Influencer marketing is all about building meaningful human connections with your target audience. This is particularly important in developer marketing since winning the hearts and minds of developers across diverse global communities is not easy.
In part one of our influencer marketing series, we explored what to include in an influencer program to make it effective, how to define influencers based on different developer audiences, and which factors to consider to maximize their reach over time. In this post, we’ll focus on getting started by finding the right influencers for your developer marketing objectives - covering influencer identification and selection tactics.
Identifying potential influencers
Developers don’t have an issue with being influenced. Like anyone else, they follow experts, thought leaders, and innovators who provide inspiring and informative content. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that they’ll be able to spot shallow marketing tactics a mile away. And they will have an issue with this type of advertising.
Therefore, the key to effective influencer marketing is building trust. Influencers whose followers align with your target audience add value through their content and have the potential to create affinity for your product or brand. There are plenty of directions a partnership with an influencer could go in: It could be an organic partnership that focuses on engagement with existing users of your product, or a paid product feature that reaches new developers in your target audience. The right fit is always context-dependent and successful partnerships start with clear objectives.
With this in mind, we’ll cover five steps to help you find the right influencers for your developer marketing needs.
#1 Define your objectives
Any influencer marketing program should start with specific and well-defined objectives. These objectives could focus on a specific KPI, like driving hackathon sign-ups, or a long-term goal, like building brand awareness. Be as clear as possible! This first step will inform what types of influencers you need and what range of content you need them to deliver.
Let’s follow an example from a natural language processing (NLP) platform in the AI and machine learning (AI/ML) industry. In this case, the client had two initial objectives for their influencer marketing program:
- Promote NLP to a broader developer audience through educational content
- Drive API subscribers through product-specific content
These objectives are the starting points for your research into potential influencers.
#2 Build an influencer matrix
As you start identifying potential influencers, you’ll need a way to categorize them according to the needs of your program. Creating an influencer matrix will help with this.
We recommend setting this matrix up with the following dimensions:
- Columns that describe the type of knowledge or expertise an influencer has
- Rows that describe the role an influencer has on their channel
Here are the columns (left) and rows (right) that we defined in our NLP example: