of content that gets posted, but also delivered to populate and use in your content library. 

    At the heart of this you have to believe that you can distribute this content BETTER, and TO MORE PLACES than they can. Think about all the places you can distribute this content if able, comparatively to this influencer.

    You see her content she creates just goes to her feed. 

    Let’s take that same scenario. Only this time, you get to distribute the content to your channels as well, where you can generate sales: 

    • Email 
    • PDP Page 
    • Facebook Ads 
    • Your social channels 

    Here's an example of FB ad ROI using this creator over distributor philosophy

    We worked with company X and pitched an influencer named Elyse. From the traditional sense, she's okay. Decent engagement rate at 1.9% on photo, 1.3% on video. Honestly, below average for a micro.

    how-to-find-the-right-influencer-for-your-brand

    But as a CREATOR, not DISTRIBUTOR — she's a home run. Example below: 

    When we first pitch her to the brand, she gets denied because of the engagement rate. 

    Generally, we default to their approval process but again, we believed she could create great content for them.

    It was worth fighting for. We told the brand: "Remember, this is CONTENT FIRST, not her organic performance." 

    It took some work, the brand came around, and they thanked us later... 

    This piece of content below ... 17.7k spent, 45k in return at a 2.5 ROAS in the first 3 months. A 30% lift in performance compared to the rest of the ad account at the prospecting level.

    You can find more of these types of lessons and breakdowns in our Influencer Blueprint course.