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One of the most important parts of any content marketing strategy is identifying and approaching influencers that can help amplify your message to the right audience.
But with so many people active on social media and many of them claiming to be influencers when they’re actually anything but, where the hell do you start?
Amazingly, 84% of marketers in a recent Econsultancy and Fashion & Beauty Monitor survey say they carry out influencer research manually.
Thankfully there is an easier way. There are a number of brilliant tools out there that can help you kickstart your influencer marketing efforts with ease, and in this post I’m going to cover some of the better ones out there.
If you want to learn lots more about how to apply influencer marketing to your own business, check out our social media and online PR training course.
1. Fashion & Beauty Monitor
Influencer marketing is particularly prevalent in the fashion and beauty industry, where the right person wearing or using your product can have a massive influence on consumer opinion.
With around 60,000 contacts and a dedicated research team, Fashion & Beauty Monitor is a great place to start if you’re looking for influential people in this industry.
And to add a full disclaimer here, I should mention that Econsultancy has the same parent company as Fashion & Beauty Monitor.
This one is free to use, in return for some data of course, and there are lots of different ways you can sort the results.
I really like the simple layout and the fact you can choose between celebrities, power users, novices and so on.
When you go into an influencer’s profile there’s loads of useful information, from their top posts to who they’ve talked with on social media recently.
You can also drill down into deeper analytics and check out their network and follower demographics to really find out whether they going to be able to help you reach a relevant audience.
This is one of the few tools that isn’t limited only to Twitter, enabling you to extend your research to Instagram, an increasingly important platform for influencer marketing.
Again, you can use this one for free in exchange for your Twitter details, so it's well worth a look if you’re on a tight budget or just testing the water.
In the screenshot below I typed in ‘food blogger’ and the tool returned a list of people with that keyword in their profile, ranked by popularity and social authority.
The beauty of this tool is in its simplicity. It’s great if you just want to quickly build a list of potentially influential tweeters in your field.
Unlike the other tools on this list, Quora wasn’t designed with content or influencer marketing in mind, but it can still be an extremely useful tool for finding influencers in your industry.
Try searching the site for topics related to your business, or search questions in Google and include the word ‘Quora’.
People with good answers will get plenty of upvotes and views, so you can start to spot experts who might hold some sway when it comes to your target audience.
We’ve written about this tool before when talking about how to find influencers. It’s incredibly intuitive so even somebody new to influencer tools should be able to get their head around it.
As you can see I’ve used ‘food blogger’ as an example search term again, and the tool has returned a list of influencers who fit that category.
One feature I really like on BuzzSumo is the ‘view links shared’ button.
It’s a really easy way to get an instant picture of the kind of stuff that an influencer might be interested in publishing, which gives you an edge when approaching them with content.
You can also drill down into those links to get a nice little visualisation of all the different sites they come from.
I like the way this tool breaks down all the different factors that determine ‘influence’.
It’s a good one for anyone new to the field who wants to gain a better understanding of what makes somebody an influencer.
Kred also provides an ‘Outreach Score’, which tells you how often they retweet, reply to or mention other people.
So Kred tells you not just whether someone is influential in your field, but also how likely they are to respond to you.
You’re probably beginning to realise that a few of the tools on this list effectively do the same thing, but they do have some unique features and it’s always good to use a few different tools in order to cover all bases.
The key things to know about Traackr are: it’s a fantastic tool with some powerful features, and it’s also pretty expensive.
I’d therefore only recommend using this tool if you’re serious about influencer marketing and have a healthy budget to play with.
It goes without saying (despite the fact I’m currently saying it) that LinkedIn is a great place to find influencers.
LinkedIn actually labels certain people as influencers, although this is restricted to the likes of Richard Branson and Bill Gates and there aren't a huge number of them.
But the best way to find influencers on LinkedIn is by researching blog posts on the site in your field and seeing which authors are getting a high level of engagement with their content.
And once you find them you can simply click through to their profile and contact them from there.
This tool splits things into two camps when you search a phrase. Firstly it shows you the current biggest influencers in relation to that phrase.
And secondly it shows you a list of the most popular recent content in relation to that phrase along with the person/brand that shared it.
What else do you use?
If you’ve used any tools for influencer marketing yourself that you think our readers should know about, let me know in the comments below…