How to increase your potential pool of influencers to recruit

Go beyond the obvious influencer niches to grow your program

Welcome to issue #14 of Return on Influence, a newsletter by me, Eleni Zoe from Modash, about the details that make influencer marketing a formidable channel. Get new ideas to improve your processes, workflows, and strategies every two weeks.

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In a few days from now, I’ll be at the Eras Tour in Zurich, Switzerland. I’ve been a Swiftie since 2008 and this will be the first time I go to one of her concerts. It’s going to be a core memory that’s for sure.

To say Taylor Swift has been on my mind is an understatement. So, you can imagine it didn’t take much for me to tie her tour into this week’s topic —the potential pool of influencers you could partner with is likely much bigger than you think.

Don’t stick to just one influencer era

You need to test different influencer eras if you want to:

  • Find your first wins.

  • Keep growing your influencer program.

  • Partner with influencers your competitors aren’t partnering with.

Let’s see how to think about these different influencer types. 👇


Find non-obvious niches to test

Many marketers get stuck on the products they’re selling when they start looking for influencers. If they’re selling lamps, candles, or fitness apps, they assume they need influencers who create content about lamps, candles, or fitness.

I call this your “obvious” niches.

You want to think deeper into your brand and buyer to find less obvious niches. Not because the obvious niches don’t work (often, they do) but because the less obvious ones increase the size of your potential pool of influencers to recruit.

Georgia Humphries (Influencer Marketing Team Lead at Tourlane) explained why she thinks travel influencers don’t work well for Tourlane.

That audience wants to be constantly inspired by beautiful pictures and destinations, but they don’t have that purchasing desire or need.

People who follow travel-focused accounts might simply have too much travel content in their feeds.

Compare that to a mom who doesn’t usually post travel content and then takes a once-in-a-lifetime trip with her family. And shares the whole thing on socials, raving about the provider (Tourlane) along the way. That doesn’t blend in like the typical travel inspo.

Ergo, going beyond the obvious niches can help you grow your influencer program, but also make it more profitable.

Here are a few questions to ask about your ideal buyer’s life that will help you find these non-obvious niches.

  • What benefits does your product provide, and who needs those benefits?

  • Do you have important brand values? You can find creators that share these values and reach your target audience.

  • Is your ideal buyer in a specific life stage? Some life milestones can trigger the need/want for some products. Are they single? Pregnant? Just bought a house? Use these “identities” to look for creators.

  • What else is your ideal buyer likely interested in besides your product category? A brand selling puzzles will run out of “puzzle influencers” very quickly. Think about what else your buyer likes doing. Chess? Fishing? Horror movies? Gaming?

TIP #2

Always be testing new niches

You’ll need to always test to find new influencer niches. This is good practice and teaches you a lot about what can or can’t work for your brand.

Dmitri Cherner (previously Head of Influencer at Ruggable, OneSkin) recommends adapting your budget for testing based on program maturity:

  • Start with 70% testing / 30% safer bets while launching a program.

  • Move to 30% testing / 70% safer bets later once you’ve established your best niches.

Your split will depend on your budget and your company's culture of testing and risk-taking. We’ve also seen teams split programs into 80% safer bets and 20% testing.

The fact remains that you want to do more testing at earlier stages of a program and then reduce it over time as you learn what influencer types work best for your brand.

TIP #3

Apply audience guardrails

Before you misconstrue this advice as, “Cool, that means I can work with everyone,” let me clarify.

We want to expand our potential recruitment pool. We don’t want to work with just anyone.

Before you identify specific niches, you want to apply two simple guardrails that will apply universally to your influencer selection.

  • Choose influencers who reach your target demographic & target locations.

  • Choose influencers who are trusted by their audience (look for quality engagement).

Note that the second guardrail automatically excludes faceless accounts (like dogs, memes, and news). There should be a real person who you can build a relationship with.

Any influencer niche could be on the table as long as those two boxes are checked.


See you in the next issue of ROI!
Eleni Zoe (Taylor’s Version) xx
Say hi on LinkedIn or visit Modash.