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For plenty of brands, the decision to give influencer marketing a try is easy. It’s the process of finding influencers that proves to be difficult.

In part, the difficulty is there’s more to influencer marketing than finding a pretty face with a lot of followers. You need to make sure you know how to find influencers. Specifically, you want to find influencers who are a good fit for your brand. As influencer marketing has become more and more popular, there’s definitely been a rise in fake influencers.

Here’s a quick how-to on finding influencers. Here you’ll learn the three possible ways to find influencers, contact influencers and hire influencers. Plus, you’ll learn what to do to make sure a person is legit before you make contact.

Finding Influencers: 3 Ways

Finding influencers can involve rolling up your sleeves and diving into a social media and internet search. Or it can mean completely outsourcing the task to an agency. Here are your options:

DIY Influencer Research

Probably the most labor-intensive way to find influencers, DIY research can involve scanning through your follower list to see who, if anyone, has mentioned your brand in the past, and who, if anyone, has a pretty decent follower count and amount of engagement.

You’ll then want to follow those people to get a sense of what they post about on a regular basis, and how many people comment or like their posts.

Another way to research and find influencers yourself is to conduct searches for hashtags that are relevant to your niche. This is time consuming, since you’ll first have to figure out what hashtags to look for, then check out who the people are who are using them.

Find an Influencer Agent

Here’s a more hands-off approach to finding influencers. One option is to contact an influencer talent agent to find influencers on your behalf. Talent agents for actors or other performers help their clients find work, and handle much of the interaction between the performer and the company hiring them. Similarly, an influencer agent connects influencers with brands, and serves as a sort of go-between or intermediary. For them it’s easy to find influencers. Mainly, because the influencers are their clients.

Working with an agent or agency is going to save you a bit of research, hassle and headache. But, it often comes with a big price tag. Usually, agents only work with influencers who have huge followings and big reputations, meaning they also expect the highest paychecks. There are a few agencies that work exclusively with micro-influencers, but these are few and far between.

Use an Influencer Marketing Platform or Marketplace

Often, an influencer marketing platform or marketplace offers the best features of DIY research and working with an agency, minus the drawbacks.

Influencer Marketplaces vary considerably when it comes to quality and usefulness. Some are little more than lists or spreadsheets with the names and contact details of influencers. For some, this is their only method for how-to find influencers. Others are much more comprehensive influencer marketing software suites.

Top influencer marketing platforms or marketplaces let brands find influencers, as well as connect and communicate with them. Influencer marketplaces also provide brands with concrete details about each influencer, including any past campaigns or projects they’ve worked on plus results.

Taking the Shortcut For How-To Find Influencers

You might think of using an influencer marketplace to find influencers as “taking a shortcut.” The right influencer marketplace will get you to where you’re going quicker. Here’s how to tell if a marketplace will be worth your while, or if it will just have you spinning around in circles:

Which Types of Influencers Are Available

Influencer Marketplaces vary in how specific they are. Some only work with fashion influencers, and others only work with YouTubers. For the greatest selection, it’s better to work with a marketplace that isn’t super limiting. That way finding influencers that fit for your campaign is much easier.

Ease of connection

What’s the point of using a influencer marketplace if all it gives you is an influencer’s email address or other contact information? You might as well find influencers on your own. You want an influencer platform that not only shows you how-to find influencers, but also gives you the chance to introduce yourself to them. An influencer marketing platform with some sort of communication option will help to streamline the process.

Assistance with finding influencers

An influencer marketplace should be more than a glorified Google search. The best ones will help you find influencers that are just right for your brand.

How to Tell If You’ve Found The Right Influencer

Using a marketplace will definitely help you separate the wheat from the chaff. But, you need help finding influencers who are actively looking for projects. And, there’s still the question of whether an influencer is worth partnering with, or whether he or she is a good fit for your brand.

There are three areas to look at to tell whether or not an influencer will work for your brand:

  • The first area is the audience he or she connects with. For example, if you’re trying to reach busy moms, an influencer who’s popular with teens won’t do.
  • The next area is the content an influencer produces. Does he or she swear or produce content that could be construed as offensive? Are the photos he or she takes blurry? Ask yourself, would this person be someone you’d want serving as the face of your brand? If the answer is no, move on.
  • Finally, you want to evaluate an influencer’s stance on your brand. Are they already enthusiastically talking about you? If so, great! If not, is there room for them to talk about you? Does mentioning your products in some way seem to fit with their overall personality and style?

Remember that influencer marketing is all about authenticity. People will bail on the influencer and on your brand if things don’t seem like a good fit.

Next Steps After You’ve Found an Influencer

Your job doesn’t end after finding influencers. Next, you want to negotiate with them to figure out how they’ll be compensated. And, you need to know what type of campaign they’ll work on. If you choose the right marketplace, you can handle bidding and campaign planning through the platform.

After you’ve agreed on a price and a project, it’s up to the influencer to create the content, then for you to review it. If all goes well, the influencer’s content will go live, and you’ll be able to track and measure results to see if you really did end up finding the right influencer.