Recruiting the perfect influencer to promote your brand isn’t easy. How do you find prospective partners? What are the signs of a quality influencer? Which metrics should you check?
If you're new to influencer marketing or if it's your first time recruiting influencers, it might feel overwhelming. But don't worry. Many marketers have been in your shoes before, and managed to successfully scale their influencer program by recruiting the right influencers.
Here, you'll learn how to recruit influencers, plus which metrics you should check (and how) before reaching out.
What is influencer recruitment?
Let's start by clarifying what we're talking about.
Influencer recruitment is the full process, starting from scratch, to partnering with an influencer. It includes searching for prospective influencers, analyzing their profiles, reaching out, making offers, & negotiating compensation.
Finding influencers is a big part of recruitment, but there are many other parts that can be optimized for an effective recruitment workflow.
5 ways to find influencers for recruitment
1. Use an influencer search tool
The most reliable & effective way to find & recruit influencers in your niche is to use a search tool. It works whether you're looking for 5 influencers or 500, and you don't need a big budget to start.
I'll show you a quick example of how to recruit influencers using Modash, which has a huge influencer database of 200M+ profiles across Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok.
If you don’t have a Modash account yet, you can grab a 14-day free trial to try this (no credit card needed).
Start by going to the 'Discovery' tab of your Modash dashboard, and take a look at the search filters available. They include:
- The platform
- Influencer location
- Audience location
- Audience demographics
- Minimum engagement rate
- Minimum growth rate
- ... and more
In our example, we are searching for fashion influencers on Instagram who are based in Barcelona, Spain and have a follower range of 1,000 to 5,000.
You can add interests, bio keywords, hashtags, audience gender, age, and language to specify your search even further.
Then, we just need to hit “find influencers” and we’ll see a list of influencers who match our criteria.
We suggest applying more filters one by one. Run your search and check the results. The trick is to start your search quite broad and then narrow it down with filters to avoid excluding influencers that could be your perfect match.
Here's a short video that gives you a quick overview of how filtering works in Modash and how you can find the right influencers for your brand.
In case you're already working with some influencers, you could also try our lookalike tool to find similar influencers.
2. Use a landing page to capture inbound interest
Another easy trick to get more influencers on board with your brand is to create a landing page to capture inbound enquiries. It’s a must-have for your influencer program. Without one, you could miss out on recruiting influencers entirely if potential partners try searching for your program, and assume you don't have one.
Let's look at an example, and break down what the most important components of a great landing page are.
For this, we'll look at Bolt's influencer landing page.
Include social proof (show other influencers you're already partnering with), add an actionable CTA to get started, and sell the 'why' behind your program. Show what influencers will get from partnering with you, but also reinforce your mission to create an emotional connection.
3. Recruit your existing fans and customers
There is no better way of promotion than from the people who already love you: your existing fans and customers. You don’t have to convince them to shout about you since they’re probably talking about you anyway.
Your customers are familiar with your product which makes them ideal to provide a first-hand experience about your brand, and more likely to drive conversions.
To drive awareness among your current customers, you could mention your influencer program on the order confirmation page, at the end of your newsletters, or on social media posts.
If you have a referral program, you could consider reaching out to top performers with trackable links so you can see which customers are sharing the most or converting the most.
And another tip: check for people who posted about your brand on social media. Anyone who is already posting about you may want to deepen the relationship & monetize their posts. Try using a social listening tool like Brand24 or Awario to find mentions.
4. Get your program listed in relevant articles
When social media creators are looking for new partnerships, they’ll often simply Google something like ‘fashion ambassador programs’.
In the search results, they’ll find articles like this one by Ladybossblogger, listing programs they can join. Being listed on these gives you the chance to be discovered by influencers who are actively looking for new brands to promote.
Being mentioned in these lists is a great way to be discovered by potential recruits. It opens the door to a recurring audience of potential influencers coming from search engines. If you have a landing page in place, you're more likely to be added here, plus interested influencers are more likely to apply once they click through.
For some lists, you may have to pay a fee. Others might be open to other negotiations like a social shout out, a newsletter mention, or a backlink exchange. You can negotiate case by case.
5. Analyze your competitors
As an old saying goes: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Check out what your main competitors are doing and who promotes them.
To identify the influencers your competitors have worked with and what types of content they’ve created with them, here’s what you can do.
Check social media mentions
Run a search of your competitors’ social media mentions to identify sponsored posts in which an influencer has promoted those brands. You can do this manually, or again use a social listening tool like Brand24.
Check social media feeds
Look for content created by or featuring influencers on your competitor’s social media feeds. Check to see if they have tagged influencers in their posts or if they have reposted content created by influencers.
Analyze competitor backlinks
Your competitors may have influencers or affiliate that promote them from blog posts instead of social media. Again, Ahrefs is an example of a tool you can use to check this.
Search for brand-related hashtags
Run a hashtag search on social media using branded hashtags such as brand names and product names, or brand-related hashtags. This way, you can identify posts in which influencers promote your competitors' products.
After that, you could reach out to the same influencers to get them on board with your brand too. Of course, you should bring a better offer than your competitor then.
One thing to keep in mind if you're looking for competitor influencers is that their partners may have signed exclusivity contracts. If so, they may be unable to work with you for a certain period of time. This is something you may want to consider for your own partners too when you set up an influencer contract with them.
Do proper research to recruit the RIGHT influencers
So, we’ve talked about recruiting influencers. Now, we want to make sure you recruit the right influencers. Let's take a look at how you can determine whether or not a prospective recruit will be a good partner for your brand.
