With influencer marketing on the rise, just how can you identify the right influencer for your business? How should you approach your influencers and create a strategy to optimize your marketing efforts? Here’s what we came up with…

Influencers have become an integral part of marketing strategies over the years. In fact, a poll study by Tomoson showed that for every $1 dollar invested in influencer marketing, there is an ROI of $6.5.

What this means is that you need to choose your influencers carefully in order to achieve the highest ROI possible.

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How do I find the right influencer? I’ll start this article with a loaded question, there are many influencer marketing software options and even more influencers than you can imagine. So how should you look for hidden gems and potential lotteries? Obviously, there are several factors when finding the right influencer for your business.

Here are the factors to consider:

The influencer’s follower base

You need to be specific when it comes to the community that an influencer has:

  • It must be similar to your target audience as much as possible.
  • Influencers with smaller audiences that are similar to your customers will result in a higher ROI.

They are able to engage with their followers more closely and are better positioned to communicate your brand’s message.

Authenticity and credibility

How do you know that an influencer is authentic and credible? You can easily tell by looking at their content. The audience should feel that the content is authentic. If it is a beauty product, they should be able to feel that the influencer has actually used the product and is giving honest feedback about it.

Look out for content customization. You do not want to work with an influencer who will simply copy and paste what they receive from their PR contact person. Here are a few examples of influencers who forgot to remove the instructions from their PR contacts.

Social media audiences can easily spot a post that is salesy. In fact, many already understand that this is one of the ways influencers make money. But such small details and being too salesy could make the audience that you are trying to reach lose trust in an influencer, and by extension, a brand.

Moreover, an influencer needs to “be themselves” as much as possible, even when promoting products. If the tone of their content is usually professional, they need to maintain that when promoting products. If it is usually more conversational and fun, then the same needs to be reflected in the promotion of products.

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Your brand’s huge fans

Sometimes, the right person to actually work with as an influencer is someone who already knows your brand and loves it. You need to identify who your biggest fan is and then use their enthusiasm to influence the other buyers. You are more likely to build a loyal relationship with such a fan, and that can really benefit your brand.

Some tools you can use to help you find your biggest fans




Passion for your industry or niche

Look for an influencer who is passionate about your industry, beyond the following that they have. A potential influencer may have a large following but may not be particularly passionate about your industry. This is another way to ensure that you are working with influencers whom the audience deem to be credible in your field. A passionate influencer will have developed content that is related to your brand or industry, participate in online discussions and may even be involved in events or conferences.

Knowledge about the industry or brand

While passion is a great trait for an influencer to possess, it will not be beneficial in the long run if the influencer does not understand the brand or niche to whose audience they are supposed to communicate with.

How do you measure knowledge of the brand or industry?

Look out for the influencer participation in brand-related or industry-related activities and events.

How about their content? Is it accurate?

This would be important when it comes to products that are a bit technical, for instance, electronic devices. The content should show that the influencer understands the technical jargon associated with that particular product.

You may want to work with influencers who have experience working in your niche. This does not mean that they only have content that is related to your niche. Influencers may have diverse interests. Check their social media content, website, or blogs for a more wholesome understanding of their knowledge. This way, you will be able to determine whether they are a good fit for you and your audience and whether your brand is a good fit for them and their audience.

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How do I find the right influencer?

Going back to the poll study by Tomoson. It stated that more than half of marketers rated the average quality of customers acquired via influencer marketing as higher. This means that the influencer you choose can have an affect on the customer quality you recieve.

Here is how to find the right influencer:

Look out for the influencers follower engagement rate

While an influencer’s followers are an important consideration, how many of them actually engage with the influencer’s content? A study by Smart Insights showed the relationship between the number of followers and engagement rate. Influencers with smaller follower bases, who are usually known as “micro-influencers” tend to have more personalized content, which their followers find authentic and engaging.

You need to calculate an influencer’s engagement rate (the percentage of the followers who comment, like, share or save an influencer’s posts) in order to determine whether they are your best fit. A general formula is as an average of an influencer’s last 20 or 30 posts. There are also tools that can calculate an influencer’s engagement rate for you.

Goal alignment

You need to choose the kind of influencer that aligns to your goals. If brand awareness is your goal, you may want to choose influencers with large fan bases (over 1 million), even if there engagement rate may be low. If your goal is conversion, then influencers with smaller fan bases will be ideal, 100k to 1 million (macro-influencers), and 1k to 100k followers (micro-influencers). If your goals are both conversion and brand awareness, then you may want to use both types of influencers.

Another aspect of your goal that you need to consider is the platform and content type that would work for your audience. If your audience is more responsive to video, you may consider going for a YouTube influencer. If your audience is not highly responsive to video, you may want to go for an influencer on other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Your goals need to be measurable and specific, for example, an increase in the number of followers or sales or even customer quality. This way, you will be able to ask the right questions once you begin reaching out to potential influencers.


Do not go for an influencer whose content is overly promotional. If 90% of an influencer’s social media content is promotional, it means that their audiences are disengaged with that influencer’s content. Confirm whether the audience has begun to disengage with the content by looking at the engagement rate, and comments. If the engagement rate is low and the comments negative, do not work with that influencer. Sooner or later, the audience will begin to dissipate.

Quality of content and its presentation

Does an influencer’s content match your brand in terms of quality? If your brand is a luxury menswear brand, for instance, your potential influencer’s content quality (photos, videos, and even background) needs to bring to the fore the aspect of luxury too.


You want to work with an influencer who can create content that is unique. For instance, an influencer who loves gaming is likely to do unboxing videos or video reviews.

