How Brands Can Identify Top Influencers (Updated September 2018)

GRIN also recommends: Quick Guide to Earned Media Value 


Social media influencers have become an essential part of your marketing strategy. But you want to ensure you’re working with top influencers who fit your brand’s values and niche.

Identifying the right influencers is crucial if you want to run effective influencer campaigns. The influencers you select can either make them or break them.

However, identifying the right influencers is anything but easy. Even when you find one, it can be challenging to approach them and get them onboard.

Trust me, it is a way better tactic to get your emails opened and responded to than cold outreach emails.

But, first things first. So let’s take a look at how you can find top influencers for your brand.

Know Your Audience

When you’re looking for top influencers to be spokespeople for your brand and products, you first need to determine who your audience is.

Who are the people following you on your social media channels? Who are your ideal customers? This is a great time to also look at your buyer personas because you’ll get many of your answers from there.

It’s imperative that you identify your audience. Only when you know who you’re trying to target will you be able to find ambassadors who have influence over them.

For instance, let’s say you have a beauty brand. Not every blogger or social influencer in the beauty niche is a top influencer. And they might have an audience different from yours.

Suppose that you sell cosmetics that are more relevant to millennials than moms. Then you need to partner with beauty influencers who target millennials as their audiences.

Find Top Influencers within Your Audience

You’ve already looked at the people who follow your social media accounts to learn about your audience. Now, look for people within your following who have dedicated followers of their own.

If there are any influencers in your customer base, they can be your best marketers. You should see if any of your customers can match the criteria of an influencer.

  • Do they have an active and engaged following?
  • Do they post regularly on social media?
  • Is the content they create relevant to your brand and niche?
  • Do their posts receive a large number of authentic, high-value comments?

If you can find influencers who have a wide reach within your audience, it can be great as they already love your brand and products.

Many customers take to social media to talk about brands and products, even when they don’t follow the brand. You can search for them by using your #brandname.

asos Instagram top influencers

Image via Instagram

It’s important to do this kind of research because the relationship between the two of you has to be real and genuine. If there’s anything fake about it, followers will lose respect for both of you, and then no one wins.

Once you’ve created a short list, don’t cold contact them immediately. Instead, engage with them – like their posts, leave relevant comments, etc. You should build a personal relationship before you reach out to them as a brand.

Expand Your Search

After identifying top influencers from your own social following, the next step is to expand your search.

You should search for top influencers in your niche by using relevant keywords. For this, you can do your research on Google as well as on various social media channels.

The easiest way to search for people who talk about your niche, products, or industry is to use niche-specific hashtags

For instance, if your brand sells backpacks, you should search for hashtags related to travel, such as #travellove, #traveladdict, or #travelguide.

Instagram travel addict top influencers

Image via Instagram

You may also search for hashtags such as #sponsored, #ad, or #influencer and check out the results.

Explore the results you get based on their popularity. When you come across a post that looks good and relevant, you can visit the creator’s profile.

Instagram Oksana Domoratskaya Top Influencers

Image via Instagram

Check whether or not they have a decent number of followers and scroll through their feed to see if you like their content. You should also look at their engagement rates.

This can help you find influencers who share the same kind of values and talk about similar products like yours. But this can be a very tedious way to find influencers.

The good news is – you can easily find your ideal influencers using influencer marketing tools with minimum efforts. Platforms such as BuzzSumo and Grin can be really helpful to find and connect with relevant influencers.

These platforms allow you to sort top influencers by their followers, location, and social media channels.

Another way to find top influencers for your brand is to use Google Alerts. You can set alerts for keywords relevant to your brand. This will help you find people who talk about your products, brand, or industry.

It’s Worth the Effort

Finding top influencers can be daunting. But the right influencers can help you boost the ROI of your campaigns significantly.

So you should focus on finding the great ones and building long-term relationships with them.

If you struggle to find or connect with influencers, you can always use Grin’s outreach tools for help.

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