How to Recruit Social Media Influencers for Market Research Studies

social media influencer taking a picture with beauty products

Content creators and bloggers have taken the marketing world by storm. As a result, many brands are turning to social media influencers to promote their brand, products, and services.

If you're new to influencer marketing, you likely have a lot of questions.

  • Where do I recruit social media influencers to partner with?
  • How much does influencer marketing cost?
  • How can I build a successful influencer marketing program?

We'll ask you one question in return: Who better to answer these questions than the content creators themselves?

Market research is a great first step to mastering influencer marketing.

It provides brands with the insights needed to target, plan, and launch a successful influencer referral program.

Because this is a newer marketing strategy for most businesses, it is critical to rely on data-driven insights and not best guesses or assumptions.

The case study below outlines how our qualitative recruiting company found this exact audience for a major social media platform.

Report: A Brand's Guide to Working with Influencers

CTA A brand's guide to working with influencers


What is Influencer Marketing?

At a basic level, influencer marketing centers around endorsements and brand mentions from people who have a large social media following. Perhaps a decade ago, this audience was exclusive to celebrities and household names.

However, the accessibility of social media allowed non-famous people to throw their hats in the ring.

From bloggers to YouTubers to Tik-Tokers, there are more opportunities for people to develop a personality online -- one that other people find trustworthy and a joy to watch.

Influencer marketing works because brands can utilize the hundreds of thousands (if not more) of followers some content creators have. If a social media influencer recommends a product or service, their followers will likely go out and purchase it for themselves.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Influencer-individals have dedicated their careers to growing a social following. They are viewed as experts in their space (beauty, fitness, cooking, etc.). Their word is gold. If they recommend a brand, their thousands of followers are likely to follow suit.

Benefits of Influencer Marketing

In a recent study, 89% of brands reported the ROI of influencer marketing is comparable to or better than other channels (Sprout Social). At this point, there's no denying its effectiveness. 

The benefits of Instagram influencer marketing include:

  • Improving brand awareness
  • Growing versatility and reach
  • Build trust and authority through third-party recommendations
  • Effortlessly drive purchasing decisions 
  • Connect with Gen Z and Millenial consumers

💡 The Key Takeaway: In the marketing world, trends come and go. It seems like influencer marketing is here to stay. If you're looking to grow brand recognition and reach it is worth exploring it as an overall advertising strategy.

How to Create a Successful Influencer Marketing Program

89% of marketers agree that ROI from influencer marketing is the same or better than other channels (Mediakix).

With that being said, it is one of the more difficult strategies to navigate as a business.

This was surely the case for a recent client of ours who is an image sharing and social media platform.

While they knew the importance of working with influencers, they struggled with retaining a network of content creators and brand advocates.

The social media platform needed feedback from this target audience to strategize and perfect its influencer referral program.

Here's how we delivered insights from content creators and bloggers to help maximize the success of their program.


The Solution: Recruiting Social Media Influencers for IDIs

The social media platform contacted our team for help finding and recruiting social media influencers for a market research study.

Because the objective of the study was to gather detailed feedback from content creators, Drive Research suggested conducting 10 in-depth interviews.

This type of market research is great for one-on-one interactions and gaining deeper insights into the opinions and motivations of participants.

The Audience: Outlining the Type of Content Creators Recruited

In the initial conversations with the social media platform, our team learned more about the specific type of influencers the client was looking for feedback from.

The target audience of social media influencers included:

  • Content creators in the U.S.
  • Influencers who publish monetized content regularly on at least 2 of the following platforms:
    • Pinterest
    • Instagram
    • YouTube
    • TikTok
    • A personal blog
  • Recruit 1 to 2 interviews with edge cases for Patreon, OnlyFans, Clubhouse, Medium, LinkedIn, etc.
  • Influencers who produce content in the following niches:
    • Home décor/DIY
    • Food/cooking
    • Beauty/grooming
    • Fashion
    • Lifestyle
    • Travel
    • Fitness
  • Content producers in nano ($1K-$10K), micro ($10K-$50K), mid-tier ($50K-$500K), and macro ($500K+) annually.

The incidence rate of the study is expected to be 10% or higher.

The Approach: How We Recruit Social Media Influencers

Our qualitative recruiting firm offers end-to-end project management for all our market research services.

We follow a streamlined and proven approach to provide the most qualified participants for qualitative research.

