Influencers have always had a level of importance in marketing but nowhere is that more evident and visible than in digital marketing today. Influencers are there for anyone to find if you only have the tools, and vetting their true sphere of influence is as easy as checking their friends or followers list. Working to ingratiate your brand with social media influencers can be challenging but doesn’t have to be impossible–it just requires persistence, a few good tools and some killer content. Today we’ll cover how to find social media influencers to collaborate with to engage your audience and increase your ROI.
Ferret them out
Finding an influencer for outreach and who is likely to share your content doesn’t have to be challenging. There are plenty of tools on the market (including Socialdraft SmartID) that will help you determine a few top influencers to approach, depending on your topic of choice. Here is a list of a few web apps (and their pricing structure) to help you find influencers:
Little Bird: Pricing is not available on site.
Follower Wonk: free – $79 per month.
Klout: Free for basic, inquire directly with them to set up Klout perks.
Kred: Free to $83 per year (with annual signup)
Traakr: Pricing is not available on site.
BuzzSumo: $99-$999 per month
These web apps help brands and marketers to put a finger on their most important influencers for marketing and then give you tools and ideas about outreach to snag their interest. Having a shortlist of individuals or brands who actively promote content similar to yours can help you not only see who might be interested in supporting your brand or cause, but also give you ideas about the type of content that truly resonates, no matter how it is shared.
One thing tools like the ones listed above do is quantify the amplification and reach of influencer marketing, often giving you a easy to use dashboard with the best prospects highlighted. These paid tools and others like them can save social media marketers a significant amount of time by automating some of the background digging and research required.
Socialdraft works on increasing the likelihood that your influencer will respond. Socialdraft gives you the most influential people who have already interacted with your posts, why they are important, and links to their social networks so you can easily reach out to them. This way you know exactly who you need to engage on social. On top of that you can use the Photos feature to find those who are creating content about your brand or business on Instagram. It’s an incredibly powerful tool.
Watching hashtags to see what’s trending in certain areas of the country or world might give you some ideas about how to join the conversation with trendsetters, but few brands are at the level that they can genuinely enter the discussion without seeming to try too hard. The majority of brands are likely to be at the local or micro-trend level, which means you’ll need to filter keywords and themes a little more closely to ensure you are being authentic when you begin your influencer outreach.
Make great stuff
It may sound hokey, but social media algorithms are created in a way that they reward good content no matter the size of your audience, and actively downplay content that isn’t as engaging. One of the surest ways to ensure that your content is seen is to simplify your messaging and distill down to the smallest and tightest form possible. Today’s social media engine is always moving, so if you don’t grab your customer’s attention quickly you may not get another chance.
There are tools to help support your research into content such as Topsy, which can help unearth older, but still influential, tweets by others in your niche. Since Topsy interacts directly with Twitter, it is incredibly effective as finding the most influential and shared topics and engaging content. Another cheap tool to consider is reddit. Millions of users vote up posts based on their interest levels on the content, giving you a ripe field for data mining. Just a warning, the reddit community is one of the hardest to penetrate, so thread with caution (and check out our articles giving you the skinny on how to market on reddit).
Get creative in your research
Sometimes simple is better, and it doesn’t get much simpler than bit.ly. Did you know that by pasting the link of prime blog content into bit.ly you can dig back to who has shared the link, and also how it was shared? Finding a significant number of shares via social media (not “other”) might mean that the social media influencer who shared the content would be open to sharing other, similar content that you create.
Personalize your Engagement
When you do have your social media influencer targets, don’t be a jerk and don’t start selling right away. You would not walk up to someone you want to date and invite them to get intimate immediately. First you’d introduce yourself, have a little conversation (tweets & engagements), do something nice for them (retweets/facebook shares), engage them a little more…then…and only then…should you ask them out on a date. This is when the fun begins. And please…if you automate your outreach – be very careful. You can misspell names, get companies wrong…ultimately, we suggest you handle these on a case to case basis. After all, they are influencers and you only get one chance.