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You want to find social media influencers for upcoming marketing campaigns, but do you know how to pick an influencer? More specifically, do you know how to choose influencers for your brand that will create engaging content that aligns with your messaging and work within your allotted campaign budget? 

If you answered “no,” don’t worry. We’ve got some tips to help you determine what to look for in influencers and how to find your next content creator.

Designing your brand’s ideal influencer

Before you begin wading through the infinity pool of content creators, make a list of both essential and good-to-have criteria for your next campaign’s influencer. Think about a firm category (like the campaign budget, target audience, social media channels, content format, and strong engagement) and a flexible category (like experience working on other major campaigns, humor, and industry knowledge).

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that an impressive number of followers translates to more engagement. Brands are quickly realizing that working with nano- or micro-influencers who have highly engaged audiences is an effective option.

Focus your efforts on finding an influencer whose relevance (niche), reach (audience), and resonance (engagement) match your criteria, and you’ll increase your chances of launching a successful on-budget campaign.

Finding your brand’s match

Ready to get to work finding your brand’s next social media influencer? Consider these strategies to make the most of your time.

1. Let a brand loyalist be your star

If you don’t already know who your online brand advocates are, now is the time to identify them. Armed with a list of your biggest fans, you can quickly skim their social media pages to determine if any are content creators whose followers fit your target audience. 

A few minutes perusing their posts, engagement, and bio should help you decide if there’s an opportunity to turn a promoter into your brand’s next influencer marketing partner.

2. Keep tabs on the cream of the crop

As a marketer, you stay up to date on the latest trends, news, and campaigns in your niche — including your competition. The insights you get from reading industry magazines or websites, listening to relevant podcasts, and following news from convention and conference organizers may help you uncover new content creators. 

Be sure to follow leading brands, organizations, and people in the industry and see which individuals are engaging with this content online. Influencers who actively participate in your industry will likely have a lot to offer in terms of interest, knowledge, and experience.

3. Follow the hashtag and keyword breadcrumbs

A quick search for keywords and hashtags on your target audience’s preferred platform will likely lead you to a bevy of potential influencers for your next campaign. Start with the most specific terms (like #vintagehats) to save time, recognizing that you can continually expand your search to broader terminology (like #vintagefashion) if the results are too limited.

Consider using advanced keyword monitoring tools, which allow you to narrow down your search with additional criteria. Add filters for location, language, specific platforms, and negative keywords to exclude irrelevant or unwanted results.

4. Supplement your recruiting efforts

Rather than spending countless hours wading through social media profiles in hopes of finding a content creator for your next campaign, bring them to you. 

A simple landing page on your brand’s website with the specific influencer criteria you’re seeking for a long-term partnership can quickly garner responses. Promote the recruiting form on your brand’s social media channels, in emails to customers, and through in-person and online events where your niche’s influencers gather. 

5. Expedite the process with influencer marketing software

Unless you’re a new startup, your budget should afford you the tools you need to scale your efforts from your very first campaign. Although free influencer databases can give you access to many content creators, you’ll still need to do a lot of the legwork yourself to research each influencer’s potential.

On the other hand, good influencer marketing software will provide next-generation tools to filter your results through vital criteria, such as experience, engagement, audience demographics, location, niche, social media platforms, and more. 

Some influencer marketing platforms, such as IZEA Flex, also offer value-added services that elevate your team’s marketing efforts to resemble those of brands with more robust budgets. With campaign metrics, multi-platform social monitoring, tracking links, and integrations with web analytics services and e-commerce platforms like Google Analytics and Shopify, you’ll have everything you need to create, manage, and measure your campaigns at your fingertips. 

Use these tips to narrow down your criteria for an influencer marketing partner. Once you find a content creator who truly helps your brand shine, consider developing a mutually beneficial and long-term relationship. After all, the best influencers aren’t necessarily the ones with the most followers but rather those who are effective in engaging your shared target audience.


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