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How to Identify Influencers – #SimplyChat Recap

In an effort to create a community of social marketers that shares tips and tricks with each other, we decided to host a weekly Twitter chat. The first #SimplyChat was last Thursday, and the discussion topic was identifying influencers.

Influencer marketing is quite the buzz phrase in the marketing industry. The basics of what influencer marketing is and why it is beneficial for companies are pretty well known. We wanted to dig deeper to help you start taking action on creating an influencer program.

Last week’s #SimplyChat was the first of a three-part series on influencer marketing. The discussion topic was Identifying Influencers.

Q1: Before identifying influencers, what are the first few steps to launching a successful #influencermarketing program?

ComfortWriter hit home with her answer.

Before you can identify influencers, you need to have a clear idea of the outcomes you need and want.

Once you have these outcomes established, you need to really understand if an influencer will fit your brand, campaign, and messaging, as Cheval points out here.

Finally, Musole brings up the importance of thinking of metrics before beginning an influencer program.

Once you know the metrics you’ll be tracking, you know what to look for in influencers.

What marketers can take away: If you’re confused about how to start looking for influencers, define your goals. By taking a look at your goals, you’ll be able to determine how an influencer program can help you.

For example, if you want to increase engagement, you’ll be looking at things like total followers and engagement as a percent of followers. Or if you are looking to attract an audience with a certain style, you will need to look for influencers who are known for that style. The behavior on your potential influencer’s account should model the behavior you are looking to generate.

Q2: Aside from engagement and awareness metrics, what do you look for in a potential influencer?

Since looking at engagement and awareness metrics is often the first thing we check when considering potential influencers, I wanted to challenge everyone to go one step further. Here are some great questions to consider:

 

What marketers can take away: Looking at a potential influencer’s engagement and awareness metrics is important. But it shouldn’t be the only thing you look at when deciding if you should work with an influencer.

Take a look at who follows the influencer you’re considering. Compare this audience to your target audience to determine whether or not the influencer will be relevant to your audience.

Or use a social listening tool to measure sentiment and understand how the influencer is being talked about—just because the influencer is being talked about or interacted with doesn’t always mean it’s positive. Not only will you be able to see the sentiment scores around a potential influencer, you’ll also be able to see the most common post text, hashtags, mentions, emoticons, and topic keywords most associated with them in a word cloud. This can be used to determine how relevant and authentic a potential influencer is, or if they are connected with other influencers.

Q3: Where can you go to find influencers?

To answer this question, Aerolyn and Cheval shared different approaches to finding influencers.

Finding influencers on Twitter chats is a great way for B2B companies to find influencers. One trait of a great B2B influencer is thought-leader status within your specific industry. It’s also a great way to watch them in action. Twitter chats are fast-moving, so you’ll get to see their candid responses.

What marketers can take away: Where you go to find influencers depends on the goal of your program. For example, if you’re a B2C brand that wants to strengthen your presence on Instagram, you’d want to look at Instagram to learn about an influencer’s style. Or if you’re a B2B brand, you’ll want to hire a credible influencer who can reference LinkedIn for credibility.

We’ve discussed what to look for in influencers and where to find them; now it’s time to talk about techniques for finding them.

Q4: What are some techniques for finding influencers on #socialmedia platforms?

Katelyn Brower, who is actually a part of our influencer program, brought up these great tactics.

Many people who participate in #SimplyChat touched on these points at different parts of the discussion, so I thought I’d use our answer to sum it all up.

What marketers can take away: Give the tactics listed above a try to get a good idea of who is engaging with you. Is there one person or a few people who often engage with your brand, branded hashtags, or targeted keywords and topics? This could be a potential influencer. It’s time to dig a little deeper.

Once you’ve gotten through Q1-Q4, and you’ve found potential influencers, the next step is to make sure your potential influencers are a good fit.

Q5: How do you know if an influencer is a good fit for your brand?

Musole brought up the importance of discovering what it will be like to work with that potential influencer.

Comfort Writer said to compare their branding and strategy with your company’s.

Aerolyn looks at how that potential influencer will relate to your audience.

Martin checks to see if that potential influencer already loves your brand.

What marketers can take away: In order for an influencer to be effective, the influencer needs to resonate with your brand. For example, a brand like FitFabFun would be more likely to partner with a SeaGal rather than a Seahawks player—unless the Seahawks player was buying a subscription as a gift.

Q6: When identifying influencers, how can you ensure the content they make will be relevant to your brand and audience?

Once you’ve decided that an influencer is a good fit for your brand, and before you reach out, how will you know if the content they create will match your branding? Here’s what Katelyn and Aerolyn had to say.

Ensuring you have a good working relationship with a potential influencer is a great indication that the content they create will match your branding. The reason for this is that in a good working relationship, both the influencer and the brand will be able to find a middle ground so that it comes off as authentic to the influencer’s audience and to the brand’s audience.

Setting guidelines for influencers and explaining those guidelines is a great way to start a strong working relationship with an influencer. It gives them a starting point and an understanding of it.

What marketers can take away: B2B marketers should choose influencers who are experts in their field, while B2C marketers should be more focused on the influencer’s content, and how that content matches the style and voice of the brand.

When you’ve reached out to an influencer, be sure to get a feel for their communication style. How quickly do they respond? Are they open to feedback and edits on their work? Thinking about these two questions before you’ve committed to working with influencers is important because it speaks to what it will be like to work with them.

Aerolyn’s response is actually a great segue into this week’s topic: Working with influencers. Join us this Thursday at 11 AM PST!

Laurie Anne Nilo

I'm the Social Media Manager here at Simply Measured. I love all things wellness, coffee, watercolor, and travel.

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