How to find and utilize social media influencers for your business

Editorial Team

8 min read
People standing against wall on smartphones

Social media influencers didn’t exist 20 years ago. Now, they play an integral role in marketing businesses. Over 69% of customers trust recommendations from influencers. Working with influencers could help your business thrive, too.

Social media has become embedded into our daily lives–especially for Gen Zs. According to reports, over 97% of Gen Zs and groups younger use social media as a primary source for their shopping ideas, and 85% of Gen Z say that social media influences their shopping patterns. Knowing how to properly market to Gen Z can help you grow your businesses. Social media influencers play a large role in online marketing. What’s more, brands regularly work with influencers to market their products. So can you. Read on to learn more about influencers, how to find influencers, and how to get influencers to promote your brand. 

What is an influencer?

A social media influencer is someone who builds an online following using social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube before showcasing new products or trends on behalf of businesses.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Taylor Swift, and Ariana Grande are all examples of influencers with tens of millions of followers   However, they are celebrity influencers. There are other types of social media influencers–regular people like you and me–who build a social following from the ground up. Working with influencers can offer many benefits to your small business.  Here are a few: 

  • They can expand your following: A product plug or shout out from an influencer can help you reach a much larger audience. This benefit is especially pronounced if you find the right social media influencer for your ideal target market.
  • They can help you build trust with your customers: It’s one thing to toot your own horn. When someone else is singing your praises, the impact is much greater. Here again, choosing the right influencer for the job can go a long way in building credibility.
  • They can help you generate more sales: This point follows from the previous two. Using a trusted messenger to expand your reach will help you build relationships with and convert more customers.

The trick in influencer marketing lies in finding the right brand ambassador for your business needs. 

How to find social media influencers

Working with a social media influencer can help create brand awareness and generate revenue, but how do you find the right candidate? Follow the formula below.

1. Define your target audience

The most important step involves determining whom you want to influence. Identifying and understanding your target market is essential for any successful social media campaign. If you don’t know the needs, wants, values, demographics, and locations of your ideal customers yet, our guide on how to write marketing plans has a section on creating customer personas.

READ: How to write a marketing plan that converts users

2. Search for influencers

The next step is to see if influencers are already talking about your brand. This can help you identify people who already have an interest in your brand. Working with these influencers will help you create authenticity since they already support your brand, and this is crucial in product marketing. Gen Zs can tell when their favorite influencer is marketing a product that isn’t on brand with the infleuncer’s personality, and that turns them off from the product. It’s important to work with influencers who you think would relate to your brand. 

Below is a mix of free and paid tools that allow you to quickly search major social media platforms for conversations about your company:

  • Awario
  • Buzzstream
  • Buzzsumo
  • Followerwonk
  • Heepsy
  • Klear
  • NinjaOutreach
  • Tweetdeck
  • Upfluence

If your brand hasn’t been mentioned yet, expand your search to include your niche or industry. 

When finding influencers, begin your search using keywords on popular social media platforms like Instagram and Tiktok. Here are some tips on how to find influencers based on your brand type:

  • Floral businesses: Find influencers by searching key terms like floral arrangements. Look into influencers who focus on lifestyle/home decor as your product would be relevant to their interests. 
  • Nail salons: Find influencers that post content of them doing their nails. Focus on beauty and lifestyle influencers. If you offer affordable services, you can focus on influencers that post about places that are affordable. You will know if they are the right influencer to collaborate with if you see them going to your nail salon for a service and being able to make relatable content. 
  • Fitness studios: Find influencers that focus on fitness influencers or those who are on a fitness/health journey. You could offer those who are recording the beginning of their health journey certain services that could help them achieve their goals. 
  • Health products: Find influencers that focus on health and fitness. You can even target influencers that are more mature or have a more mature audience who are looking to improve their health. You can identify these influencers/audiences by reading comments, reading reviews of the influencers on social media accounts like Tik Tok or Reddit. 

3. Prioritize working with micro-influencers 

As a business,  you don’t always need  to work with influencers with a huge following. While influences with large followings might get you more exposure at a faster rate, their services are often costly. Plus, working with a large influencer doesn’t mean your brand engagement will necessarily increase. What determines the increase in brand engagement is the engagement between influencers and their following–some large influencers have really low levels of engagement. 

There’s also been a growing sentiment on social media that influencers with large followings are more difficult to trust as many now live an unrelatable lifestyle. Plus, viewers may find it hard to trust large influencers that sponsor a number of brands. 

More and more viewers have increasingly been prioritizing influencers with smaller followings. Micro-influencers typically have a small, yet highly engaged, following–that is, their viewers are more loyal and tend to trust what they say. Learning to engage micro-influencers can help you increase your chances to grow your brand. How to get influencers to promote your brand

4. Build a relationship with influencers 

Many brands today value influencers with followings of all sizes, so influencers get a lot of email and direct messages from brands asking to collaborate. 

So, when reaching out, be authentic and creative. Keep your initial message brief, to the point, and directed to the influencer. Once you’ve initiated contact, focus on building a relationship with that influencer. Most brands reach out either by commenting on an influencer’s posts or by sending a direct message on that social media channel–think commenting on Instagram or chatting via Facebook Messenger. But, you could start simply by commenting on the quality of their posts. That shows them you’re wanting to engage with them and their other content before you reach out to ask them to engage with your brand.

Influencers, like the rest of us, typically value authenticity. So, when you reach out, have a clear, direct message. Be sure you can easily demonstrate how your brand mission and core values align with the influencer’s goals, and invite the influencer to try your product/service first. That allows them to experience your brand as a consumer and form their own opinion of your product/service. They may even share it on social media without any kind of compensation or remuneration from you if they really like it. 

Once you’ve established a relationship, offer some thoughtful and creative ways to collaborate. Here are a few tickler ways to collaborate:

  • An online contest/giveaway for the influencer’s audience 
  • An in-person or real-time online event that the influencer and you both engage in
  • A campaign where the influencer engages in a cause they’re passionate about–that can allow followers to engage in your brand’s core values and can help create trust. 
  • A special discount for followers on your brand’s services/products. 

    READ: 5 questions to ask before launching a social media campaign

    5. Be prepared to pay

    Some social media influencers promote products they like simply because they like them and want to share them or in exchange for free products/services. Most, however, charge a fee for their services, with:

    • Nano influencers earning up to $100 per post for every 10,000 Instagram followers
    • Micro influencers charging $100 to $500 per post for up to 100,000 followers
    • Mega influencers making $10,000+ for advertising to their millions of followers

     There are price adjustments if you’re buying shout outs versus giveaways versus product reviews – or even a brand ambassadorship. Videos, simple photos, or live streams all carry different prices.

    View: Using influencer marketing to promote your business on social media

    Whether you’re at the beginning of your marketing journey or knee deep into your social influencer marketing, Clover is always there for you. Our products allow for on the go payments, and we offer a wide array of services that allow you to launch and grow your business successfully. 

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