Believe it or not, $5,000 is what 22-year-old Canadian blogger Danielle Bernstein (@WeWoreWhat) commands for posting a single Instagram photo. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, as that photo can make hundreds or even thousands of items sell overnight.

Who Are Influencers?

Influencers are people who have the power to influence the buying decisions of your customers. They hold sway over social media or blogs and have a massive following of your target audience. For instance, the Canadian TV host Mike Holmes (@Make_It_Right) may be the dream influencer for a home improvement business, while Wendy Diamond (@wendydiamond) can be a good influencer for a pet-food company.

Influencers are not always celebrities. They can be regular people whose opinions and interests are relatable for your business and customers. An endorsement or mention by an influencer can give your product or service a huge boost.

Why Influencer Outreach is Important for Your Business?

Influencer outreach brings you the benefits of both SEO and conversion optimization. A positive mention of your brand and service by an influencer with a large following can instantly drive qualified traffic to your website. These would be people willing to buy your product or service even if you don’t have a perfectly optimized landing page. The best thing is, influencer outreach doesn’t have to cost you anything, except your time; however, paid endorsements are always an option.

How to Target Influencers in Your Niche

Before you reach out to every social media individual or blogger with a large following, make sure the majority of their followers are the same as your target customers. Econsultancy recommends the following formula to determine influencer effectiveness:

Influence = Audience Reach (# of followers) x Brand Affinity (expertise and credibility) x Strength of Relationship with Followers

The important thing to note is that while the number of followers and level of engagement are important, the influencer is not a good choice if he/she does not have the credibility and expertise that relate to your niche.

For example, a chef and a vet are good influencers for food and pet businesses, respectively. Changing the order can have undesirable consequences, even if the chef and the vet have an equal number of followers.

Also beware of fake influencers, as it is possible for people to build thousands of fake Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram followers overnight. There are freelancers and companies that would do it for as little as $1 per 1000 followers. Always check out the number of engagements, posts, tweets, and the age of the profile when you’re short listing influencers for outreach.

Influencer Search and Outreach Tools

There are mostly two kinds of influencers—social media influencers and bloggers. Use the following tools to find and communicate with the influencers in your niche.

Social Media Search: For a start, you can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and other networks’ search features to find and short-list relevant influencers with a considerable following. Just search with some of your most relevant keywords and look up individuals, communities, pages, and hashtags relevant to your business. You’ll need to refine your final list by looking at their reach, engagement and relevance for your business, as I’ve mentioned above.

BuzzSumo: The delightfully simple BuzzSumo app makes it easy to find influential bloggers in your niche. Just search with a keyword related to your business, and the app displays a list of influencers based on their page authority, follower count, and engagement levels.

Traackr: An enterprise-level tool that gives you detailed profiles for each influencer in your niche. Track influencers on all social networks and blogs and discover their contact information. Traackr boasts a number of advanced features including geo-targeting, people connected to key influencers, influencer conversation tracking, and more.

LittleBird: Another powerful influencer discovery and outreach tool, LittleBird lets you find relevant social media communities in addition to influential bloggers in your niche. It comes with numerous enterprise-level features and functionalities.

FollowUpThen: So, you’ve discovered a large number of influencers. Now what? Following up with each one of them can soon become tedious and confusing, unless you are using an app like FollowUpThen. It provides a simple email reminder system so that you don’t lose track of your key influencers.