The advice about finding the right influencers to promote your business often centers about finding the top 5 or 10 in the industry. While this can yield great results, getting top influencers to promote your business is pricey. If you’re working with a limited budget (hint: everyone always is), you will run out of money fast.
Luckily, there is another way to do influencer marketing. Instead of reaching out for the top 10 immediately, cast your net wide and engage with a lot of small influencers ones who have a loyal user base. This type of relationship is symbiotic. Connecting with smaller influencers and content creators helps their business early on. Furthermore, it creates a bond which can one day pay back in dividends. They might become more popular over time, and some of them might even reach the top 10. Or as Wayne Gretzky would say, “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been“.
Here’s how to find the right small influencers for you and how to be sure you’re backing the ones with the most potential:
1. Find the passionate ones, but with a solid work track
Did you know that 99 of 100 bloggers quit because they don’t have enough motivation?
Every successful blogger will tell you that what pushed them through was a passion for the subject.
Hubspot’s research shows that being persistent for at least 6 months gets a blog through the “no-traffic barrier”, and other channels function similarly as well.
Connect with someone who’s been providing quality content for at least a couple of months, but not too long. You might come at a time when they are just running out of motivation and your support might be what gets them back on track and helps them break the barrier.
Finding them is easier than ever. Tools like Google and Buzzsumo are great for finding major influencers. In order to get the smaller ones, try specialized media monitoring tools. Search the most popular industry terms and keywords and see who’s been talking about the topics of your interest for the past month or two.
2. Pay attention to how tech-savvy they are
If they simultaneously use blogs, social media, YouTube, podcasts, Periscope, eBooks, and maybe even do a bit of design on the side…
It’s good to keep them on your list because they understand the importance of multiple channels and are not afraid to experiment.
They are more likely to have a development strategy and know that this type of content creation is also a way of maximizing exposure they get.
3. Niche content trumps general content
The saying goes “the smaller the pond, the bigger the fish”. This is also very true when it comes to online marketing.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, another emerging YouTube channel about fashion trends is less likely to succeed than a channel covering the latest trends in hats. If you’re a company selling tech gadgets, it would be wise to focus your efforts on bonding with your local community of 1000 enthusiasts centered around smartwatches than having your story featured on yet another emerging general tech blog or channel.
4. Trust your own intuition
As someone who’s running a business, you are likely to know the ins and outs of it. If you see someone posting content you like and are happy to read/watch it, it is very likely that your target audience will think it’s useful as well.
5. Show support by engaging early on
Once you’ve found your desired influencers, be sure to comment on their content, share it and engage with them. The most important thing is that you add value to what they are producing, are authentic and refrain from self-promotion.
It takes time and effort to bond with people in real life, and the same thing applies online.
Once you’ve established a connection and they see you can be trusted, approach them with your offer. Smaller influencers are often willing to promote your brand in exchange for your product or perks such as event invitations, discounts, and giveaways.
Wait, why don’t I just open my own blog and be the go-to influencer for my industry?
Because the Internet is all about connections.
You do need to produce your own content. But, even with all the budget in the world, owned media only gets you so far. When researching your product, customers value word-of-mouth and recommendations from third-parties more than your own opinion. Research shows that an influencer who stands behind your product is the most powerful marketing you can get.
Want to start your search for influencers? Try it out for free and track all the relevant news. Create detailed exports, measure your online media activities and explore relevant data behind every mention.
Updated on June 27th, 2019.