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The PRACTICAL Guide for Finding Influencers (and what to do once you found them) - Influencer Marketing Ninja
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Influencer Marketing is the process of finding the right Influenceres and then… WHAT? What do you do next? In this practical guide you will not only get some wickedly clever tactics on finding influencers (and its all very practical stuff really, that you can use immediately and, pretty much, find SOME real influencers within 5 minutes of work! YES 5 minutes. Finding good influencers is not the hard part), you will also get a few ideas on what to do with those influencers and even a couple of First Encounter copy ideas for email and chat that will get the influencer’s attention and will allow you to proceed. Sounds good? Lets begin. 

But first things first. Here are 3 Reasons Why finding your Influencers is NOT like Camping

In Camping, if you didn’t bring everything you need back from home, if you didn’t pack well, you might get eaten by a bear and die . With Influencer Marketing – you just need to do it and you will not die. I promise. Yes, you need to play smart. Yes, prep work will help you. But its really NOT the hard part. We, marketers, are so often stuck in being a perfectionist on some aspects of marketing and on others – we are willing to buy new tools and experiment with every new shiny object. And then we call it Education and write off the expense to make us feel good… Suddenly, a few months later we realize we didn’t do any Influencer marketing to promote our business or our to promote our customer’s business with IMT (Influencer Marketing Tactics) for far too long. So stop procrastinating, use the Find an Influencer in 5 Minutes System detailed below and get to the interesting part. Measuring ROI and getting results. Just kidding – the interesting part is Building the Relationship. More on that in this blog post. 

 The Dangers of camping comes in many ways. Sure, some of the dangers are in fact deadly (poisonous spider. Poisonous mushrooms, and did I mention the bears already? Does it show I am not the typical camper yet? ). But there are also tons of just small annoying mishaps like mosquitos. Influencer Marketing is the TOTAL OPPOSITE of that aspect of camping. It’s more like an ice cream shop where no matter what you try – it all have lots of sugar in it (or if you take your ice cream sugarless, its all at the very least – cold). What’s the worst case scenario? 

Camping is something you something you do once in a while when your spouse insists or as a vacation (WTF personally, you know me by now). IMT is something that if you know how to do right, can be done in a daily manner. Its kinda like agriculture in a way. Its still outside in the sun, but you can take as many breaks as you like, and you have electricity to charge your laptop / tablet. You saw and then you rip. Every day that you touch base with your influencers friends, and keep them warm (more on influencers warmth on another post ) and basically just maintain the relationship, is a day gone by not wasted. Don’t get me wrong – the same applies to any human interaction – you gotta work on friend maintenance or three years will go by like that. Suddenly you best friends kid is 2 years old and you don’t even know her name  

So how do you find influencers for your business (and or your customer business) 

It’s actually easier than most think and definitely a game of qualification. Quality matters, but for some needs, an influencer with a smaller size audience will work better (and cheaper) for you, so the ROI may be improved. Quantity is also key because you don’t want to add too much admin work on yourself or your team. Right?

So in this section, we will discuss briefly:

  • What is the EAI approach and why its dangerous for your business
  • How the SMI approach is just as dangerous even though its on the other end of the spectrum
  • Who can you trust in finding the RIGHT type of Influencers (hint – free resource ahead) – also known as the Influencers Trust Challenge

But before we go into that – let’s go through some actual methods on finding influencers, and then talk about how to qualify them through EAI, SMI and the influencers trust challenge

5 quick ways to find influencers in 5 minutes of work (pm me if you at least ONE of them was new for you)

1. Bring on the Bloggers and Podcasters: When you google a name of a niche and before that right down blog: or podcast: you get a list of niche related. For example:

when looking for podcasts at the narrow niche of Balloon art I found my own podcast.

When looking for bloggers in the influencer marketing niche (hopefully one day this search will help you find this blog. How ironic…) I found that many sites have already listed the best 50 bloggers on this topic. This made me think… maybe I should make a post about the best 100 bloggers on IM and added the topic to the coming soon post.

This tactic was shared in the book Will It Fly by Pat Flynn.

2. Closed Facebook Groups (duh): If you go to search on facebook for a niche and then switch to groups and THEN chose closed groups, you will find the groups of people that talk about the niche you are interested in. But don’t stop there. Here are the steps:

First Step – change the SHOW ONLY settings to “Closed groups”

Second Step – look for the admin or admins of the group. Those are the people that have real influence over other people. In the advanced tactics to find influencers in surprising places with bad ass tools, you could see how to tap into the influencers within the group itself. For now, more often than not, those admins are going to be just fine for your needs.

