A Comprehensive Guide to Influencer Targeting

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

There could be many different reasons your influencer marketing campaigns are ineffective. The lack of clear goals, or the failure to track and measure your campaign progress, for instance.

However, the biggest factor that affects the success of your campaigns is your choice of influencers. If you select the right influencers for your campaigns, the rewards can be sweet. But if you make a bad selection, you might end up with a failed campaign.

Influencer targeting is the key to running successful influencer campaigns. The right influencers can put your brand in front of their followers, who are essentially your target audience. This ensures that your marketing messages are seen by the right eyes, resulting in effective campaigns and great returns.

However, finding the right influencers still remains a huge challenge for many marketers. In a survey by Econsultancy, 73% of marketers said that identifying the right influencers is their biggest influencer marketing challenge.

And so, we’ve created a complete guide to influencer targeting. In this post, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about targeting the right influencers and how to do it effectively.

Who Is an Influencer?

Before we discuss influencer targeting, it is important to define who an influencer is. This will give you a clearer idea of exactly whom you should be targeting. Influencers are people on social media and blogs who have a large and loyal fan-following.

They can influence their audiences about certain things and that is why they are called influencers. It is due to this very reason that partnering with influencers can be beneficial to brands.

Influencers can work as niche promoters and brand advocates. They can not only spread awareness about your brand but can also make their audiences take certain actions.

There are truckloads of people out there with hundreds of thousands of followers. However, you need to find influencers who will be the right fit for your brand and campaign. It is only then that their posts will have an impact on their audiences. And that is exactly why you need to do influencer targeting well.

Why Do You Need Influencers?

People tend to trust a human more than a brand. A study by Twitter showed that 40% of people made a purchase because they saw a tweet by an influencer. Purchase intent increased by 2.7x with a brand’s tweets. But when coupled with the tweets of an influencer, the purchase intent multiplied by 5.2x.

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Image via Twitter

Additionally, influencers work as a third party and their content will be more trustworthy than that of the seller. Apart from the trust factor, when you collaborate with an influencer, there are many more advantages that come along with them.

They bring with them their own loyal and massive audience. They can drive traffic to your website, spread word about your brand, or even generate sales. While traditional forms of advertising are losing their effectiveness, influencer marketing is generating great results. This is especially true when you do influencer targeting well.

It is also a more direct form of advertisement. Through influencer marketing, you can give your audience a direct call-to-action too. This is possible only in a few modes of advertising.

Figure Out Your Target Audience

Before you can approach or even find influencers, it is important to have an idea about your target audience. You may already have some data about your target audience. However, when you’re looking for influencers, you need to step up your game.

You need to check for bloggers, topics, and social media users your audience might be following. It is only once you’ve determined where your audience’s interests lie that you can reach out to them.

For example, a brand selling clothes might find their audience following fashion bloggers or influencers. When you collaborate with these people, you might be able to get your brand’s name in front of the right audience.

The audience might even find it relevant when an influencer they follow recommends it. On the contrary, if the brand had approached influencers who write about technology, their audience might not receive it well.

Create an Influencer Profile

Just like you need to create a customer persona, you’ll need to create a profile of your ideal influencer too. You can develop this profile based on a number of factors.

Here are some factors you should consider:

Type of Personality

Different influencers have different personality types. Based on the purpose of your campaign, you should decide if you require an informer, an activist, or an authority.

Niche

The niche of your influencer matters a lot. You need to find niches which are similar to the niche in which you’re operating. You needn’t stick to a single niche, you can select a couple that are relevant to your brand and find influencers in those niches.

Type of Reach Required

You need to decide the purpose of the collaboration. Do you need to spread the word about your brand? Maybe get influencers to drive traffic to your website? Or even drive some sales from their posts?

If you have a campaign that is more visually driven, you should target influencers on Instagram or Pinterest. You need to decide which platform you wish to promote your brand on.

Topics

You should figure out a few topics that you want your influencers to discuss on their social media profiles or blog. Based on this topic, you can then start scouting and reaching out to the influencers. Use this topic as common ground to explain why they should collaborate with you.

Qualities to Look for in an Influencer

There are loads of influencers out there. However, there are various parameters based on which you can define the right influencer for your brand.

Reach

The reach of an influencer is one of the most important aspects to be taken into account. It is only if an influencer has a good reach that their content will reach a massive audience. Influencer targeting involves looking at the reach of an influencer to find a contextual fit.