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With the help of tools

You need not do all your research manually. Here’s 15 free tools that you can use to make it easier to find the right influencer:

  1. Buzzsumo
  2. Hey.Press
  3. Anewstip
  4. Social Mention
  5. Klout
  6. Lissted
  7. Google Alerts
  8. Notey
  9. Followerwonk
  10. Klear
  11. Quora
  12. Kred
  13. LinkedIn
  14. NinjaOutreach Lite
  15. Buzzweb

These tools allow you to identify the content types that perform best for different topics, connect with journalists and media influencers, identify different types of user-generated content, identify influencers based on a scale, identify influencers based on category, topics or industries as well as view their social profiles. Using a combination of these tools should make it easier for you to find the right influencer.

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How do you approach influencers?

Once you have settled on a list of influencers, it is time to approach them. Here is how to go about it:

Get their contact information or social profiles

You may not have all the contacts/email addresses/social profiles of all the potential influencers on your list. If you cannot find the influencer’s social profiles, you may actually need to type the influencer’s name followed by the social platform on Google in order to access their usernames or search for them on particular social platforms. On a platform like Instagram, you could search using hashtags. Once you have their contacts/email addresses/social profiles, it is now time to communicate with them.

You could message them in private on Instagram, for instance, and ask for their rates. These could be based on time (24-hour or 72-hour posts) or per post.

Use warm introductions

You need to introduce yourself warmly to an influencer before you tell them that you need their help. Sometimes, you may need to draw their attention so that by the time you contact them, they already have a clue about who you or your brand is. You could do this by engaging with their content, for instance, blog posts or on social media. Leave meaningful comments and let them know that you are impressed by their work. You may even share the influencer’s content among your networks. This is more like getting on an influencer’s radar.

Craft a persuasive proposal

In your proposal, your emphasis should be on your thoughts on their content or expertise. Go ahead and even give specific examples of the content that you liked and that led you to reach out to that particular influencer.

You then need to introduce yourself and your brand, how you came across the influencer, why you are reaching out to them, your expected outcome, and what you have to offer in return.

There is no need to specify the specific amount of money you are willing to pay, for instance. The way you present your offer should be appealing in order to increase the chances of getting a response from the influencer. You could mention other successful collaborations that you have had in the past. 69% of influencers prefer monetary compensation. Other options include attribution and exposure, free products or discounts, and commissions.

Make it easy for them to accept your requests

Your email or message (even if it is via DM) should always have a clear call to action.

If you want to set up an initial call over Skype, for instance, that will help you discuss the possibility of working together with an influencer, you may include a link to your Google calendar that shows your availability. This way, they get to choose a time that is convenient for both of you.

Make use of tools

There are tools that make it easier and more convenient to reach out and communicate with influencers. Let’s look at a few:


Hunter.io allows you to get influencers’ contacts by simply entering their website URL. It is also a Google Chrome extension that you can add to make your work easier. You, however, need to sign up in order to view the entire email address.

Text expander

Text expander helps you when communicating with potential influencers in that you need not send the exact same message. The tool is able to expand what you are typing, with no typos.

Scheduling Tools

Trying to schedule a meeting or call via email or even discussions over the phone is definitely time-consuming, considering the fact that you may have a long list of influencers to reach out to. Scheduling tools like ScheduleOnce and Calend.ly come in handy. In fact, the latter integrates with your CRM and allows the influencer to book an appropriate time for them via your website.

Follow Up

After you have sent your initial email or DM, you need to follow up. If you use Gmail, an extension like ReplyUp will come in handy to not only schedule follow-ups but to also track viewed or clicked emails. It automates follow-ups and pauses them once a response is received. If you had used social media to reach out to an influencer. A tool like Hootsuite will help you manage several platforms and see the responses that you have received. You can then send follow-ups. Space your follow-up messages, for instance, weekly. After you have sent a couple of follow-ups with no response, you can cross that influencer off your list.

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How do you ask influencers to share content?

By the time you are asking an influencer to share your content, you have probably reached out to them, and they have agreed to work with you. How then do you ask them to share your content?

Be specific

First, be specific about the goal which what you want the influencer to help you achieve. Second, be clear about the effort that you want them to put in place in helping you achieve your goals. Your instructions should be clear and provide samples that bring to the fore what you are asking the influencer to do.

Keep them in the know

Sometimes, influencers may be involved in the content creation process, for instance where they are giving expert advice. Once you have put together the content, you need to let them know before the launch or publishing so that they will be more willing to share it once it is published. Remember to email each influencer individually (a CRM software will come in handy here). In the email, remind them how they participated and then request them to share the content.

Create more opportunities for collaboration

In the email where you ask them to share content that they had been interested in, or participated in creating, you could ask whether they would be interested in similar opportunities in the future. Better still, mention an upcoming project that would be a good fit for them. It is always important to focus on building a relationship with influencers over the long term so that they can grow with your brand.

Make the content about them

Influencers enjoy talking about the things that they are passionate about or that they have expertise in. One way to ask influencers to share content is via making the content about them. One way to do this is by offering to interview them about a particular topic. This way, they will have generated content with a little effort on their part. Discussing where you intend to publish it is also important, especially if it is a platform that that influencer frequently uses. Moreover, once you are done editing the video or podcast, you can send it to them. When you ask an influencer to share this type of content, they will be more willing to as it showcases them too.

Mention them in your content

When you mention an influencer in your content, for instance, via a link to their research, or even a quote, make sure that the mention is substantial. You then need to share that piece of content with them. If they like it, you can ask them to share. If they do not, you can ask for ways in which to improve it.

In conclusion

We have looked at how you can identify influencers to grow your marketing efforts, how you can find the right influencer, how to approach identified influencers, and finally how to ask them to share content. All you need to do now is incorporate the above-discussed strategies into your marketing efforts.