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Getting an influencer in your niche to follow you on Twitter, share a tweet or two and comment on your blog posts can give both your content marketing and social media marketing campaigns a real boost. But it’s bloody hard work. Firstly, you need to find influencers. Then you need to connect with them. Finally, you need to get them interacting with you and your brand.

However, something to bear in mind is that you don’t need to try and get Neil Patel sharing your latest internet marketing blog post or Jamie Oliver tweeting about your latest recipe. An influencer doesn’t need to be famous, a celebrity or a household name. Instead, an influencer just needs to have a small yet loyal following to be deemed influential. 

You can probably name a handful of key influencers in your niche before you even have to try and find influencers. If you’re focussed on social media then names that come to mind are Kim Garst, Jeff Bullas and Kristi Hines. Or perhaps you write about the latest fashion trends so Chiara Ferragni, Aimee Song and Nicole Warne might be your top influencers (thank you Google)!

But these influencers are going to be quite difficult to build relationships and trying to encourage them to share your content might result in you using up a lot of your time for no end result. That’s why it’s important to focus on the small influencers. And it’s not as difficult as you may think. Here are three methods for finding new influencers in your niche:

Twitter Lists and those Famous Influencers

You might struggle to get well-known influencers to share your content but that doesn’t mean they won’t come in handy when looking for the lesser-known influencers. With this method, we simply look at the lists these famous influencers are members of and then look at who else is on these lists.

Let’s take Kim Garst as an example. First, head over to her Twitter profile then select lists and finally click on ‘Member of’. This will now give us an overview of all the lists she has been added to as shown below:

Kim Garst Twitter Lists

Kim Garst, being as well known as she is, will be a member of a lot of lists. First, I’d recommend ignoring any of the large lists as they’ll take ages to go through and will often be filled with some rubbish. If you stick to lists up to 250-300 members in size, then you should be able to easily find quality influencers to reach out to.

If we scroll through the list, we come across a list called Social-Media-Influencers with just 22 members. If we click on this, then click on members, we are presented with the following list of members:

Social Media Influencers

There will probably be some names you know (along with Kim Garst, Guy Kawasaki and Rebekah Radice were listed), but there should be plenty you haven’t heard of. I’ve never heard of Vincenzo Landino, who’s listed first. If we head over to his profile, we can see he has over 13,000 followers and his tweets and regularly getting liked and retweeted so he must be doing something right. Voila! We’ve just found ourselves a new influential person to follow and potentially reach out to.

So that’s one way for you to really quickly find influencers on Twitter without even needing to sign up to yet another tool.

FollowerWonk from Moz

No offence to the team at FollowerWonk, but it certainly doesn’t win any beauty awards. Having said that, what it lacks in the design department it certainly makes up for in terms of functionality. You can get a free plan as well as upgraded accounts at $29 and $79 per month which are 100% worthwhile if you’re looking to take your Twitter marketing seriously.

For the following method to find new influencers, you can just grab a free account :

Once you’ve connected your Twitter account and entered a few account details, hit Search Bios. This will allow you to search either the profile or the bio of every Twitter user. I’d recommend only using the ‘Search Twitter Bios Only’ function as this will limit your results a little more.

Now it’s just a case of entering a relevant keyword or hashtag into the search form as we have below:

FollowerWonk Search

After hitting ‘Do it’, you’ll see a huge list of users relevant to your keyword. By default, they are listed by followers (high to low). Instead of using this metric, click on the Social Authority column to list the users from the highest social authority. You are interested in any users with a social authority of higher than 70 or 75 depending on how many results you receive.

FollowerWonk Results

There’s still quite a few results, especially as we’ll now need to go through each of them to find suitable influencers we can begin to build a relationship. On the search form of FollowerWonk, you’ll see a ‘More Options’ link. Click this and you can filter your results a little more. You’ll now be left with a decent list of influencers, many of whom you may not be aware of.

Klear (Formerly Twtrland)

With Klear, you have the option of joining for free or $249 per month (ouch!) or there’s the behind closed doors it’s so expensive so you’ll need to ‘talk to us’ option. In all honesty, the free option is pretty good and is all you’ll need to find people to connect with on Twitter.

