A Detailed Guide on Influencer Marketing


I believe every business owner has ever wanted to work with some big names within the specific niche. These big names are called influencers - those people who have a large army of followers and authority.

Not to be confused with the celebrities you could see on the TV screen. The people I am talking about could be noticed across each and every business sphere. They are real sharks who can influence their audience and over-persuade followers to buy whatever product they want.

A single tweet made by an influencer with millions of followers could push your business forward tremendously.

Thus, you must be interested in dealing with the influencers within your niche. But does it mean that you will have to pull your hair out to ingratiate them?

I wouldn't say so!

I would rather draw your attention to doing organic influencer marketing.

And this is the topic I'm going to cover in this guide.

Let's begin!

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing involves tactics that allow you to build business relationships with the leaders from your industry promoting your brand.

However, it is strictly important to know the two main characteristics that influencers might have. Let's review them.

1) "Masters" of the followers


Since the influencers have a massive impact on the market, they have lots of followers across social media channels. However, the numbers might vary drastically. For example, if we take an SEO industry, I would point out to Rand Fishkin as one of the influencers.

Rand has about 420K followers - that is a pretty solid number of people to be a notable person within an SEO niche.

If I refer to the beauty industry, you will see that the number of followers varies a lot. For example, one of the industry leaders Huda Kattan has 34.8M followers on Instagram.

2) Influencers can make their audience to take action

I won't argue the fact that people with a budget can "buy" fake followers. It is quite widespread. And the real power of the influencer could be estimated via the ability to persuade the audience to take action.

For instance, Rand Fishkin has released his new book "Lost and Founder" and posted a tweet describing the things that you'll find in the book. He didn't ask to "buy" it or retweet. He is an influencer and his army of followers has done the rest of the promotional job instead of Rand.

That's the power of influencer marketing!

Now, I want to talk about the background of influencer marketing effectiveness.

The Effectiveness of Influencer Marketing

To help you see the effectiveness of influencer marketing, I would like to provide you with strong arguments.

1) It is an easy way to "tell the world" about your brand

If you belong to an SEO/marketing niche, thus you know who Neil Patel is. Yes, he is one of those "big fish" guys who punch above weight in the niche. His YouTube channel has over 314K subscribers with 376 videos.

The channel was created back in 2011. So, Neil had put 8 years to reach out this number of subscribers.

Could you imagine how many hours would it take to reach out the same stats?

Yes, it takes ages.

And here is when influencer marketing comes in handy. If some of the guys like Neil mentions you on the YouTube channel, you'll get a lot of exposure.

2) People tend to trust other people

It is not a secret anymore that people prefer to trust other people (sorry for tautology) instead of big corporations. FYI, 92% of consumers tend to trust recommendations they get from their friends.

Here is a real example of this tendency. Ahrefs CMO and Ahrefs official Twitter account made the same tweet one day. According to the stats, the tweet by our CMO had more retweets, comments, and likes. However, Ahrefs official Twitter account has 3X more followers in contrast to CMO's one.

3) The power of persuasion

Do you know why people say "yes"?

Dr. Robert Cialdini could help you find the answer to this question in his book "Influence." What's more important, you'll learn the six universal principles that help you persuade people to take action.

Let's review them one by one:

- Reciprocity

If you got something from other people, you should pay back. Thus, the influencers provide their audience with high-quality useful content turning the followers in the prisoners of a situation. These people start feeling indebted to their influencers.

- Scarcity

When we lack something, we want it even more. The influencers understand this aspect of psychology and use it to their benefit. They limit the production or whatever they sell to incline people to buy it.

- Social proof

The thing is that the more people trust you, the more followers you'll get. This rule is applicable to the influencers. Such people with a "big" name won't let a shadow of doubt cross your mind.

- Authority

You are aware of the statement that deeds speak louder than words. The influencers always match the action to the word. That's why we trust them.

- Commitment & consistency

If we like something, we won't step away from this in the future. Thus, we would continue to click "like", "follow", "subscribe."

- Liking

Our individual sympathy towards some person persuades us to never refuse him or her with a request.

Use these triggers to become a "master of mind" of your customers.

Five Steps to Succeed with Influencer Marketing



You should start influencer marketing with creating a list of those niche-related influencers who could affect your target audience to the velvet. Thus, here are five steps you should take.

1) Find your target audience

When it comes to searching those influencers who could help you promote your brand, some people make one mistake. They believe that if the person has a massive amount of followers on Twitter, he or she would be a nice target to deal with.