3. Twitter Advanced Search: (don’t be lazy and use the regular search. It’s sooooo much better and flexible on the advanced option). This toy is so much fun. It feels like no matter what you touch in it, and influencers will pour out once you hit that search button. Just to get your juices flowing – I asked myself – who twitted about Influencer Marketing in the last 3 months roughly, and so I used the “this exact phrase” option in combination with the “From this date… to…” option. It got me tons of bloggers that I can use for my post – 100 of the best influencer marketing bloggers, youtubes and podcasters.

If you are looking for some local people you might wanna try the places category. However, just like in the Adwords Keyword research tool, I suggest being careful about ultra targeting according to places. I am not sure why but have seen with many of my students and friends that this field is not 100% accurate and sometimes can yield more reliable results on a bigger scale of geo-targeting. If you think I am dead wrong and the Places targeting works even at the level of small villages and rural locations, especially when those are relatively close to huge famous cities, then comment below and share your experiences.

4. Buzzsumo and its 5 alternatives

Tamara Scott writes regularly for TechnologyAdvice.com and has already covered in great depth 5 powerfull BuzzSumo Alternatives. You can check it here. It’s legit stuff (Tamara understands technology and writes in a way that is easy to read).

https://technologyadvice.com/blog/marketing/5-powerful-buzzsumo-alternatives/

The reason why you might want alternatives to this tool is probably pricing. Once you start using filters you quickly find this:

Pricing starts at $79 per month and is totally worth it if you are that big. I am not there yet, so let’s move on to the next tool to find influencers quickly in 5 minutes.

5. Amazon books & Amazon-like sites: I am surprised how sometimes the most obvious of ideas have to come to us from a podcast or a book. This one, in particular, is something I heard in Pat Flynns book mentioned above, and in a few podcasts about business research.  The idea though can be expanded so here is the short and sweet idea first (I call this The Author Paradigm) and down after – the expansion:

Authors write books -> people read books -> authors get paid for their knowledge -> authors become leading experts on topics and speak -> people recommend the authors books and follow the ideas in the book -> Authors create the audio version and widen the funnel -> cha-ching.

While I am pretty sure you see this simplistic paradigm as… well… simplistic – there is a bit more to consider to understand the greatness of this approach. You need to go to Amazon and look for books on the niche you are searching influencers for. Those authors might be those influencers! BUT more than that, look at the reviews –  some people will tell you their names of other authors on the field and even troll and put their own URL in the review! That’s great for contacting that person will be easy and you can be sure he will tell you in an email who does he thinks writes better on that topic!

Moreover – Amazon gives you extra structure and assistance in finding more influencers with their Frequently bought together section and their Customers who bought this item also bought section. Sweeeeet! There really is no excuse in finding them influencers. They are everywhere.

Now, if you like this tactic, let’s expand it to other realms. If a person that writes a book is influential, and Amazon helps us find books… then how about movies? More specifically – documentaries!

Here is a list of wickedly cool sites that gives you tons of documantaries to consider (the film maker is also important as they know people PLUS who knows – you might get smarter just from doing the research and watching these).

https://topdocumentaryfilms.com

https://documentaryheaven.com/

and there is a full list of many others here:

https://library.stanford.edu/guides/documentary-films

Plus you might want to try this channel on youtube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMMfW1nfpZfDpJ1HUraRmug

and use the small search bar, the one for searching within the channel:

BTW – what we did here was kinda like brainstorming or riding a train of thought. You can take one idea you learn online and transform it to another. What other sources of information would you use instead of documentaries or books? Maybe products? Maybe rules? Maybe Collage courses or teachers on a subject? Comment below to share your ideas! Together we grow our skills and marketing tactics and this is all about sharing.

I am using DepositePhotos to add value and add bling my blog posts. Here is what I found when looking for “ninja train” (and after my GD did his magic):  

6. Mom. Ask on FB: There is a lot to be said about mom and how she knows everyone. If she doesn’t – there are tons of people in your facebook feed that know other people. In the old days, back when town square was the best facebook group to hand out in, or when before that by the tribe camp fire, people asked the people they knew for connections that are needed for them. The best part is that if Mom actually knows someone that can help you, most likely it would be super easy to touch base with them. Why? It’s all because of the warmth of your relationship.
The warmth of your relationship with an influencer can go from cold to warm to hot to super hot. Cold means they don’t know you or even your brand (or your customer’s brand). Warm means they do know your brand but don’t feel hot about it. Get it?

