Shane Barker
October 17, 2016

How to Find and Engage Social Media Influencers

You’re aware of the huge impact social media influencers can have on your reputation, and marketing efforts. And you’ve decided to give influencer marketing a try. The only problem is – you don’t know where to find influencers, or how to get started. In order for your influencer marketing campaign to be successful, you need to begin with the most crucial step, which is to find the right influencers, and engage them effectively.

The tricky part is that the most important step is also the most challenging. A study by Launchmetrics discovered that 61% of marketers have trouble finding the right influencers, and 56% find it difficult to reach out to and engage influencers.


In this post, you’ll learn how to overcome these challenges, and successfully execute your influencer outreach campaign. You’ll also learn about some of the best tools for finding and engaging the right influencers.

How to Find the Right Social Media Influencers

What many marketers don’t realize is that just because someone is an influencer, that doesn’t mean they’re the right fit for a specific brand or campaign. In order to find the right influencers, you need to identify potential influencers, and then filter them based on specific factors. Use the following metrics to find the best influencers for your campaign:

  • Relevance – Is the influencer influential in your target niche? Do they have an influence on your target audience? Do their views align with yours?
  • Reach – Does the influencer have a large enough following to make an impact? Can they help you boost your visibility within your target audience base?
  • Engagement – Does the influencer regularly engage their fans to stir their interest? Will they be able to drive enough engagement to increase conversions?


Now that you understand the most important metrics for identifying influencers, you can start your search for the top influencers in your industry. Take a look at some of the best strategies and tools for finding influencers:

Google search

The most basic method for finding top influencers is a basic search on Google. There are websites with lists of the most influential individuals on different social media channels, and in different categories. For example, if you search for, “food influencers Instagram,” you get the following results:


Respective social networks

The social media platforms themselves serve as useful resources for finding top influencers. Just search the platform for a relevant keyword or hashtag to find the top posts related to that keyword. On Facebook, you can then filter the results to find specific people and pages related to the keyword. On Twitter, search results will also show you the top accounts related to that keyword, (as you can see in the screenshot below).



One of the most useful influencer marketing and outreach tools, BuzzSumo lets you search for top influencers using a relevant keyword. You can filter the results based on which type of influencers you want to interact with – bloggers, journalists, companies, etc. You can even search for regular people if you plan on taking a more personal approach with your campaign. The best part about this tool is that it gives you details about the influencer’s reach and engagement stats such as Domain Authority, followers, and average retweet ratio. The tool further lets you sort the results based on relevance and reach, so you can easily identify different influencers based on your goal.



Klout is another useful tool for finding relevant social media influencers. It ranks influencers based on the level of online social influence they have, helping you easily determine which people are the most influential. The tool uses different metrics – followers, likes, mentions, retweets, etc. – to measure an individual’s influence. Klout ranking can range from anywhere between 1 and 100. The higher the ranking; the more influence a person has. As you can see in the image above, you can explore different topics and view the top experts in each topic. Klout sorts the list based on both relevance and Klout ranking, putting the most relevant experts at the top.


How to Engage Social Media Influencers

Now that you’ve shortlisted the influencers who would be a good fit for your marketing campaign, it’s time to reach out and connect with them. It’s important to realize that there are plenty of other brands also competing for the attention of these influencers. If you want to stand out from the crowd and get influencers to work with you, you need to build a genuine relationship with them and give them a reason to work with you. Here are a few tips to help you engage with influencers:

  • Become a fan – Show influencers that you genuinely admire their work by sharing their content on social media or by commenting on their blog posts. Try to get noticed by asking them relevant questions to initiate a conversation. Make sure you participate in any conversation they’ve started. Although this initial stage takes some time, you’ll be making a wise investment.
  • Add value to your pitch – As mentioned earlier, you need to give influencers a reason to work with your brand. Why should they partner with you aside from the obvious compensation? Make sure your outreach email includes details about your brand’s achievements, and what makes you better than the rest.
  • Share an experience with them – For your influencer marketing campaign to effectively gain traction, you need to build a genuine relationship with the influencers. You want the influencers to truly love the products or services that you sell. So make sure you give them the opportunity to sample your wares before you ask them to participate in your marketing campaign.


The tips and tools above can help you find and engage the right influencers for your next marketing campaign. Got any questions or feedback about the strategies above? Feel free to leave your comments below. If you need help finding and engaging the right influencers for your brand, you can always get in touch with me.

To read the other half of this equation, “4 Creative Ways to Compensate Influencers (That Don’t Involve Money)”, click here.


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Shane Barker

Digital Marketing Consultant at Shane Barker Consulting
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is the Co-Founder of Attrock, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.