How to Find Key Influencers in Your Niche Using Social Media

Influencer marketing has emerged as a powerful channel for driving high ROI.

Businesses that understand the know-how of effective influencer collaborations are getting impressive returns. Some of them gained an earned media value of up to $18 for every dollar they spend on influencer marketing

Though finding the right influencers remains a major challenge for 61% of marketers, a majority of them look for influencers on social media.

Ways to find influencers in your niche on social media:

Before we discuss the best ways to find influencers using social media, let’s learn how to determine if an influencer is right for your campaign.

What Makes an Influencer a Good Fit for Your Campaign?

When choosing influencers for your brand, you should evaluate them on both quantitative and qualitative parameters.

While reach and engagement rate certainly matter, you also need to look at the quality of their content and their relevance to your brand.

Does the influencer’s audience align with your target audience? Do they have similar interests to those of your target audience?

Seeking answers to these questions will help ensure that you spend your influencer marketing budget on engaging the right audience.

Audience interest

Image via HypeAuditor

Along with checking their audience demographics, you should also check if they resonate with your brand’s overall aesthetics. Does the influencer’s messaging and style align with your values?

For instance, luxury hotel chain, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, chose to collaborate with a luxury travel influencer to promote their property.

Influencer Fairmont Hotel

Image via Instagram

The below image represents the top parameters that marketers consider to determine which influencers to work with.

Parameters to know which influencers to work with

Image via Mediakix

You should also check out the influencer’s previous brand collaborations. This can help you understand the type of content they usually post - photos, videos, or blog posts.

It is also crucial for you to spot fake followers and inauthentic engagement. You can use tools such as Buzzweb to analyze the audience quality and authenticity of your potential influencers.

Communities like Influence.co can also help you analyze an influencer’s complete professional profile and previous brand collaborations. You can use those insights to understand how influential they actually are.

Here’s another great resource by Influence.co that can also help you determine the cost of working with key influencers.

How to Find Niche Influencers on Social Media

When choosing to work with an influencer, you can keep all of the parameters we’ve discussed in mind. But, how can you find key influencers in your niche who meet these criteria?

71% of marketers use social searches to find key influencers. That’s because social media is a warehouse of information and contacts.

Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to spot the best and most influential content creators on social media.

Relevant Hashtag Searches

One of the best ways to find niche influencers on social media is to search social platforms using relevant hashtags.

Hashtags allow you to tap into conversations in your niche and identify influential people who are talking about products or services similar to yours.

But one important thing to note here is that hashtag searches are most effective on Instagram and Twitter. Instagram even has a dedicated hashtag feed.

How should you perform hashtag searches on social media?

First of all, you should identify relevant hashtags for your industry. For instance, if you belong to the hospitality industry, you should search for hashtags such as #travel, #travellover, #leisuretrip, #holiday, #vacationing, and #travelblogger.

Identify relevant hashtags

You will find a list of posts that have used that hashtag. You need to go through the posts manually to find influencers whose content you like.

Searching through hashtags relevant to your industry can help you find appropriate influencers to promote your brand and products.

I would recommend that you use more specific hashtags rather than general ones.

For instance, you are a luxury hotel chain like Fairmont Hotels &Resorts, you should use “#luxurytravel” instead of “#travel.”

Similarly, to promote your business in a specific region, you can search for influencers using city-specific hashtags.

For instance, if you want to promote a restaurant chain in New York City, you can use hashtags such as #nycfoodies, #nycfoodgram, #nycrestaurants, #streetsofnyc, and #nycblogger.

Searching for #nycfoodies, led me to this post by @brooklynbitess, which is an influential account managed by Sabrina Argiro and Giuseppe Falanga.

Identify relevant hashtags

These NYC-based influencers have 103K followers on @brooklynbites and they frequently promote food and travel brands.

Ad-Specific Hashtag Searches

Another common way to look for influencers in your niche is to search for ad-specific hashtags.

According to FTC’s Endorsement Guidelines, it is necessary for influencers to disclose brand collaborations. For this, they usually use hashtags such as #ad, #sponsored, #promotion, or #paidpartnership in their post captions.

You can use the same hashtags to look for influencers who promote brands, products, or services that are similar to yours.

One of my searches for #sponsored led me to this post by Annie Tran. In this post, she endorsed the wedding dress by Blush Bridal Couture.

Sponsored hashtags

Image via Instagram

She has 80.3K followers on Instagram and she frequently endorses clothing lines and beauty products.

If you are a fashion or beauty brand or if you have something to do with the wedding business, Annie may prove to be your go-to influencer.

However, you need to carefully go through the posts and then through the influencer’s profile whose content you like.

Social Media Monitoring Or Listening

Another effective way to find appropriate influencers for your campaigns is to look for the ones who are already talking about you.

You should look for influencers in your own follower list too. You’ll probably find a few micro-influencers waiting to be discovered among your social media followers.

These influencers can be great to work with as they are already interested in your brand. They are likely to endorse them more effectively.

To identify these influencers, you should go through your followers and see if you can find people with large followings of their own. If you find someone with a decent and engaged following, there might be a good choice for a collaboration.

For instance, Airbnb has many travel influencers following their social profiles. The brand can partner with these influencers to promote their properties.

One such influencer duo, Harry and Nikita, run an account by the name of @thevagabondstories. These couple travel bloggers are a good choice for the brand to work with.

Sponsored hashtags

Image via Instagram

You should also track your brand’s social media mentions to identify people who are talking about your brand but probably aren’t following you.

For this, you can use social media listening and monitoring tools such as Google Alerts, Statusbrew, Mention, or Hootsuite.

It is always a good thing to identify influencers who already like or use your products/services. You should engage with them through comments and direct messages as such influential content creators can create genuine content to promote your brand.

Bonus: Influencer Marketing Tools and Databases

There are many influencer marketing tools and databases that can help you find influencers in your niche quickly and easily.

A majority of these tools allow you to filter influencer searches by their reach, category, engagement rates, social platforms, and more.

Some useful influencer marketing tools and databases you can use include:

  • AspireIQ
  • BuzzSumo
  • BuzzStream
  • Grin.co
  • GroupHigh
  • HYPR
  • Influence.co
  • Insightpool

Using these tools can help you boost the effectiveness of your influencer marketing strategy by saving time and effort.

Conclusion

Working with key influencers in your niche can help you reach and engage your target audience more effectively. However, you should take ample time to find the best niche influencers to partner with.

The ways we’ve discussed above can help you find top social media influencers and evaluate their authenticity, relevance, and quality of content. You can then partner with influencers who best fit your campaign to achieve your goals.

Have you ever worked with niche influencers? Do you use any other ways to find the right influencers for your brand? Please share them with the community here.

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Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant, named the #1 social media consultant in the nation by PROskore Power Rankings. He consulted with Fortune 500 companies and government agencies.

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