In sales processes, it’s been known for a long time that referrals as a system for selling is better than cold calling. To put it in the words of referralcodeblog.com Warm beats cold every time. To learn more about Influencer’s warmth, including real life examples and tactics on how to warm up your relationships check our blog post about that.

Qualifying Potential Influencers to save time – the EAI vs SMI approach and the Influencers Trust Challenge

Ok. So you found a bunch of people that you consider as Influencers by using the 5 minutes to find influencers system mentioned above. Now what?

Before you go ahead on contacting them you might want to consider doing some sort of qualification. You need to take into consideration in advance that not all of them will be available to even open up your email or answer your tweet. There are two basic approaches to qualifying influencers that I will cover now. The EAI approach and the SMI approach.

EAI – Everyone Are Influencers: In this approach, you treat any human being that came up from the 5-minute research detailed above as if they are influencers. The truth is, even though they are, and all people influence other people, you usually need to be careful with your time. There are 12 characteristics of a perfect influencer and you probably want them to qualify at least three of them.

With that said, its not like you are choosing them blindly from your list because you did find high caliber individuals in the previous step (bloggers, podcasters, youtubers, writers and people who were featured in either a documentary or in buzzsumo and his liking). However… if you just touch base with all of them you will risk the chance of losing your mojo. Your ninja marketing energy is split into too many people. You might be lazy on the research phase that is recommended to be conducted before emailing the first email. A good rule of thumb of knowing you went TOO MUCH towards the EAI end of the spectrum is exactly this – you are sending them an email with only the first name different. I don’t care how well the copy of your swipe file is, if its not personal then the influencer outreach will not have a solid ROI and it will not fly well with the influencer.

SMI – Someone Might influence: in this approach you are VERY selective about who you are going to be building a relationship with. I get this approach. So many things in life are like dating (or can be compared to dating in order to have a compass of how NOT to behave). You wouldn’t want to approach someone that you are not attracted to on this game of wits or proposal for a first date. It’s like that old line – what is the opposite of Perfectionism? Progress. If you spend too much time on qualifying potential influencers you will not accomplish enough movement. Influencer marketing like any type of marketing can be seen like a numbers game. Some people will not open your email or respond to your message. Some people will simply say no. Some people will say yes (FINALLY) but will ask for something in return that you just can’t give.

If you keep on doubting the people in your potential influencers list you might run the risk of never getting to the best part of the Influencer Marketing approach – the ROI. Effective ROI comes from measuring results. That is only possible after the influencer agreed. That only comes after presenting the influencer with a clear ASK. That’s doable right after establishing the connection and warming up the relationship. And doing that is totally feasible after the first outreach. But you are never getting to actually DOING that because you are still looking for The One.

The Trust Challenge: a middle ground approach that is not on either side of the spectrum (too picky or not picky at all) is to ask yourself if you would trust that influencer’s opinion on the topic that is relevant to your marketing efforts. It’s not a coincidence that some podcasts get’s better business results than others, no matter how many episodes they have released. Quality means a lot and how do you measure it? You DON’T. You invest a minute or two and immerse yourself in a person’s work. You feel it in your guts or in your stomach. Do you trust them to tell you what to buy or what to read? Would you follow up on an affiliate link on their blog, or feel like you are being used?

Applying the trust challenge is only one tool of many that can be used, but there is another time and another place for that. For the purpose of not ever leaving you with no extra valuable tactic, I will share with you also the 6 parts checklist to help you decide if an influencer has passed the Trust Challenge.

The Influencer must have at least 4 of these statements hold true:

  1. Does the Influencer have its own website or FB Page?
  2. Does the Influencer’s have an online presence on three platforms?
  3. Is the Influencer’s voice unique?
  4. Is the Influencer an admin of a FB Group or is active in any sort of a community?
  5. Can you find 3 pictures of the Influencers easily?
  6. Can you spot any clear motivation or values that the Influencer has and you are aligned with?

What to do after you have compiled a list of Influencers to engage (a.k.a Influencers Outreach)

You might think that the hard part is behind you, and being a ninja is all about calculated optimism.  However, once you have created your list of influencers its time to contact them, warm them up and building the relationship with them. This requires these values and skills: Copy Writing, Persistence, Courage, Caring, Providing Value First, Emotional Intelligence, Systemization and Personalization of the process (a fancy way of saying followupication).
Since some of these skills and virtues are tricky, we have created the AUTH – a deep dive into the importance and an explanation of each of the values. Take the Influencer Marketing Ninja Auth now if you didn’t yet:
So what is it that you do? You follow up the following steps (see what we did here) which are right after this graphics.

