While it's become a much bigger consideration in recent years, influencer marketing, as a practice, has actually existed for a very long time. In the past, however, influencers were only on TV or in magazines, and unlike social media, TV and newspapers are limited, which led to a situation where a select number of celebrities were able to charge tons of money for making an ad for Pepsi or Swatch in order to influence consumer behavior.

With the birth of social platforms, everything changed. The Internet has no limits, there can be as many influencers as the world requires. They can be of any age and social status, and in any area of expertise (or no area of expertise). And they can work with any brand.

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Today, digital influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of marketing. According to a 2017 study by the Influencer Marketing hub, every $1 spent on influencer marketing brings a return of $6.50, and the top 13% of businesses from the study received a return of at least $20 per dollar spent.

And there's a real reason why digital influencer marketing is so effective. Through targeted influencers, you're able to gain exposure to the exact consumer audience you need for your business. Sure, you can still use major stars like traditional influencer campaigns of days past, but the modern landscape enables brands to also focus on people with smaller, more engaged audiences - audiences which more specifically align to your business niche.

Niche influencers tend to charge far less, and can be just as effective. The only remaining challenge then is finding the right ones to work with.

Luckily, the software isn’t falling behind - a number of tools now exist which can help you find influencers online and reach out to them. Here are some options to help you find your ideal influencer match.

1. Awario

Awario is a social listening tool which monitors major social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit) as well as news, blogs, forums, and the web in general for mentions of your brand and/or any other keyword.

This can be a great tool for finding brand advocates and niche influencers. To get the list of the former, you can monitor for mentions of your own brand and track the most active advocates. To get the list of the latter, it’s important to monitor industry keywords (e.g., “time management app”, “time management tool”, “time management software”) and your brands' competitors. Awario ranks social media influencers and bloggers based on their reach and number of followers or daily visits to the blog.

Pricing: Influencer search is included in all plans as well as in the free trial, with plans starting at $29/month.

2. Klear

Klear is a freemium tool made specifically for influencer marketing. Klear breaks down influencers in 60,000 topic categories, and analyzes their demographics and psychographics. It’s essentially a database of influencers, so the search doesn’t take much time. You can filter the influencer lists by social media network, the size of their audience, their skills, location, the keywords they mention, as well as by the demographics of both the influencers and their audience.

Klear also enables you to measure the results of your influencer marketing campaigns in order to figure out which ones work best.

Pricing: Freemium, with pricing for paid plans available upon request.

3. Traackr

Traackr is an influencer marketing platform that does influencer marketing from start to finish - from finding social media influencers to measuring the results of the campaign.

The tool makes influencer discovery pretty straightforward due to its own influencer database. When searching for the influencer that fits your brand best, you can filter the findings by the influencer’s social media network, topic, language, location, age, gender, and brand affinities. The same filters can be applied to the influencer’s followers.

Other features include the option to organize your influencer campaigns in the app, and measure their total results.

4. Upfluence

Upfluence is another influencer marketing platform, which includes a database of nearly three million influencers.

The tool analyzes each influencers’ niche, reach, engagement, location, and demographics, while also revealing the influencer’s habitual post times and the type of content they post most often.

Upfluence also seeks to distinguish between real and fake influencers. It can also show you the influencer’s price for posting on YouTube and Instagram straight away. For Instagram influencers, you can even analyze followers’ brand affinities, cultural interests, and more.

As with Traackr, there are also features which can help you organize a campaign and measure the results.

Pricing: Starts at $795 per month for 500 contacts.

5. BuzzSumo

BuzzSumo is a tool used for content and influencer discovery.

The two are often connected - the most popular content in your niche is very likely created by niche influencers. You can also use BuzzSumo to find authors and creators with engaged audiences on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the web. The tool analyzes engagement around the posts, and breaks down influencers' accounts by their type, i.e. blogger, influencer, journalist.

Pricing: Starts at $99 per month.

6. Heepsy

Heepsy is another influencer discovery tool, which includes a database of seven million influencers, all of which have more than 5,000 followers. Heepsy filters out suspicious and fake accounts from its lists, and also discloses information influencers’ posting frequencies and growth rates.

You can choose the influencers most suitable for your brand by using filters like category, area, engagement level, and more. To speed up your process, Heepsy also estimates influencers’ cost per post.

You can also create influencer lists, export data, and reach out to influencers straight from the platform.

Pricing: Paid plans start at $49 per month.

7. HypeAuditor

This is a tool made specifically for YouTube and Instagram - which makes sense, seeing as the majority of social media influencers use these two platforms.

HypeAuditor finds influencers that are right for your brand, based on reach, demographics, audience language, location, age, gender, and engagement. And like many other tools, HypeAuditor pays close attention to figuring out whether the influencer is real.

Pricing: The tool has a free option, a pay-as-you-go option, and a plan option that starts from $299 per month.

8. NinjaOutreach

This is a platform which will help you find Instagram and Twitter influencers.

Again, it’s a database - once you choose your niche and your location, the tool will display a list of relevant influencers, along with their social media profiles and emails. NinjaOutreach also displays each influencers' engagement level, and how much the influencer charges per post.

The built-in CRM ensures that you can start your outreach effort straight away, and you can track your conversation history, email opens, clicks, replies, and more.

Pricing: There’s a free 7-day trial, with plans starting at $49 per month.

9. BuzzStream

BuzzStream might’ve started as a simple link-building tool, but it grew into so much more than that.

At this point, BuzzStream is a relationship-building platform, which has an influencer search tool built-in. The tool finds influencers based on the online content that's relevant to your keywords. You get an overview of their social profiles and contact information, which can set up your subsequent outreach campaign.

The tool also has team collaboration features and options to measure the results of each campaign.

Pricing: Plans start from $24 per month, depending on how many people you're looking to reach out to.

10. GroupHigh

GroupHigh calls itself “the world’s largest blogger database”. Its primary goal is finding bloggers and listing their contact details. Those contact details include social media profiles, which can help you find relevant influencers as a result.

GroupHigh also searches for influencers on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube - the three main platforms for influencer marketing today. The tool finds influencers that are “loyal” and “engaged” and filters out fake accounts. The app lists engagement rates and recent content for every influencer.

After you have all the people you need, you can also build targeted outreach lists using the tool.

Pricing: There’s a free 7-day trial. Paid plans start at $179 per month.

Which tool should you choose?

Most of the tools on the list are made specifically for influencer marketing from start to finish. If that’s your goal - try a couple of them and choose the one you like most.

If you want to use influencer marketing as a part of your overall digital marketing strategy, choose the tools that provide you with more features, such as Awario or BuzzStream.

In any case, some of the best tools to find influencers have a free trial, which means you can try before you buy and get the one which is right for your business.