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5 Ways Startups Find the Ideal Social-Media Influencer The direct route to brand success is winning the support an influencer your target market respects.

By Brett Relander

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Whether you are launching or you have been in business for a while, identifying social media influencers who can benefit your brand is critical to your success. For many brands, such influencers seem elusive, but if you understand the right steps to follow, it is possible to find the influencers who can draw attention to your brand and message.

1. Traditional online search.

While it might seem somewhat old school, a simple online search is one of the most effective methods for finding people within your niche or industry with the influence you need to drive traffic your way. Possible sources include reporters, writers, blogs and media outlets. Another option is to search for your competitors to find out who is talking about their brands and where they are receiving mentions. Google Alerts is often beneficial for this purpose. Simply set up an alert to find out who is already discussing your brand online.

Related: This Family Business Is Literally Influential

2. Online tools.

There are also many online tools you can use to find and connect with individuals who may be relevant to your brand. Such tools include SocialBro, FollowerWonk, and Twellow. By using these tools, you can hone in on those people who may have an interest in what you have to offer, or who may have recently discussed a similar topic online.

3. Search conversation data.

Among the most important elements you will want to determine when searching for influencers is whether an individual frequently discusses topics that are of interest to your brand. Social media listening tools, such as Brandwatch give you the ability to input relevant keywords to identify individuals covering topics that matter to your brand. The key to making this strategy work is ensuring your keywords are not too broad in nature. Remember to keep them narrow for the best results.

Related: 5 Reasons Your Online Business Isn't Growing

4. Measuring influence.

Beyond simply identifying the individuals who may be likely to have an influence over your target demographic, it is also important to spend some time researching actual social influence. Tools such as Kred and PeerIndex provide insights into who may be influential in a particular niche or area.

5. Online circles.

Remember that some of the work of finding online influencers may already have been done for you, so don't overlook it. For instance, Twitter gives you the ability to group Twitter followers together. By leveraging that capability, you can more quickly and easily organize potential influencers. Tools such as Listorious can also be helpful for assisting you in finding such lists.

Finding social media influencers who are a good match for your brand can take some time, but is certainly well worth the effort. With a bit of planning and research, you can soon identify a potential list of influencers who can help to drive awareness and traffic toward your brand.

Related: Don't Get Tripped Up by These 5 Branding Myths

Brett Relander

Managing Director at X1 Sports Nutrition

Brett Relander is founder and managing director of X1 Sports Nutrition (http://X1Fuel.com). He has a degree in exercise science, is certified as a Master Fitness Specialist and in the biomechanics of resistance training, and is an advocate of all-natural nutrition and advanced performance training.

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