Find The Influencers That Matter (In 3 Easy Steps)

Find The Influencers That Matter (In 3 Easy Steps)

25th May 2017

You have to know your battleground before you attack.

This is as much true in marketing as it is in war. When you’re just getting started on influencer marketing or you’re approaching a new industry, you need to take your time and map your landscape. Get this right and you’ll be able to:

  • Identify and target the right audience
  • Assess the necessary budget for your campaigns
  • Calculate ROI

So let’s get started.

#1 Start by building an initial list

The difficulty of this task changes with every business sector. B2C businesses such as fashion or beauty products tend to have an abundance of options, while B2B businesses do not benefit from such a high number of influencers, nor do they have the same reach.

However, that’s not the issue. The most important thing is to uncover the names of the people who actually have a voice in your industry.

You can start by using dedicated tools. For example, if you’re looking for Twitter Influencers, you can try BuzzSumo’s Influencers module. It allows you to search and find them by keywords in their bio or by the type of content they share.

Now don’t get your hopes up. Even the best products on the market – BuzzSumo being one of them – can’t give you a ready-to-use list of influencers. However, you can use such tools to get a good enough database to start with.

Results for “SEO” | Influencer Research using BuzzSumo
Results for “SEO” | Influencer Research using BuzzSumo

Another great resource are listicles. I could give you 100 reasons why I love this type of content (“100 reasons…”, “listicles” – see what I did there? 🙂 ).

Here are a few examples:

No matter what business you work for, there are probably already curated lists available. So, why not explore them?

In my humble opinion, none of them will provide enough information for you to just start your campaign. That’s mainly because you evaluate an influencer based on other criteria than say, the author of one of these listicles.

So put those criteria on paper.

#2 Look beyond Twitter or Instagram followers

Your criteria for selecting influencers should include much more than the number of followers. You need far more relevant metrics, both qualitative and quantitative.

Unfortunately, no one can tell you what those metrics are because this is a puzzle you have to solve for your business specifically. However, I can give you a few ideas of metrics I personally look at. Perhaps they will inspire you.

Qualitative metrics:

  • Values -What are your business’ values? Do all of the influencers initially selected align with your values? Do they discuss the same matters you would?
  • Tone of voice and language – Check their opinions, language, etc.
  • Relevance – Ensure the influencer’s audience is the one you are targeting.


Say your brand is producing outfits for working professionals, millennials in their 30s. You’ll find a lot of fashion bloggers who simply crush it on Instagram and on Facebook. However, some of them will speak to teenagers so, from a relevance standpoint, they are not the people you want to work with.

Quantitative metrics:

  • Social media
    • Audience size
    • Reach
    • Engagement
  • Website
    • Traffic
    • Engagement on blog posts (comments, shares)
    • Traffic sources
  • Newsletters
    • Audience size
    • Open rate
    • CTR

Some of these numbers might be publicly available. For example, some bloggers share the number of subscribers on their website, and that’s a pretty good indicator of their audience.

From one of Elon Musk’s fav blogs,
From one of Elon Musk’s fav blogs,

Alternatively, you can use tools like SimilarWeb or SEMRush to get insights on their traffic and rankings.

For other data points, you might need to just get in touch with the influencer and ask.

Does that seem like a hard thing to do? I can cover some tips on the outreach process in a future post. Just let me know by leaving a comment below.

#3 Re-evaluate

I can’t stress enough how important it is to come back and iterate your strategy at least every 3 months. Check every step of your process, from the place you look for influencers to the metrics you use to evaluate them.

You might learn that Twitter Followers is an irrelevant metric or that “celebrities” aren’t the right ambassadors for your business.

Learn. Iterate. Improve.


Liked this? Then you might also enjoy my interview with Olga Andrienko, Head of Global Marketing for, and learn about their success with Influencer Marketing.


Written By
I’m a SaaS marketer always happy to read & talk about all things inbound, SEO, storytelling, design, and literature. Currently based in Dublin, Ireland. Working @HubSpot.
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