In this section, you will find the step-by-step process for how we found social media influencers for the in-depth interviews (IDIs).

1. Kick-off Meeting with Stakeholders of Social Media Platform

An official project kick-meeting is common practice for our market research team. It gives Drive Research a chance to meet with the client stakeholders and learn more about the project objectives.

Oftentimes the discussions had in the kick-off meeting are what drives the questions asked in the recruitment screener survey for a qualitative study.

2. Design a Recruitment Screen to Qualify Content Creators

A recruitment screener is a crucial part of any qualitative market research project. It helps distinguish what respondents are qualified for the study and those that are not.

The recruitment screener survey for the social media influencer study included questions such as:

  • Do you have access to a laptop/computer with a camera/microphone and reliable internet connection?
  • Do you create original digital content with the goal of sharing it with others?
  • Do you publish or post content that you make as a full-time job, a part-time job, or a hobby?
  • How often do you create original digital content?
  • Which of the following best describes the category of the content you create?
  • On which platforms do you regularly publish your content?
  • About how many followers do you have on your main platform?
  • Are you currently making money off of the content you create?
  • Roughly what percentage of your personal (individual) income is from content creation?
  • Which method(s) do you generate revenue from your content creation?

After the survey is designed, our team begins programming and testing to prepare for the start of recruitment.

Recommended Reading: What is a Recruitment Screener in Market Research?

3. Begin Recruiting Social Media Influencers

There are various approaches to finding participants for market research. Most commonly qualitative recruiting firms rely on online research panels.

However, for this specific project, Drive Research knew an online panel would not provide the client with the type of influencer they were looking for.

Instead, our team used a mix of social media ads on Facebook and grassroots efforts to recruit influencers for the interviews.

The grassroots efforts included researching different influencer social accounts and messaging them via direct message or email.

All recruitment outreach methods included details of the study and a link to take the online recruitment screener.

Those deemed qualified for the IDIs based on their answers to the survey received follow-up phone calls to continue to the next steps of the project.

4. Schedule In-Depth Interviews with Content Curators

Our team conducted follow-up phone calls with participants that were labeled a “qualified complete” through the screener as well as the client.

During the phone calls, our market research firm confirmed participants' answers from the survey and provided available time slots for the interviews.

The client also shared additional information for the interview such as links and login information that Drive Research passed along to participants.

5. Conducting the Interviews with Influencers

To assure a perfect show rate, the Drive Research team carried out several communication tactics with the participants.

Our qualitative recruiting process includes:

  • Sending a confirmation email and calendar invitation where participants must RSVP “Yes.”
  • Scheduling reminder phone calls a few days before the Zoom interviews.
  • Sending a reminder text the day of the interview.

While our qualitative recruiting company offers moderating and reporting services, the client chose to conduct the interviews in-house.

The social media influencers were required to attend the interviews through an online/video platform organized by the social media platform client.

Project Highlights

  • A social media platform hired our market research company for a qualitative study
  • The in-depth interviews (IDIs) took place in April in 2021
  • Drive Research recruited 10 content creators for the IDIs.
  • Each interview lasted 60-minutes with 30-minutes of pre-work for each participant before the session begins.
  • Participants received a $150 stipend as a thank you for the pre-assignment, feedback, and time to attend the IDI.
  • Drive Research processed the incentives as Amazon gift cards within 24-hours of the end of the interviews.

The Results: Achieving a Perfect Show Rate

As a rule of thumb, Drive Research overrecruits for all of our qualitative recruiting studies. For instance, our social media platform client wanted to conduct 10 interviews.

Therefore, our team scheduled 10 interviews with content creators as well as 3 backup influencers in case people canceled the interview last minute.  

Our qualitative recruitment efforts resulted in 40 qualified participants that the client was able to review and select what influencers they wanted to move forward with.

The market research interviews had a perfect show rate, with 10 in-depth interviews with a variety of content creators, bloggers, and influencers.

Contact Our Team to Recruit Influencers for Market Research

Influencer marketing is a new and growing strategy for businesses everywhere. With little background on this type of marketing, many brands are turning to market research to learn more.

Whether it be an online survey with 400 responses or hour-long interviews with a handful of content curators, organizations are looking for feedback from social media influencers.

Drive Research is a full-service market research company located in Upstate New York. Our team partners with brands across the country to execute both quantitative and qualitative studies.

Interested in commissioning a market research study with bloggers, content creators, and influencers? Contact us below.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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