If the influencers have a huge reach, the word about your brand will reach more people.

Context

The right influencer for each brand differs. This is because you need to find an influencer who fits the context of your brand. This is the most important thing that has to be taken into account when looking for an influencer.

If you have a brand that deals with technology, you need to collaborate with an influencer from the same niche. There is no point in collaborating with an influencer who doesn’t fit the context of your brand. This is mainly because their audience will not be interested in the content related to your brand’s niche.

Actionability

This is the ability of the influencer to get their audience to take some action. When you have targeted influencers who fit your context well, their actionability tends to be better.

You don’t need to ask your influencers to force themselves on their audience or sell your products. They can simply talk about your brand and those who are interested in it will engage. This is why contextual fit is necessary.

How to Find Influencers

You may have developed the perfect influencer persona or may have even defined their ideal qualities. However, until you don’t know where to find influencers, you cannot do anything with the data. This is why influencer targeting also involves looking for influencers.

Here’s how you can find the perfect influencers for your brand:

Monitoring Social Media

You can find most influencers on social media nowadays. This is why you need to monitor social media regularly to find influencers. You should check out your social media mentions or blog posts about your brand.

This will give you an idea of who your brand advocates and influencers are. These influencers are already writing in your niche or genre. So social media monitoring amps up your influencer targeting, allowing you to discover influencers who are already starting conversations relevant to your brand.

If you come across influencers who write about your niche but who haven’t mentioned you, you can reach out to them.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are a great way to get alerted when a keyword is mentioned. You should set up alerts for certain keywords that are related to your brand. This can be used to identify people who write actively in your niche.

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Image via Google Alerts

You should also create Google Alerts for the name of your brand. When you do so, you’ll be able to easily find posts that mention your brand. This can help you find those influencers who are already talking about your brand.

Hashtag Research

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, all use hashtags nowadays. These can help you find content that is relevant to a certain hashtag. You should research hashtags that are relevant to your brand.

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Image via Hashtagify

You can use platforms like Hashtagify to research hashtags. It shows you the popularity of the hashtag, related hashtags, and even the trends around it.

Once you’ve found the relevant hashtags, you should start following them to discover relevant posts with those tags. You can then find out the active users who have been posting consistently using the hashtag.

From the list of users who post regularly, you can start identifying influencers by individually checking out their profiles. They should have a good fan-following and their posts should receive high engagement. Once you’ve found your influencers, you can reach out to them for collaboration.

Blogger Outreach

There may be many ways to find influencers on social media. However, finding influential bloggers may seem like a tougher task. Thankfully, many influencers on social media also have their own blogs. This can help you with influencer targeting.

The best part about most bloggers is that not only are they active on their blog, but they are active on social media too. This gives you a dual advantage. You’ll be able to reach their blog’s audience as well as their social media audience.

The best way to find bloggers is to search for blogs that are in your niche. This process may seem tedious, but the results are definitely rewarding. Once you’ve found the bloggers in your niche, you should go through their posts.

From their posts, you’ll be able to figure out whether they are writing on relevant topics or not. Based on this, you’ll get a list of bloggers who are writing in your niche about relevant topics.

You should then check out their social media statistics. This will give you an idea of the reach that you can get through their social media accounts. Apart from that, you should also take a look at their site statistics in terms of ranking and Domain Authority.

Once you’ve researched them, you’ll be left with a handful of bloggers with whom you can collaborate. You can then reach out to them to pitch them the collaboration.

Use Outreach Tools

The manual process of finding an influencer is tiresome. Additionally, you may not be able to find all the influencers you need for your campaign. There is also the chance that some influencers will turn out to be fake, with bots and fake accounts following them. Collaborating with them can harm your brand’s image.

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Image via GrinApps

Thankfully, there are some great tools out there which can make your job of influencer targeting simpler. Grin, for example, has a huge database of influencers. You can even filter the influencers with ease based on their locations, niches, and platforms.

Not only does the database have verified influencers, but it even has their verified contact information. This makes it very easy for you to reach out to them. Additionally, the platform allows you to make payments, send products, and even track your ROI.

This makes it a lot easier for you to manage multiple influencer marketing campaigns with ease.