When you’re all registered and linked to Twitter, click on ‘Influencers’ in the top menu bar. Then start typing your niche/keyword into the form and it’ll provide some suggestions you can click. You can then add a location if you want.

By default, Klear will list every influencer they can from celebrities (who we don’t want) to the lesser-known small accounts (which we do). You can, thankfully, filter these results. In the left-hand sidebar of Klear scroll to ‘Influence’ and then select ‘Casual’. You could also try the ‘Power Users’ option but these tend to be difficult to connect with as well.

You’ll probably need to search a few times as results will be limited to just 10 accounts (because you’re probably a free user). Even if you splash out $249 per month you’re still limited to 50 search results. Even with such a low number of results, it’s possible to find new people you may not have heard of just like we have with our search for ‘Social Media Marketing’:

Klear Search Results

We can now reach out to Mark and see if he’d be up for sharing a few of our relevant blog posts with his 6,400 followers.

That’s three completely different ways to discover influencers. Combine all three methods and you’ll soon be able to build up a list of varied influencers you can begin to reach out to.

Find Influencers, Check! Now What?

The main reason for discovering influencers is so that you can get yourself onto their radar and ultimately build a relationship with them.

1. Follow them – A pretty obvious step to take but one of the easiest ways to get your name in front of anyone on Twitter initially is to follow them. Most will receive an email to let them know you’ve followed them, if not, they’ll at least get a notification on Twitter. It might not lead to any interaction initially but you’re now a name this particular influencer has seen.

2. Add them to a List – This is mainly for your own records and to make it easy to keep track of your newly discovered influencers. Create a list on Twitter called YOURNICHE Influencers and add all the influencers you found using the above methods. Not only will this make it easy for you to remember who you actually discovered but these influencers will also get a notification that they have been added to your list – Win-win!

3. Like, Retweet and Comment on their Tweets – Another way to get yourself spotted is to give their ego a little boost by sharing their content and commenting on their tweets. It’s not difficult. Just hit like, then retweet and then reply with a short comment:

4. Mention them in a Blog Post – This is where you take it up a notch. You now need to mention them in a blog post. This could be linking to a blog post they have written that’s a worthwhile read. It could be quoting something they may have said. It could be recommending a book they have written or a product that they sell.

5. Share that Blog Post on Twitter with a Mention – Now you’ve mentioned them, it’s time to make sure they know about it. Get on Twitter and mention them in a tweet, linking to your blog post. The worst case is they ignore it but you don’t lose anything. The best case is they retweet it and even reply to your tweet. We do it all the time at DM Pilot, and it works:

Not only did we get replies, but the tweet ended up with 26 retweets and several likes. One key thing to remember is that if someone takes the time to retweet you and then comment on your tweet, take sometime yourself to reply to them too.

6. Let them Know via Email and/or DM – Finally, if you’re still not seeing any activity from an influencer then you can drop them a DM on Twitter or email them if you can find a suitable email address. Just let them know, casually, that you’ve included them in your latest blog post and ask if they’d like to give it a read. Keep your email short and to the point but don’t sound desperate and avoid begging them for a share on their Twitter account.

Apply all of the above to your social media and influence marketing and you’ll soon be mingling with influencers and may even become one yourself?

  • Gloria

    Nice tips!
    I have my own way to find influencers, also helpful.
    I use social listening application Brand24 which is real time internet monitoring and analyzes solution. It allows to find and join every online conversation related to my topic but also gives interesting analyzes of reach, influence and sentiment and list of influencers related to your brand, product, niche, etc.
    This ensures that you contact with right person who’s interested in your topic and has a right audience for your purpose. Truly recommend to try, even a free trial :)

    • Lewis, DM Pilot Co-Founder

      Nice one Gloria. Certainly a great looking tool which we’ve not had the pleasure of using but we’ll check it out and see what it can do that other tools cannot.

      • Gloria

        Thanks for your answer :) Truly recommend, I can’t imagine my everyday work as a community manager without it. I hope you will also like it!