Over the past few years influencer marketing has transformed from a pure awareness or top-of-funnel play, to something that can drive actual sales. According to Traackr's recent Influencer Marketing Impact report, 70% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a brand if they work with an influencer they know and trust.
Many marketers are proving out this statistic by including influencers in their affiliate programs. It's a low risk, high reward way of evaluating whether an influencer's audience is ready to buy.
If you're looking to try out this strategy, it all starts with whether you can find influencers who make great partners. Whether you're looking for micro influencers within your niche industry, VIP influencers for a large scale campaign, or have no idea where to start, this article will serve as a guide to lead you in the right direction.
The right influencer should connect with and understand your brand and your audience. When in the beginning stages of finding influencers, there are a few components to have in mind to ensure prospects have the most potential to reach your target audience.
Though an influencer’s audience size can often be a big factor in whether you choose them as a partner, it’s important to think through this carefully. Micro-influencers, who have 10K+ followers, may seem tiny compared to others but they may operate in niche markets. Some will even have higher engagement and conversion rates compared to mega influencers with millions of followers, due to their perceived authenticity.
Working with micro-influencers is also a way to manage risk and stretch your budget. Read more about how to optimize influencer investments based on audience size vs engagement rate.
Finding influencers that meet the specific criteria for your brand can be a daunting and time consuming task. The automation of influencer marketing platforms make this an effortless process, providing:
Most brands that have influencer marketing programs run some kind of influencer gifting or seeding campaign. This helps feed organic mentions, but it can also help feed your affiliate program.
Influencers that post positively about your products from gifting campaigns might make great partners for your affiliate program. Not only have these influencers already shown some brand affinity, their audience is now familiar with your products and may even fall into your target demographic. Remember, 70% of consumers are more likely to buy a product from a brand if they work with an influencer they know and trust!
Before inviting influencers to your team you’ll need to follow them in order to know them more. Make regular engagements when viewing their posts. They’ll take notice which will make talks easier later. See more about cultivating an organic influencer program or building up your affiliate program.
Incentivizing referrals from your existing affiliates is also another way to find influencers. Offer a bonus if they refer someone to your program and you accept them. Influencers often befriend those within their circles, meaning they know other influencers who may be interested in assisting in pushing your brand.
Tip: See how IMAGE Skincare used its partner network to find influencers and build its community.
Working with an influencer who has a mix of organic and paid content can be beneficial to your affiliate program. On one hand, you don’t want to work with an influencer who has too much paid content because your brand may be lost in all the noise. On the other hand, working with influencers who have had some past experience with paid content can be beneficial because then you can see if their audiences have responded well.
Running influencer searches using content keywords such as “link in bio” or “use my code” can help you see how frequently influencers post sponsored content, who they’ve worked with, and engagement metrics so brands can gauge audience sentiment. See how multi-specialty telehealth platform hims & hers used this content keyword search strategy to find influencers for its program.
Note if the influencer’s content is creative and interesting. In the beauty industry, content like how-to guides, product reviews, and commentary have proven to be a meaningful and great way for creators to provide value to their audience while also featuring products. A content search can also be conducted via an influencer marketing platform.
An influencer’s content is key in determining whether they align with your brand’s values. Once you determine an influencer can reach your desired audience, you should conduct a brand safety check by:
Working with influencers can be a process that you’ll need to put a lot of effort in for your affiliate marketing campaign. Thankfully, influencer marketing tools like Traackr with an influencer database can take on the lift that comes with finding the best influencers for your affiliate program.
After finding and vetting your influencers, check out this article on how to convince influencers to work with your brand.