How To Identify and Engage Social Media Influencers for Your Brand
We’re all at least somewhat familiar with the concept of social media marketing (SMM). In the broadest context, SMM is a form of online marketing that uses various social networking platforms as marketing tools. SMM has been around just about as long as social media websites. However, a newer, more focused subset of SMM is social media influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is the process of developing relationships with influential people who can help you increase your product’s visibility. Take your marketing to the next level and learn how your brand can identify and engage social media influencers.
So, you might wonder, what makes a someone a social media influencer? Well, the answer lies in a simple rearrangement of those three words. A social media influencer is an individual who has influence on social media. It really is that simple. Social media influence may come because a person is a celebrity like Taylor Swift or Ellen DeGeneres; but, for business marketing purposes, a more effective social media influencer is someone with a reputation as an expert in your field or industry.
Engaging with social media influencers helps you increase awareness for your brand, increase your own online reputation, and create brand advocates. It also helps improve SEO.
Here are 4 steps to help you identify and engage social media influencers for your business:
1. Search for social media influencers.
While you may already know of a few influencers in your industry, you may miss out on some giants unless you do some social media monitoring to ferret them out. Here are two ways to do that.
- Research hashtags that influencers might be using. By tuning in to conversations surrounding these hashtags, you can identify the active talkers in these categories.
- Set-up Google alerts for keywords that pertain to your industry to identify people who actively write about topics relevant to your business.
2. Evaluate social media influencers.
There are a four important factors to consider when evaluating someone’s value as an influencer for your business:
- Relevance – Is the content they share on social media and post on their blog relevant to your business?
- Reach – Is their follower base large enough to improve your own current reach?
- Resonance – Are they engaging with a valuable audience through relevant content?
- Rank – Does their website or blog rank high enough in the search engine results page (SERP) that they receive lots of traffic themselves.
Here are some helpful ideas for evaluating influencers:
Find their Klout score. The Klout score is a metric that ranks social media users with a numerical value between 1 and 100. The higher someone’s Klout score, the more influential they are. An individual’s Klout score is determined by a number of factors including: followers, likes, comments, re-tweets, mentions, connections, etc.
Researching individual social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. will show you how many followers someone has on each network. You can also check their level of engagement on each network, and to look at the type and tone of their conversations to ensure they’re relevant to your audience and respectful of others in the conversation.
You can also reverse-engineer your search and evaluation process by using Google. For example, if you’re looking for social media influencers in the hospitality industry, you could do a Google search for “hospitality blogs”. Then review top-ranking blogs on the first page for relevance. Next, check that blogger on Klout.com, as well as their social profiles, to determine if they are a social media influencer you want to engage with.
3. Engage with social media influencers
Now that you’ve identified the social media influencers with whom you wish to engage, it’s time to do just that – engage. The best way to do that is being interacting with them through to content they’re sharing and insert yourself into the conversations they’re engaged in – in an appropriate way, of course. What’s appropriate? Simple; be relevant and add value. Whether you’re commenting on one of their Facebook posts, participating in a Twitter chat they’re hosting, or commenting on one of their blog posts; if your comments are relevant and add value, you’ll be noticed and responded to – maybe not right away, but eventually. And that’s when the real relationship begins.
4. Nurture the relationship.
Once your relationship with the influencer begins, things change. You’re not merely engaging with an influencer, you’re engaging with a friend and colleague; and you must nurture that relationship for long-term success. One way to do that is to create a separate Twitter list for each of your new-found friends so you can keep track of what they’re talking about. Whenever you have a spare moment during the day, go through your Twitter list and send a friendly tweet to some of them.
Another idea is to use the Hootsuite social syndicator to keep tabs of your social media influencers’ blogs. This is a great way to follow their blog posts and leave comments, as well as share their blog posts, with attribution, on your own social media pages. Gestures like these will remind them that you remember and value them, and go a long toward their valuing and remembering you.