The Six Steps of handling a potential Influencer

In the scope of this blog post I will outline the overview, explain on each step and demonstrate later with one example. If you are interested in any particular step and want more details, join the Influencer Marketing Ninja FB Group and let me know.

Step 1: Touch Base 

You contact the Influencer via email or twitter or facebook. There are ways to optimize this phase and reduce anxiety or fear and that is to harness the power of research. Learn about the Influencer’s life or business. What keeps her busy lately? Already try to plan how can you provide value to her. Consider at first just to make yourself known to her by posting on the same facebook groups that she does, or by commenting on her blog. Take a couple of weeks to do this before you contact her directly and when you do – introduce yourself clearly. Ask yourself the question – am I hiding anything about me. If you do – is it like really mandatory that you do? You need to come by authentic, open and honest. Just tell it like it is.

Step 2: Measure the warmth of the relationship

So many times in business we forget to align with existing warmth. We ask for stuff too soon (usually for the sale). The problem with that is that people might think you are a freak if you ask for stuff without providing enough value first. There are two ways to measure warmth fast. The first one is with the Cold, Warm & Hot scale. Cold people should be filtered out in step 1. So the big question is if the Influencer is hot or not. Hot usually means that they respond to your messages on the same day.

The second way is through the KLTR scale. This is a bit more tricky but gets better results. Check if the Influencer: Knows, Likes, Trusts and Respects you. Wanna know how you get that? I got your back covered.

Here is the short version:

Know – make sure that the Influencer knows something about you that is NOT your name or job description. Educate them about your life in a way that finds common grounds.

Like – being nice, listening and sticking to the platform that they LOVE for communication are useful ways to create some Like Factor. Consider adding Emojis too. They create an informal feeling that you are real human being.

Trust – create small wins for the Influencer by telling them about something that you are going to do, check if they want you to do it and then… DO what you said you will and even over deliver. Example – ask them if its OK to send them two unique infographics about a topic you know that you both love. They agree. You tell them you will send it to them within five minutes. You send them three infographics four minutes later.

Respect – this secret sauce is amazingly efficient. You get people to respect you in many ways but here is a formula that worked great for my customers and is easy to understand. Show your Influencer you are passionate about something that is not directly related to your job or business. This can be a charity cause, a sport, some value or place or experience, etc. Don’t just show you like it. Show your passion. Make it burn in your eyes when you mention it.

If you want to learn more about ways to identify Influencer’s warmth read about it here.

Step 3: Provide Value till you reach appropriate warmth

OMG providing value to people is definitely an art form that should be demonstrated in galleries and celebrated online and offline. If you keep on giving 51% of the value (or more) you will be able to warm up the influencer. To put it in the words of Gary Vaynerchuk:

“I prefer to give 51% of the relationship. I like that leverage. It might sound dark, but that’s just the way I roll and I think there’s tremendous value in having that outlook.”

Read more about that on Gary’s blog.

So how do you provide value? by solving problems, saving time to people, being entertaining, being educational, reminding people of stuff they love, being unique, appreciating people, showing interest in something other people care about, help out someone they care about and that’s just the short list. Providing value to people is like a game where everybody wins. Beware. Its addictive. 

Providing value is NOT giving away money. Although money does have value (so for example, providing someone with a discount, or an item at an amazing price do provide value to them) it is way too soon to give money in this phase and I strongly recommend against it.

Step 4: Make the ASK

This phase should be followed as closely as possible to the below instructions. You should be as direct and open as possible. I am paraphrasing the idea of the Great Ask by Allison A. Armstrong as conveyed in one of her audio programs (which are all great btw).

Start by saying something like “I would like to ask you to do something. I need you to …” and then explain what you need in very clear direct language.

Explain the dates and scope of your needs by saying something that implies what your needs looks like. For example: “My end goal looks like this post made by X and due to my own date constraints, it will mean a lot to me if you can make that on the 23rd of Aug on…”

Then state what it will provide to you if they do that. Not what you will give them. You will get to that later. You need to first “come clean” that you are getting something out of it. Say something like “it would provide me with an opportunity to promote…” or “it would provide me with exposure and a way to send a message to your audience so that I can hopefully later also…”

Finally, a great ask also includes the immortal question that many turn into an offer and fail. It’s the “is there anything you need to give me what I am asking for?” This implies partnership and a relationship that was built prior to the ask. You might be surprised by the response. More often then not, you will not be asked for money, but for something that you have which is unique, and that is actually very easy to give. If you provided value correctly and in a personalized manner then the influencer would probably ask for more of that or an extension of that.

