How to find Influencers in your industry. Rapid audience growth

Domenic Smith
Domenic Smith
DTC brands independent consultant

From laundromats to multinational conglomerates, most of today’s businesses are on the Worldwide Web. While beneficial for consumers, the shift to digital commerce means competition with other businesses is a major part of running a business. But because business is inherently competitive, you have to be continually innovating and coming up with ways to get (or maintain) your audience’s attention.

With influencer marketing, a business owner can leverage something — or, in this case, someone — the audience already likes and trusts. It’s beneficial for the influencer, too, because he or she is able to commoditize the credibility that he or she has built with his or her audience.

Influencer marketing can be tricky to pull off. Although the return on your influencer marketing spend can be considerable, finding creators who complement your business, and then vetting those creators to ensure they can deliver real results, is difficult without the right tools. 

To help you launch a highly successful influencer marketing campaign, we’re going to break down one of the biggest questions that professionals, business owners, and marketing executives often ask when it comes to influencer marketing, which is how to find industry influencers. We’ll also show you the ways that Insense can be a real asset when it comes to finding the right influencers in your industry.

What an Influencer Is (and Isn’t)

Before beginning your search for influencers, you should have a good understanding of what an influencer is. More importantly, you should know what an influencer isn’t.

The simplest way to describe an influencer is as someone who influences. In other words, influencers are people whose opinions and experience are valued by their audiences. This value comes from the trust and credibility that influencers have with their audiences as the result of creating and sharing value-driven content for an extended period of time.

Influencers are a diverse community consisting of individuals from all walks of life. However, it’s quite common for influencers to be public figures or have web-based careers. For instance, many influencers are:

  • Industry experts
  • Thought leaders
  • Bloggers
  • Brand or company representatives
  • Lifestyle brands
  • Social media personalities

Since people from many industries and backgrounds can become influencers, the criteria for an influencer are pretty nonspecific. In fact, you don’t even need a very large audience to be considered an influencer.

Speaking of audience size, most influencers fall into one of two categories. The first is celebrity influencers, also called macro-influencers. These are individuals like Kylie Jenner, Cameron Dallas, and other high-profile names with millions (or tens of millions) of followers. Although any brand would love to have a celebrity influencer on its side, celebrity influencers aren’t necessarily the most effective type of influencer.

The second group is micro-influencers. These are creators who have smaller and more intimate audiences, often less than 100,000 followers or even as little as 1,000 followers. On paper, a small audience might seem like a weakness, but the benefit of a small audience is higher rates of engagement. After all, how many of her 34.2 million Twitter followers have had actual direct interactions with Kylie Jenner? (The answer is only 0.17 percent, by the way.)

The bottom line: Unless raising brand awareness is the primary objective, you’ll often get a bigger return on your influencer marketing spend if you partner primarily with micro-influencers.

image with the word influencer

What Are the Benefits of Influencer Marketing?

If you haven’t tried influencer marketing before, then it may seem niche for an advertising strategy. However, there are actually some notable benefits to using influencer marketing to grow your brand or business.

One major benefit of influencer marketing is that it often saves you money. Yes, it’s true — influencer marketing is often cheaper than traditional advertising. That’s because with influencer marketing, you’re not forced to pay the exorbitant costs associated with producing original commercial content. Particularly with video production, the expense of creating content for marketing campaigns can be immense. But by partnering with a content creator, you often end up with unique, outside-the-box content at a fraction of the cost.

The uniqueness of the content you get from influencers and creators is another obvious benefit. After years and years of producing videos and other media for use in ads, many brands and businesses begin to see a sameness to the content they create. This is the result of having inadvertently gotten into a routine or developed a template for new content, resulting in cookie-cutter content that very rarely brings anything new or exciting to the table. However, your influencer partners come to the table with fresh eyes and their own ideas. By marrying your product or message with a creator’s skills, you have the potential to deploy a marketing campaign that will really make your audience sit up and take notice.

Whether you’re working with celebrity influencers or micro-influencers, the thing to remember is that these creators wield a lot of power. These are individuals who have built loyal audiences that consist of consumers who put a lot of trust into their favorite influencers. Therefore, having influencers promoting your product, service, brand, or message can be incredibly powerful. It’s as powerful as word-of-mouth marketing but on a much more massive scale.

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Ready to Step Up Your Marketing Game? Here’s How to Find Industry Influencers in 6 Steps

If micro-influencers are the “secret sauce” of influencer marketing, then the obvious question is how to find the right influencers for your industry and business.

1. Know Your Goals

First and foremost, the search for industry influencers must begin with a very important question: What are you hoping to accomplish with influencer marketing?

As you begin to implement influencer marketing for your business, try to remember that each campaign should be tailored to your specific goals and objectives. In other words, what you aim to achieve will guide many of the decisions you make as you find industry influencers and begin collaborating on a campaign. So if your ultimate goal is to increase sales, then you’ll build an influencer marketing campaign that’s quite different than if your objective was to build brand awareness. Ultimately, your goals will inform things like the type of influencer(s) with whom you partner to the kinds of content that your influencer(s) will create.

