By now everyone knows what an influencer is. If you don’t, where have you been? Get with the program! Sorry for outburst, but you need to know your influencers. Influencers are the men and women online and off-line who can impact the decisions of your target audience. People listen to them, follow them and believe in what they say and promote. You want these people to be on your side and know who you are.
There are a few things that you need to do in order to understand your influencers and use them to your full advantage.
1. Know how you can find them
Get to know all the online tools that are available to you. Tools like Kred and Klout are a great place to start, just make sure that you are looking at people who are in your industry. You can do this by searching for a hashtag and see who the most influential people are using it. Then, there are sites like Traackr that are made specifically to sort through the digital world to find your influencers. This will help you see who your influencers influence and who those people influence! It’s a full-service tool that does all the dirty work for you.
Even if you start using tools to find your influencers, you should also manually monitor social sites. This will help you stay a part of the conversation in real time. The best way is to start following popular hashtags for your industry and see who the most active people are with the largest audience or engagements. If you are using LinkedIn to find your influencers, monitor industry groups daily! See who posts often and starts conversations that have tons of engagement. Those are the people you want on your side.
2. Understand there are 2 different types
The big influencers are going to be those people in your industry or target areas that have a huge reach and I mean HUGE. Those are the people with over 10K of followers who get tons of retweets, shares, etc. a day.
The small influencers are those who don’t have a huge reach, but still have a large following. These are the people who have become trusted experts and are actively engaging with people in your industry on a daily basis. In their twitter feed you may see them having more conversations than posting things themselves.
Now, I’m going to go back on my word a little bit – there can be a hybrid influencer. Someone who has a huge audience, but also actively engages with the community. Those are the people who are extremely passionate about what they do and want other people to know about it. They can be small time, but have a lot of people that trust in them.
3. Have a plan in place
You can’t just start writing to influencers and asking them to promote your brand. Well, actually you can but I wouldn’t suggest it. You need to have a plan in place. Know what your goals are before you start the nurturing process. Do you want them to help you build brand credibility, drive sales or increase content shares? You need to know to this in order to know how to approach them.
Some of the influencers you contact may be looking for you to return the favor in one way or another. Others, if they believe in the content and truly enjoy it will share it to spread the knowledge with their industry as an expert – no hidden agenda.
The way you measure the results is by simply monitoring the chatter online. Did you get more follows? Are more conversions coming to your website from social? Are people talking about your content? Then it is working!
Those tips should get you on your way to knowing your influencers. More research should still be done on your end because you want to make sure you’re getting the right people on your side. And what about brand advocates? Are they influencers? This may be a debate for another time.
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