Using Influencers to grow your Brand

Who do I choose? How do I determine if they have an engaged audience? Does size matter? How much will they charge? What do I ask for? How can I check the effectiveness of the promotion?

Let me tell you how...


Types of influencer:

These are already fans of yours or the industry you’re in. there’s a big chance that they’re already following you on social media. You can find them by going through your list of followers, and checking out the profiles of users who seem most relevant to your brand. Other clues can be seen in the industry specific words their username or bio like ‘foodie’.

Niche Influencer
These are influencers relevant to a certain niche market. They may have never heard of your brand before, but they may be interested in working with you if your product is relevant to their followers.

Working with this type of micro-influencers would be beneficial for you since they already have a loyal following of your target audience. The easiest way to find these influencers is by conducting a hashtag search on Instagram.

Local Blogger
Many small and local businesses may be interested in promoting themselves through a micro-influencer in a specific location. In such cases, working with local bloggers is ideal because their audience would be highly targeted and relevant to the business.

Professional/Mainstream Influencer
If you’re looking to move beyond using multiple micro-influencers to those with a larger following, then influencers who write and promote products for a living might be the answer.


How to find them?

There are many ways to find key people of influence who can help you, by searching through online charts like Social Blade or going to Influencer Agencies, but these might prove expensive and not as successful as you would like. After all, we are going for a good price per promotion ratio.

One of the most efficient ways to find out is to look through your audience of followers. Click on their profiles and see who else they are following and make a note of any names that keep showing up.

After a while (and by that I mean 50+ profiles), you’ll see the same people popping up. These are the people to reach out to. They already have the attention of followers who like what you do, so there is a high likelihood that the rest of their audience will like what you offer.

The other way is to use the physical location of your business to find the most influential people in your area. This method works well with bricks and mortar places like coffee shops, salons and clothes stores but less so for online based services unless they are looking to break into a particular area.

Go to the search option and tap the search bar at the top. Then choose ‘places’ and input the town where your business is based. Then tap on that location and look at the ’top posts’ and there should be nine photos from the nine most influential people in that town.

Now you have two avenues to pursue, so it’s all about sizing up who is worth approaching.

How engaged is their audience?

Once you have lined up who to approach, it’s all about looking how engaged their audience is. How many followers do you have? What is the average number of likes they receive per post? How many comments do they get on a post? Do they respond to the comments?

What we are looking for is someone who values their audience and who often responds to comments in a sociable way. If they are paying attention to what their followers say, then there’s a greater chance that they are looking to nurture and build a sincere rapport with their followers.

Also look at the quality of the comments. Are their followers real people of spambots? Generic comments that don’t fit with the content or context of the post (cool post, nice one, love your profile, etc) are usually junk. We are looking for genuine responses that are sincere, appreciative and heartfelt.

Does size matter?

Not especially. Although a large following may look impressive, a small but highly engaged audience is a much better sign. Look for comments first, then likes, then followers, in that order. It’s easy to like, but leaving a comment takes more time a dedication, that is why they are the best indicator of a valuable audience.

How much will they charge?

Everyone is different, so it’s a case of shopping around. The price they charge is only relevant to the influence they have. That is the only metric that matters. Get a series of different quotes from various influencers.

Some might want payment; others might be happy with a freebie of your product or service. Be prepared to haggle and offer 50% of what they quote in an attempt to get a lower fee.

As with anything, this is all about research and accountability. The more people you worth with, the quicker you will know who is worth working with again and what their audience responds to.


How do I ask?

Most seasoned influencers will have their contact details in their bios, but if there’s nothing listed all you need to do is visit their profile, tap on the three dots in the right-hand corner and send them a message.

Start off with a compliment and ask if they would be open to collaborating with you. This approach is best as if you approach a person of influence who hasn’t done much promotional work, they will be flattered by the interest and are more likely to accept a freebie or a lower fee.

What to ask for?

This is where it gets interesting. If they have done this before then they will probably have a price list. The main things to consider are:

  • Instagram Stories (How many per day, how many link out, How many days)

  • A single post or a series of posts

  • Link in their bio

  • You send the photo and they must mention your company in the image and the caption.

  • Product Push: You send a promo photo and they change the link in their bio.

  • Caption Based Shoutout - they post an image, they mention you.

  • Screenshot Shoutout - They take a shot of your page and encourage their users to follow you.

How can I check the effectiveness of the promotion?

At first, this will be a bit trial and error, but over time you will have worked out the most effective way of working with a small group of influencers. Start by sticking with one type of promotion and then run that same promotion with 3-5 people and judge how well it works.

This way you have some sort of consistency. The best way of judging is to give each influencer a particular code that their followers can use as check out or web link for them to drive traffic to. This will make it easy to see who is getting you the most sales, views and sign ups.

Always Check the numbers

Ask to see their analytics. They should be able to provide these direct from Instagram, itself, but also through apps like Iconosquaretoo.


Things to ask:

  • How can you relate you our target market?

  • Do you have any examples of previous successful campaigns ?

  • What’s an emergency number we can get you on?

  • Can you show us the data and analytics?

  • Are you clear with the terms of the promotion?

  • Is there anything else?

Get out of the way and let them get on with it.

Now that you and your influencers have clarity, let them work their magic. Their authentic voices are their most valuable asset, so give them the freedom to use them. Their followers will disengage if they sense something is phony. As long as you’ve clearly communicated your guidelines, you should be able to trust that they’ll do a great job representing your brand.

Thad Cox