Influencer Marketing for Startups

How to find influencers for your startup.

Influencer marketing is one of the best and most cost effective ways to reach a new audience. Some online personalities work so hard to become influencers, they make growing an audience to deliver custom messaging on behalf of a number of different types of companies a full-time job. No matter what platform you’re looking to use to reach an audience, there are influencers for every type of business and industry. But finding a great fit for your company is key to making your strategy to the test. We’ve put together a list of a few ways to identify the best influencers for your brand.

1. First you have to identify who would be a good match.

Do age and gender matter (for products such as clothing or makeup gender does make a difference)? Are you looking for someone with humor, or someone who has more of a serious subject-matter-expert tone? Write down what you think the characteristics of a good influencer, meaning, someone who your target customer would listen to. Oftentimes these characteristics are less demographic, and are more psychographic.

2. If you already have customers, look to them.

Oftentimes, your early adopters will qualify as influencers, as they’re first to try to find the new products and services. If you have an active user or customer who signed on early, they’re probably of this mindset–which means others look to them to learn about the newest, coolest stuff.

Take a look at your heavy users, and research who they are.** Are they active on Vine, Periscope, or Snapchat? Do they use Twitter or Medium a lot? If they’re sharing their thoughts, it’s likely their audience is engaged and listening. Start with them first.

3. Once you have taken a look at your customers, pay attention to who they interact with online.

Do your customers (who may qualify as influencers themselves) have an online group with whom they interact a lot? This is a great place to recruit additional influencers. Get them started by offering them a free trial or sample of your product or service.

4. Use keyword and hashtag search.

You may not be looking to recruit influencers on Twitter or Instagram, but these platforms are great for searching influencers under certain keywords. Take a look at the words your customers, and you, you use to describe your product. Your branding may be different than some of the #hashtags used, and that’s fine. But finding the lingo social users are throwing around to describe companies like yours will help you identify people who might be interested in your product or services.

5. Ask.

Use your own social influence to ask for help. If you throw it out there, you will likely have a few people who are interested in helping out by suggesting influencers. A few who answer your call might even be the influencers you’re looking for!

Next step is reaching out to these individuals. We’ll follow-up with a post in the next few weeks on how to approach influencers, and ways you can work with one another (other than just writing a big check.)