2. Determine Who You’re Trying To Influence

In most cases, the audience you want to influence is the same as the target audience for your product, service, or brand. But this an important question to consider when you’re searching for industry influencers because the demographics of your target audience can influence how (and where) to find influencers. 

Take the time to get a deep understanding of your audience. You can learn quite a lot just by viewing your own social media metrics or by using an analytics tool. Once you have a better understanding of who you’re trying to influence, you can tailor your influencer search accordingly.

Why Research Your Audience Before Finding Industry Influencers?

  • To focus your search on the platform(s) that your target audience uses;
  • To find influencers who create the type of content that your audience prefers;
  • To deter multiple influencers if your target audience is extremely broad or diverse.

3. Identify Your “Ideal Influencers”

Typically, consumers gravitate toward influencers who are viewed as peers, whether because they are considered to be similar physically, socially, or by some other demographic. So once you have a strong understanding of your audience, there’s a good chance that those same qualities can be used to inform your search for influencers.

The problem is that there’s not usually an easy way to search for influencers by specific traits unless there’s a designated hashtag or a representative search term. But what do you do when there’s no obvious way to find your ideal influencers?

This is where a tool like Insense really comes in handy. When it comes to searching for your ideal influencers, Insense gives you unparalleled search and filtering capabilities. Using descriptors as hashtags, you can search the entire database of micro-influencers on the Insense platform — more than 15,000 influencers (and counting). Whether you’re looking for #millennials, #moms, #shopping, or some other trait, you’ll always be able to find the exact types of influencers you need on Insense.

4. Reach Out to Influencers Who Promote Your Competitors

If you have competitors who already use influencer marketing to promote their products, then consider taking advantage of the legwork they’ve already done. After all, there’s a good chance that your target audience is the same or similar as your competitor’s target audience, meaning that any influencers who are collaborating with your competitors likely have audiences who would be interested in your brand or product as well.

5. Find And Connect With Industry Experts

Being successful in business often requires the right connections. This is particularly true of influencer marketing because you’re partnering with individuals who are knowledgeable in your industry and who are using that knowledge to help sell your product, service, or brand. 

For this reason, making connections with the leaders in your industry is the next major step to take when searching for industry influencers and creators. Fortunately, Insense eliminates the guesswork — and the legwork — from connecting with influencers. 

With a database of talented creators from diverse industries, Insense has robust influencer search and filtering functionality to make it easy to find your ideal industry influencers. Simply run your search query as a hashtag and the Insense Pro platform will populate a list of relevant creators and influencers. For example, you can search for #beauty influencers, #youngmom influencers, #tech influencers, #vegan influencers, or whichever type(s) of influencers best correspond to your brand. 

6. Form Mutually-Beneficial Relationships

You should never approach influencer marketing as if it’s a transaction and you’re simply buying content from a creator. Because the influencers you partner with aren’t employees, nor is the content they create or share merely a product. Rather, the best influencer marketing is the product of a mutually-beneficial partnership.

The key to creating strong influencer partnerships is to build actual relationships with your influencer collaborators. After all, an influencer is more likely to promote a product, service, or brand with which he or she has an emotional connection.

Just like in any relationship, when an influencer doesn’t feel that his or her efforts are being reciprocated, you’ll have a very hard time maintaining that partnership or calling on that influencer for future collaborations. So how do you ensure that you’re building relationships with your influencers that are mutually beneficial? It’s actually much easier than you might think.

Consider what you can do for your influencers to bring more value to those relationships. Even a little public recognition or praise can go a long way. Additionally, you could ask if there’s anything your influencer needs to make creating your content easier. During each exchange, always be as authentic and respectful as possible.

Strong relationships with influencers are formed more easily when there’s a direct line of communication between partner and influencer. With Insense you have continuous access to your influencer (and vice versa) through the platform’s built-in messaging system. Instead of playing phone tag or having important emails get buried in your clogged inbox, you can use Insense to connect and build a strong relationship with your influencers and creators.

Tips For Building Strong Relationships With Your Influencers

  • Talk about things other than your marketing partnership;
  • Follow them on social media and leave comments on their posts/content;
  • Congratulate their achievements and successes;
  • Engage with them publicly on social media;
  • Offer opportunities for more intensive collaboration;
  • Ask for their thoughts and opinions.
woman wearing a hat in the desert

Find the Perfect Influencers and Creators for Your Business with Insense

With so many businesses on the vast web, influencer marketing will be an increasingly valuable strategy to help distinguish one business from another. Insense gives business owners the ability to partner with talented creators and industry influencers who ensure that a product, service, or brand reaches the right audience. Further, Insense gives you the ability to promote branded content created by influencers as paid ads due to integrations with the Facebook and Instagram advertising platforms.

Take a moment to learn more about Insense and the thousands of talented creators who are waiting to collaborate with you today.

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Domenic Smith

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