If the influencer does ask for money, she will probably ask for how much. Learn from it to warm up longer the next time. If you are sending money to an influencer, try to make sure that you are measuring the ROI with separate landing pages, separate links or pages on your site or theirs etc. There is nothing wrong in paying at this phase, but don’t rush into it and try to make the calculation of how much reasonable. You need it to make sense.

As a rule of thumb, I calculate how much it would cost me to acquire that traffic through Google Adwords and through Facebook ads. Then I divide the sum by two or by four depending on the trust factor. Sometimes I divide it by ten if the whole point is reducing the cost of acquisition. I consider the effect of the Influencer’s help on a three-day window, even if his post will last forever on his blog or facebook page. I actually prefer it doesn’t usually, to create scarcity to the message and authenticity.

Step 5: Follow up

Like on any relationship, you need to follow up. You can use a tool like followup.cc which is a Chrome Extension that enhances your Gmail and allows you to define how often or when will you follow up with certain people. You can use a Send Later type of service like Mix Max or Boomerang for Gmail (boomerang also have a free mobile app that works). Either way, make sure you don’t follow up too soon. Even ask in advance to follow up. Many people see that as an expression of you caring, wanting to save time to people by reminding them.

Step 6: Proceed to step 2

Don’t use people and then forget about them. Measure the warmth again. Provide more value. Continue the journey. You might be able to leverage the relationship to so many other things on top of friendship. The Influencer might help you with inside information, with feedback, with validation, with pricing, with finding other influencers and even with direct sales. Don’t close the door. Someone might be waiting for you to keep it open.

Demonstrating the 6 steps of building a relationship with an Influencer

In my podcast based business, I started out by finding out influencers prior to launch, so that I could interview them and establish a power base of connections. I was lucky enough to have a head start – I was already a member of the Balloon Industry Mother Tribe and have shown my face at the right convention and provided value there whenever I could. On one occasion, I was lucky enough to arrange an impromptu social gathering at the last day of the convention, in the hotel lobby and that gathering turned out to be long enough to form new friendships to many.

This allowed me to have two aces up my sleeve: I could name the convention and mention we potentially met there AND I could check if they saw the social gathering in the lobby at the last day. If they did and took a part in it, we are already warm to each other as they now officially know me.

In the case study I am about to share with you guys, I used facebook chat quite often, and emails at a certain point too (and skype). In order to download the history of the chat from facebook I used this tool. In Step 1 – the touch base – I simply reproduced something that the influencer did in the convention and gave him credit on my page by tagging him. The original post looked like this (I made sure I write in both English and Hebrew, my own native toungue as an Israeli):

I then messaged him about it:
In Step Two you measure your warmth. Since Dylan didn’t respond at all to my post or my message, I understood this was not quite enough. So a couple of months (yes months) later I contacted Dylan again. This time with me providing value by showing interest in a topic I knew he was an expert of. The mere fact I asked him such a specific question on such a specific topic (related to the way he stores Balloons) showed I followed his youtube channel and consider him an expert. He could not resist the urge of answering my question and we started a conversation about balloon bags.

Step three included providing Value. This was done in a few steps and included this crazy list that eventually got Dylan and me to become good friends and even to consider doing business together (Love you Dylan):

Find a bug on the website of the Influencer

Install a Slider and customize it on the Influencer’s website

Recreate the entire website of the Influencer on a premium theme (it took 4 hours of work)

Discuss books and podcasts

Consult with about business topics

Share when someone special just happened

By the end of step 3, we got into such a mutually beneficial relationship that point out the actual Ask is hard in retrospect. There was a specific implementation related to step 4, The Ask. It was somewhere around after re-doing Dylan’s site I think. I asked him to introduce me to another Influencer and Dylan told me that it’s easy as he already spoke to her about me. It doesn’t get sweeter than this.

Step 5, the follow-up – was especially important in the early phase. In this case, it took two months before I followed up. I probably could have tried again earlier (these days I don’t wait for more than 2 weeks tops) but back than I didn’t use a CRM to control the process of the follow-up.

 Summary

In this blog post we have learned:

Why Influencer Marketing is not like camping. What are the EAI and SMI approach to finding an influencer. The Challenge test. Five quick ways to find solid influencers in five minutes and most importantly… The 6 steps of what to do after you filtered your list of Influencers.

If you liked this blog post, now is the time to share it. Comment below if you have any question or drop me a line through the button below.

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