In our current age of social media, a new career path has quickly emerged and gained traction among the tech savvy and creative-minded — the digital influencer. An “influencer” is a figure on social media who has gained a large following. As a business, you can use them to “influence” their following and entice their fans to buy your service or product.

Each influencer tends to also have a specific niche, which is why this marketing tactic is much more targeted and personal than others. Only 33% of consumers trust advertisements, while nearly 90% trust peer recommendations. Although these followers don’t know the influencer, they feel like they do through social media.  

So how do you find an influencer and verify that their following is real? Effectively using these sites can help you find and verify the legitimacy of various influencers.

  1. Buzzsumo: This website enables you to find and verify targeted influencers, sort bloggers from regular users, and find review pages. They even have a page specifically about influencer marketing with tools to utilize for your business. 
  2. LinkedIn: It may not be the first place you would think to look, but it’s especially effective if you’re looking for local bloggers and influencers with a strong network.   
  3. Twitter: It’s one of the most important social networks that influencers use. The Advanced Search feature allows you to find users tweeting about keywords related to your niche.  
  4. Instagram: It’s perhaps the biggest social network for influencers, and especially effective because of its emphasis on imagery. You can find influencers with the same search methods as Twitter. Look for people who fit within your niche and have done campaigns for similar products before. 
  5. Google: Search keywords much like you would on Twitter or Instagram to find local bloggers and influencers who have a following that would be interested in your product/service.  

When you’ve found an influencer, how do you know if they will work well for your business campaign? Ask yourself these questions… 

  1. Do they post regularly? With all social media, consistency is key. 
  2. Do their fans interact on their posts? You want to find someone that has engagement on previous posts. 
  3. Are they in your niche? For example, if you’re a winery, you would look for a food or maybe even a travel blogger.  

Now that you’ve found an influencer, how can you use them? What types of marketing can they do for your business?  

Although influencers are given the job title through their social media networks, many influencers also have a blog, YouTube channel, or maybe even a podcast that they create content on as well. Do a little research and see what platforms they use. Each influencer is different, so it’s important that you communicate and find a marketing plan that works for both sides. 

Typically, influencers will offer some of the following options for a business… 

  1. A set number of sponsored tweets 
  2. A set number of sponsored Instagram posts  
  3. Blog post/review 
  4. Sponsored video review  

As social media continues to expand and grow, influencer marketing will as well. It’s an emerging, successful marketing strategy that can benefit any business looking for targeted, trusted engagement for their business.