How to Define, Identify and Engage Social Media Influencers For Your Brand

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    How to Define, Identify and Engage SocialMedia Influencers For Your BrandBy Nate Smitha April 2, 2014

    286 0 19 100 5

    Social media influencers are everywhere, and they are talking about your brand. This is why

    social media marketers are constantly buzzing with talk about influencers.

    The term influencer is used everywhere, and it has become ubiquitous in how we discuss

    valuable relationships on social.

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    The important question though, is what does influencer mean for your brand? Do you know

    how many influencers are talking about your brand? Do you measure how many influential

    posts mention your brand each day?

    To answer these questions you need to understand who qualifies as an influencer. In this

    post well talk about:

    How you define influencers.

    What you can do to find influencers.

    Ways to engage them that can drive value for your business.

    Understanding these core concepts will help you develop an influencer campaign that delivers

    real results.

    1) Defining Influence

    In order to define influence, its best to start by thinking about what aspects give an individual

    the power to influence others within their social sphere. The potential to influence can be

    boiled down to three attributes that are important for marketers to think about.

    Those attributes are: Relevance, Reach, and Resonance.

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    You may of heard of these before; theyre common criteria used by influencer identification

    tools, and Altimeter has referred to them as The Pillars of Influence

    Lets quickly address each attribute:

    Relevance: The creation of content that is relevant to your brand, or relevant to a topic

    thats important to your brand

    Reach: The ability to reach an audience that is valuable to your brand

    Resonance: The proliferation or engagement with relevant content by an audience that is

    valuable to your brand

    Think about it, all three qualities are needed for a person to be considered an influencer for

    your brand. For example, a celebrity with a huge audience that retweets everything they post,

    isnt an influencer for your brand, until they start talking about your brand.

    Note: To be an influencer, an individual doesnt always need to reach a large audience,

    sometimes reaching a small niche audience can be just as valuable.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that just because someone is influential on one topic, it

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    doesnt mean theyll be considered influential on another. For example, if someone is an

    influencer on all things automotive, it doesnt mean that their posts about mobile devices will

    carry the same weight.

    Within our own personal networks, we recognize what individuals are experts on given topic;

    the same is true on social media.

    2) Deciding How To Engage Influencers

    Most social media marketers would say that theyre already engaging with influencers, and

    would probably also say theyre seeking to grow that engagement. But engaging with

    influencers can mean a lot of different things, because there are many ways to engage with

    users in a social space.

    Most brands have a process in place to respond to influencers that mention the brand.

    Simply Measureds Twitter reports allow you to email alerts to yourself when an influencer

    with specific criteria mentions your brand or keyword:

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    This is an example of reactive influencer engagement, but its also important to establish a

    plan for proactively engaging influencers.

    Does your brand have a plan in place for influencer outreach? Knowing how you want

    influencers to engage with your brand will be important for how you discover new

    influencers, and identify engagement opportunities.

    There are many ways to engage influencers, some examples are to:

    Have influencers recognize advances your brand is making in the market

    Sway influencers to amplify a single campaign or piece of branded content

    Entice influencers to follow your social accounts and regularly champion brand content

    Persuade influencers to create original and valuable content for your brand

    Encouraging different engagement actions requires identifying influencers with different levels

    of brand advocacy. The degree to which someone is likely to advocate your brand can be

    determined by their social behavior (ex. what they post and how they interact with your

    brand, as well as your competitors).

    The best and safest way to approach engaging new influencers is to start small, make them

    aware of product announcements and gauge their response, before calling on them to

    support your content and campaigns.

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    3) Identifying Potential Influencers

    Before you can start proactively engaging influencers, you have to identify them first. This is

    where it can get tricky to expand your list of influencers beyond the group of influencers who

    already talking about your brand.

    Ill start by saying that Ive used a variety of industry leading tools designed specifically for

    influencer identification and while some serious improvements have been made, these

    solutions still have their drawbacks.

    The drawbacks result from one major issue; context. Like the technical challenges that plague

    sentiment analysis, keyword queries and topical attribution are not yet advanced enough to

    always identify relevancy and they rarely provide an accurate picture of brand advocacy.

    The result can often be a confusing list of influencers, albeit with links to a collection of

    social profiles, that are mostly on topic but that present only a few immediate engagement

    opportunities for your brand. For that reason, a human touch is still very much a part of the

    equation when it comes to identifying and vetting influencers.

    Thats why I prefer to dive directly into the data I have, and the data I usually start with is

    Twitter. Why just Twitter data when Im looking for social influencers across networks?

    I start with Twitter because its still the primary channel for syndicating content from a wide

    variety of sources, especially blogs where more in depth original thought leadership exists.

    Twitter data is also an exceptionally open and public.

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    By setting up a report for a keyword, or collection of keywords, Im able to find users who

    are relevant to a given topic like the example above. Once Ive run my report, I can see how

    frequently individuals posts are pulled into that topic to determine their degree of relevance

    for the topic that Im interested in.

    With relevance established, I can look at how frequently those on topic posts are engaged

    with to establish resonance. I can determine whether their content actually gets shared, and

    by running a report on a group of potential influencers, I can analyze the quality of their

    follower network to make sure they are a valuable audience for my brand.

    Audience quality for potential influencers plays into reach. If my topic is niche, I might be fine

    with accepting influencers with a smaller number of followers. If Im looking to drive broad

    awareness, Im going to be selective and only accept influencers with extremely large follower

    audiences.

    Since Im already in the data, I can use keyword filters (for my brand, products and

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    Nate SmithaI'm a Marketing Manager at Simply Measured. It's my job to deliver content in a way

    that engages and informs social media professionals. My areas of expertise are

    marketing automation, conversion and social media analytics.

    competitors) within the same dataset to help determine the level of brand advocacy. I can

    make informed outreach decisions based on whether individuals are talking just about my

    brand, or also discussing my competitors, and whether or not theyre taking sides.

    If the devil is in the details and the details are in the data, I think thats where we as informed

    marketers should also be.

    Simply Measureds full suite of analytics put that data at your fingertips, with easy to

    understand and share reports on all your favorite social networks. Get your FREE 14 day trial

    today:

    Start Your Trial

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    2 Comments Simply Measured

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    Reply

    Tessa 9 months ago

    Great information

    www.fineandcountryng.comwww.udookonjo.com

    Reply

    Blakeley derrick a year ago

    Great post! I especially like your methods for engaging users. I've been diving into social media research lately andthis was very insightful. I'll look more into simply measured to measure social media analytics. Also, if you find thetime, check out my blog and let me know what you think. Thanks for all of the information

    http://blakeleyderrick.blogspo...

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