If you’re searching through TikTok and Instagram to find potential brand ambassadors, you know how that what seems simple and straightforward can quickly become a serious time suck.
It’s the Catch-22 of social media discovery: the platforms themselves are free, but time-intensive. Finding, engaging and onboarding potential brand ambassadors can feel overwhelming, especially when balancing all the other tasks and deliverables.
As the fastest growing online customer acquisition method, influencer marketing – including brand ambassador programs, field marketing activations, and affiliate referral programs – has surpassed even organic search. With an average of $7.65 return on each dollar spent, according to an infographic by Influencer Marketing Hub, it’s easy to see why brands dip their toes into the influencer marketing pool one quarter, only to be hanging out in the deep end the next.
Connecting people based on mutually shared interests (i.e. affinity categories) and word-of-mouth have always been effective marketing tactics. Layer in some digital know-how and the latent power of social capital and you’ve got the powerful triad of content, community, and commerce.
At the intersection of content, community and conversion sit one of the new darlings of the creator economy: the amateur creator.
How to Find Your Brand Community
Many brands think they need to reach far and wide to identify those valuable content creators and micro-influencers, ignoring the goldmine opportunity that lives in their customer databases.
Think about why your customers are your customers: they found value in your product or service, trusted your expertise and reputation, and rewarded you with their loyalty. And when customers are excited about the brands they love, they tend to talk about them. A lot – to their friends, colleagues, and family.
What’s the last product you bought that had you over the moon with excitement? Did you share a photo or write a review?
Your customers are probably doing the same thing right now, engaging with their communities authentically and influencing a future purchase.
Tips for Discovering Brand Community on [Insert Platform Name]
The headline above might be a little tongue-in-cheek, but it proves a point.
Platforms have more in common than not. Active users are creating content with or without your input, sharing their passions in an authentic, unscripted way using a variety of media forms: still images, short form video, stories, reels — you get the idea.
Whether you’re trying to find brand community on TikTok, Instagram, or some yet-to-be launched creator platform, the general rules of engagement are the same — and it all starts with creating an ideal creator profile.
Factor in audience category and size, posting frequency, engagement, and the social platform where they are most active in their content efforts.
Recruiting creators successfully is about aligning their audiences with your own.
Get to Know Your Audience
The first way to find the right influencer is by understanding your audience. Are they on TikTok? If yes, then you should find which TikTok creator your audience already follows. Don’t get tricked by the huge number of followers. You have to be careful in analyzing TikTok influencers. Do they get the highest TikTok engagement? Do they influence their followers to buy something? Check on their likes, comments, or views. Also, you should know how each TikTok creator interacts with their audience. Are they genuine or sincere enough? When they have high TikTok engagement, their followers tend to follow their decision, especially in buying products or services.
If your audience is on Instagram, use the very same rules to evaluate: engagement, likes, comments, views, mentions.
Discovery In-App with Hashtags
When it comes to discovering potential brand community members/creators, it helps to think like a casual user rather than a brand.
Think about your own social media activity. How do you uncover and find new, interesting people to follow? Chances are you started by exploring a popular hashtag based on your own interests. The same logic follows: creators “hang out” in hashtags to connect with their audiences. Find where they hang out and post, and you’re one step closer to engaging with them directly.
Take Your Search to Google
It’s unusual for creators to be exclusive to a single platform, though it does happen.
Work some Google-fu and search their username. Creators build their personal brands around their online handles. If they’re on Instagram, you can bet they’re on TikTok, Twitter or YouTube using the very same handle (or slight variation). They may even have all their other online profiles listed on their Instagram profile using a service like LinkTree.