For example, I am a big fan of rock music. I know for sure that Ozzy Osbourne has lots of followers on Twitter. And he does!

Ozzy has 5.27M followers - it would be awesome if he could tell his audience about my service (something SEO related) but it won't make any sense. His target audience is interested in Ozzy's music, not in SEO.

You should pay attention to relevance but not the existing number of followers. Think of who would be interested in your product. Afterwards, find the influencers.

2) Types of influencers

There are three types of influencers:

- Sharks

The people of this type are a kind of "stars" with a multimillion army of the fans and their names are always featured everywhere within a specific niche.

- Big Fish

These people are less popular than the ones form "Sharks" division. However, they have lots of followers and authority in the niche.

- Small Fish

The influencers of this type have a small audience of the followers. They are yet recognizable but they are well on the way of building authority.

You must realize that it is really hard to reach out to "sharks." It would be easier to get in touch with the "big fish" influencers and not complicated at all to contact "small fish."

It is up to you which influencers to choose for your future cooperation.

3) How to find influencers

Now I want to suggest you a few actionable ways to find your niche-related influencers.

- Curated lists


The first place where you should start your search is Google. Just use this search query formula "top [your niche] influencers" and you'll get a list of the influencers.

The same formula work for finding bloggers, podcasters, social media influencers. The only change that you will have to do is to replace "influencers" with "podcasts/blogs" accordingly.

- With the help of Content Explorer tool

Another actionable way to find influencers is the one using Content Explorer. You can use this tool for searching content for whatever query you want.

For instance, you're willing to compile a list of SEO podcasts to contact their owners for promoting your service. You need to know the name of some SEO expert that could be interviewed on such podcasts. Let it be Rand Fishkin. Now, go to Content Explorer and type "Rand Fishkin podcast."

How can you find more influencer opportunities?

Put a query related to your niche and "play" with the filters the tool has. It will give you an opportunity to find even more influencers.

- By attending various conferences

Many businessmen and marketers across different industries participate in conferences, online summits or webinars. Some of the attendants enter the picture of speakers sharing their knowledge. It won't be hard to guess that any conference is a wonderful place to meet the influencers from your niche.

If you want to find all possible conferences where the particular influencer has participated, you should do a couple of actions. The first one - hover the mouse over the influencer image and right-click "Search Google for Image" + add a search query "conferences."

It will give you an opportunity to find other niche-related conferences where you will be able to meet more influencers.

4) Get relationship back on track

I believe this is the most important and the hardest part of the entire influencer marketing strategy. One thing is to create the list of influencers you want to target; the other thing - is to catch the influencer's eye.

You must realize that the influencers value their time high. Thus, you will have to work hard to attract them.

What should you do?

- Be addicted to their content

Influencers bring value to the people producing content. This content needs to be supported and shared by a target audience. It is very important for influencers to know that their donkeywork is not in vain.

You should show your recognition to the influencers via engaging with their content.

I advise you to become an avid reader of the influencer content, subscribe to their newsletters, and follow them across social channels. Don't shy away from leaving your comments, sharing your personal opinion on what you've read, and be honest with the influencers.

You will be rewarded with their attention eventually.

- Cooperate on a win-win basis

When you see that the potential influencer is not willing to build relationships with you, I would recommend you to cooperate with him or her in some way.

It could be a guest post swap, a written co-authored piece of content, a joint webinar or a podcast. Whatever it would be, you'll get lots of advantages of such cooperation.

- How do I know if influencer marketing works?


We tend to measure ROI by the number of sales we managed to generate. But influencer marketing is measured by the lasting of psychological effect.

What does it mean?

Any influencer leads the people who are grouped by the same interests and needs. These people "join the club" of the particular influencer on social media channels. The more followers the influencer gets, the stronger his authority will be.

And when you become one of the followers of some influencer, you're getting the support of the entire community you have just joined. A single word of the influencer can "force" all the members of the tribe to promote your service or brand.

That's the effectiveness of influencer marketing.

To Conclude



I have just introduced to you what influencer marketing is and how to apply it the best. As you can see there is nothing hard in it except for catching influencers' attention.

Keep in mind that a single influencer can skyrocket your business with only a single tweet or mention of your brand!

If you found this post awesome, feel free to share it and leave your comments!
Sergey Aliokhin
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sergey Aliokhin> all articles
Sergey Aliokhin is a Marketing Manager at Ahrefs. Apart from working at Ahrefs he likes spending his time with family, studying martial arts and plucking fat bass guitar strings.