Check the metrics that matter
A crucial thing to do when evaluating potential influencers: check the metrics! This way, you can identify embellished numbers and weed out potentially low quality (or even fraudulent) influencers.
Every creator will have some fake accounts following them, but some have more than others. You can avoid creators who have bought fake followers & used other types of fraud by using a fake follower checker.
Engagement rate typically reflects how good (or how engaging) a creator's content is. Higher is better, and it shows that the audience cares about what the influencer is posting. You can calculate it either using an engagement rate calculator tool, or manually using this formula: Average Organic Engagement Rate (%) = Total Engagement / Total number of followers x 100.
Post frequency and quality
Look at how often an influencer publishes a new post. Usually more activity is better, but that's not always the case. Just look for clear consistency & activity. Assess their post quality too. Is it good? Would you be happy to be represented by this person?
Audience location & demographics
You need to know that the influencer is reaching your target market in terms of geography, demographics, and interests. Make sure that the audience aligns with your brand. You can check audience demographics using Modash.
Reach out and make an offer
Sending a personalized outreach email is the best way to approach an influencer. You can use DMs and post comments to follow up (or even warm up the relationship), but if you're pitching a collaboration, start with an email.
Most influencers have their contact info listed on their bio. You can find contacts details one by one like that, or use Modash to grab them in bulk.
All you need to do is create or import a list of influencers you want to contact inside Modash, then hit 'Export contact details.' If you want to access the contact details of a few influencers only, you can unlock individual emails as well.
Now that you have their contact info, it's time to send them a pitch. Your influencer outreach email should be personalized, captivating, and compelling.
Be creative and show them why you are reaching out to them. This is where your research will come in handy, so you can cite their particular posts or videos as the reason you are getting in touch with them.
Don't forget to name-drop other creators you have collaborated with in the past. If you don't have big names yet, that's okay. Show that you encourage nano and micro-influencers to shine too.
Make sure the email subject line is catchy but also avoid sounding like spam. You can play around with the subject line or just be straightforward and state the purpose of the email.
Be clear about your offer & compensation model during outreach
Think about how frustrating it is to apply for jobs without knowing the salary range.
The same frustration applies to influencers. How can they consider your partnership, if they don't know what/how you'll pay them? Give this some thought in advance.
There's more than one way to pay an influencer, and each of them have pros & cons. Some influencers will only work on a certain model (e.g. pay-per-post), while others will be open to affiliate commissions, content licensing, and other models.
Ideally, you need to know which models you're able to offer before reaching out. Some require some setup (e.g. affiliate commissions need tracking setup), and others require a high budget up front (e.g. pay-per-post).
Prepare a brief and contract in advance
You want to make your recruitment process clear, organized, and transparent; this is where influencer briefs come in.
An influencer brief details everything a creator needs to know about working with your business. A brief should contain direction and content creation guidelines, business information like goals, company and product information, timelines, and more.
Before moving forward with an influencer, you should have a contract in place as it protects both you and the creators. A contract ensures everyone knows what is expected of them, is on the same page regarding payments, deadlines, and deliverables, and prevents disagreements.
We have created eight free influencer contracts for different types of collaborations that are easily customizable. All you have to do is make a copy, edit a bit, and start sending contracts.
Having briefs & templates prepared in advance will let you move much more quickly in your recruitment efforts, and kick off collaborations faster.
Influencer recruitment tips
A few last best practices to leave you with.
Set a budget
Setting up a budget will allow you to focus on influencers that you can afford. If your influencer marketing budget is low, focus on finding micro-influencers (or even nano influencers) only.
How do you set a budget? Ideally, work backwards from a revenue goal.
If you need to drive $10k in sales from influencer marketing to validate the channel, then figure out the numbers.
- What's your average customer value? How many sales do you need to hit that?
- What's your average conversion rate? Influencer channels may be different, but you could get a benchmark to start.
- With that information, you could estimate how many clicks you might feasibly need.
There's inevitably some unknowns, and therefore guesswork involved. But, the exercise gives you a starting point so you have an idea on what you could afford to spend, and you can improve accuracy later.
Tracking your recruitment efforts
Tracking the success of your influencer recruitment process involves the following:
- Make a list of all the influencers you have sent an outreach email to and how many have responded. This will also help you figure out if you need to work on your pitch, add social proof, or make it more convincing.
- If you lose collaborations, record the reasons. Was your budget too small? Brand misaligned? Influencer simply stopped replying? Use these to analyze & improve later.
- Track the influencers you have signed a contract with and kicked off collaborations.
You can do this in a spreadsheet, or Modash also has a lightweight CRM functionality to track your lists & outreach statuses.
Brand alignment is key
To reiterate: no matter how good the metrics are, if the creator's style & values aren't aligned with your brand, it may not be a good fit. Always keep in mind that this person is representing your brand, and that the partnership will impact your brand perception.
- Do you find the creator likeable?
- How much effort do they put into their content?
- Do they use similar language to you (and your customers)?
- Are they engaging with their audience?
Recruiting the right influencer for your brand isn't always easy, but it’s no rocket science or great mystery either. Using tactics like search tools & inbound landing pages are going to be the key to taking your influencer recruitment to the next level.
Let us know if we can help! Our team are experts when it comes to influencer recruitment. We can share some recruitment tips & tricks that our customers are using every day to scale their influencer marketing. Feel free to reach out: email@example.com.