Influential people, or “influencers,” are individuals in a particular field who have garnered success, are considered knowledgeable in a particular niche, and who have followers who listen to their recommendations.

As a startup, there isn’t an established connection to your target audience yet; that’s why turning to an influencer within a niche market will create a direct connection between you and your audience. Just be careful to find the right influencers to create those connections to people who will support your start-up.

Where to Find Influencers

You can find influencers in various ways depending on what forum they are most prominent in.

1. Twitter

For industry specific influencers, you can start by researching industry specific hashtags or keywords on Twitter. By doing this you can listen in on the conversations going on within your industry, and see whose articles and posts are being shared. It’s not essential that the person is a public figure or well-known name; the influencer just needs to have the ability to reach a large volume of people.

2. Blogs

Bloggers are essentially some of the strongest influencers, and are usually active across multiple social channels. You can find bloggers within your niche by doing a targeted google search over specific keywords that define your industry. You will want to sort through the blogs and make sure that they have the relevant info to what you’re looking for, along with having a social following. You can do this by checking if they have comments on their articles, along with the engagement on their social media channels.

3. Quora 

Quora is a Q&A website where people who are considered specific industry influencers or extremely knowledgeable in a particular area will answer questions. You can find influencers in Quora by searching for users whose topics relate to your industry and who have received “votes” by site users. Users with a lot of “votes” have site traffic, draw attention, and are considered an authority on their topic.

4. Influencer Marketplaces

There are influencer marketplaces that connect brands with influencers that you can use. Of course, this isn’t free and there is going to be a certain cost attached to the influencer depending on the influencer and what you are looking for. Most of these marketplaces focus on a specific social media channels, usually YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Revfluence is a marketplace that connects brands with influencers on Instagram and YouTube.

5. Celebrity Databases

Celebrities are known as the ultimate influencers because of their exposure and influence over consumers. Celebrity databases connect you with the representatives of celebrity influencers. The agents, managers, and publicists are the ones who handle business for celebrities and would be the ones responsible for facilitating any of the partnerships that you would want to utilize the celebrity for. Booking Agent Info (our company) is a database that provides you with access to thousands of celebrity representatives.

Before reaching out to the influencers, you want to ask yourself, “why would [insert influential person’s name here] care about helping me and my start-up?” If you do not know the answer to that question, you must figure it out before contacting someone. Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a dossier of influential people to stand behind your start-up:

  • Does this influencer match the image, niche, and target market for your start-up?
  • What will the influencer get out of the partnership? (monetary gain is a given as you’ll have to compensate the person for their work; however, on a realistic level, will they actually like your product enough to put their stamp of approval on it?).
  • Are you a complete stranger to this influencer, or is your name, face, and/or start-up familiar?

If you answered “no” to all of these questions, go back to the drawing board. If you answered “no” only to the third question, then you are off to a good start, but still have some work to do.

Utilizing influencers to create buzz

Your primary purpose in finding influencers is to build awareness and increase sales for your start-up.  A great success story is one by GrooveHQ, who reached 1000+ subscribers to their blog after convincing influencers within their industry to share their blog posts. By utilizing influencers who had connections to an audience via social media, Groove HQ was able to gain credibility and a lot of new followers.

Here are some of the many ways you can utilize influencers who support your start-up:

  • Ask them to re-tweet links to articles, blogs, reviews, or descriptions of your start-up.
  • Ask them to share an image via Instagram of them personally using or engaging with your start-up.
  • Ask them to participate in giveaways via their social media sites for their fans and followers of your products.
  • Request an interview or statement by the influencer regarding your start-up.

Whether its celebrities, tech bloggers or the everyday, relatable mommy bloggers, connecting to influencers in your marketing strategy will get you recognized, talked about, and in the heads of consumers who will remember and seek out the suggestions of the people they look toward for advice in a particular niche.  Influential people are essential in marketing your start-up, so seek out, contact, and utilize the reach of popular people who have the ability to help you grow your start-up.

Billy Bones is the Marketing Director of Bookingagentinfo.com, a celebrity contact information database that connects you with celebrities by providing you with the contact information for their official agent, manager, and publicist.

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