How can you identify influencers in social media?

Influencer marketing is one of the MOST POWERFUL marketing weapons you will ever wield!  But, you have to make sure that you are collaborating with the right influencers who in turn, have the right followers and networks.

It’s not as easy as just “finding influencers” - you need to determine the correct contextual fit for the influencer and audience in your campaign.

Your influencers have to be:

  • Relevant - the influencer and their followers have to be in context to your campaign and the brand you are marketing

  • Active on social media - check out whether their followers are genuine

  • Influential - you want to know if they have the ability to reach out and cause action by their audience.

  • Personality is key - what kind of person are you looking for? An activist, an informer, the message needs to be clear!

How to find right influencer?

Search on Social Media directly

Identify the hashtags that are relevant to your brand, field of interest and associated topics and that your target influencers are using.  Start the search.  You can identify influencers by tuning into the the conversations surrounding these hashtags.

This, of course, is a free method but it is a very time consuming exercise..

Use general Search Engines

A simple and easy way is to use any search engine (Safari, Google, ...) and search for influencers for your brand objectives with the right platforms (“ fashion”).  Browse through the various sites (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter ...) identify the influencers, manually export their profiles on file and then search the contact information.

It is free but again, a time consuming exercise and the results are not scalable or actionable.


Another great tool is Buzzsumo.  This site is able to quickly identify what content is working well in any specific industry.  You simply enter your a keyword, term or phrase into the search bar and it will analyse what content performs best by displaying it over various social media sites.

Use an influencer marketplace

Influencer marketplaces, such as HypeFactory, helps grow your audience, make quality content and collaborate with big brands, therefore, giving you access to a network of thousands of influencers that have signed up to the marketplace, specifically for influencer-related collaborations.

What should I do once I identify social media influencers?

It is important to research a prospective influencer before you invest time and money in them.

As with any lucrative trend, there are numerous individuals exploiting the influencer marketing movement, falsely positioning themselves as influencers.  It is important not to take follower counts, engagement rates, and traffic stats at face value.

Here are some things to check for to make sure your potential influencer is not a fake:

  1. Bot followers - There are people employed to play the influencer marketing system by actioning bot followers.  If the influencer has many thousands of followers but have very little content or posts, they are bots.

  2. Suspicious changes in follower growth - The audience growth of a true influencer should be gradual. Dramatic increases in follower growth might suggest that the influencer could be buying followers or alternative tactics.

  3. Low engagement -If they have a high number of followers but low engagement this is potentially another sign that they are buying followers,nonetheless they are not active..

  4. Inflated engagement - Just like the bot followers, you can also buy likes and comments from online sites.  The services you can purchase are follow, unfollow, like, comments for example, “great job” or “nice”. It is easy to spot this when you know what you are looking for.  

  5. Fake traffic - Again, as before, fake influencers can also use bots to drive traffic to their site - Asking for read-only access to their Google Analytics allows you to look for high bounce rates, short average session durations and a high percentage of new sessions.

Influencer marketing can be a great way to elevate your brand or business, but as we have pointed out, only if you are collaborating with the real influencers.  Using the above tips can assist in identifying the real from the fake! .