Reaching Out to Influencers

You have found your influencers. Now the next step is to approach them for collaborations. For effective collaboration, you should ensure the following:

1. Compensate Your Influencers

If your influencers are writing good stuff about your brand, you need to compensate them. This compensation doesn’t necessarily have to be in terms of money, though. You need to make them feel loved, important, and rewarded. There are various ways in which you can compensate them.

a. Shoutouts

When you’re dealing with social media, your influencers care about growing their audience as well. If you share a post about your influencers on your profile, it’ll make them feel important. Even a simple post that says “Thanks for the shoutout” can go a long way to please your influencers.

It may even get them some followers or added reach. This can be a great way to barter shoutouts with them too.

b. Financial Compensation

While this may seem like a tricky option, it does work out well for brands. People may not find paid recommendations as sincere. However, if you and the influencer can be honest about the deal in your posts, it can help. You could ask them to include the “Sponsored” or “In Partnership With” tag on the posts.

c. Product Giveaways

This is a great way of compensating your influencers. You can simply give them your product or service for trial and have them review it. It can even give them an incentive to keep writing about it.

If you don’t want to give your products free to your influencers, you could offer them a discount.

d. Commission

Commission-based compensation is another popular option. Those influencers who are aiming to drive sales for brands can find this very helpful. You can offer influencers a cut from your sales to keep motivating them to bring in more clients.

2. Push for Content Creation

The ideal influencer is one who is passionate about your products or services. The influencer needn’t necessarily be a person who has a huge fan-following. Remember, your customers can be influencers too, within their own circles.

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Image via Instagram

You should motivate them as much as possible to create content around your brand. You should try to get as much consumer-generated content out there as possible. A few ways to do this are:

  • You could offer a discount or a chance to win your products to those customers who create content about your brand.
  • You can ask customers to upload photos or videos of themselves using your product. You could take this even further and tell them that you’ll share their content. This can work as a really good motivator for people.
  • You can even send out free trial products to your influencers before any collaboration. If they genuinely like your product, they may even write about you on their blog or social media profiles.
  • You should engage with your audience through forums or communities on social media. Try to communicate as much as possible with them. You could use the posts or comments of your customers as quotes or as an inspiration behind your posts. This can give them a tremendous confidence boost and they may end up writing good things about your brand.
  • You could roll out a survey or a case study, which you can send across to your happy customers. You could further incentivize this by giving them some freebies or a discount code. You could then publish this content (with their approval).
  • Another great way of getting more content out is by guest posting. You could ask the influencers to guest post on your website and vice-versa. This can work well for both parties in getting exposure in front of a combined audience.

Build Long-Term Relationships

You may have engaged with your influencers and may have collaborated with them. However, you need to keep in mind that you’re not just dealing with them for a single campaign. You should look for long-term collaborations and build strong relationships with them.

Some of the best ways of building relationships are:

1. Engage With Their Updates

You may be a brand, but that shouldn’t stop you from engaging with your influencer’s content. You should try to support their content as much as possible. You could ask them questions, comment on their posts, or even share them with your audience. Such things can go a long way to help you build strong relationships with influencers.

2. Love Their Content

You should genuinely like the content that your influencers are creating. Do not try to get in touch with them just for the sake of marketing if you hate their content. In fact, you can offer different insights on topics and create good conversations with them.

3. Become Their Peer

Your interest in communicating with your influencer should be genuine. You should try to become their peer. Contribute as much as they are contributing and share content that is relevant to their interests.

You should do this with each of your influencers and build a relationship with each one of them. You should even keep them informed about the latest developments with your brand. So whenever you post new content or introduce a new product, you should inform them.

You can then sit back and watch how they help spread the word about your brand and products.

Stay Up-to-Date

Like every other marketing field, the influencer marketing landscape keeps changing dynamically. As influencer marketing changes, so does influencer targeting. You need to keep yourself up-to-date with the latest happenings in the industry and evolve along with them.

You should try to follow up with these changes so that your influencer targeting strategy can remain efficient.

Conclusion

Effective influencer targeting is essential for a successful campaign. Influencer marketing is the next big thing in the digital marketing landscape. This simply shows you how important influencer targeting is and how much it can help your brand.

Do you have any questions about influencer targeting or the points mentioned above? If so, mention them in the comments below. We’ll try out our best to answer them for you.


Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem

Brian Mechem is CRO and Co-Founder of GRIN, the #1 software solution for direct-to-consumer brands who run influencer marketing programs. GRIN's software powers some of the best influencer programs in the world, providing insights on ROI and adding efficiency to the influencer marketing process.

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