Marketing across social media channels have taken a completely new turn.
Earlier brand ambassadors, who were mainly celebrities, had a mass appeal and could influence the masses to take a purchase-decision. Today, the fine line between being a celebrity brand endorser and an influencer has blurred with the rise of a new category called – ‘influencers‘ and has led to the creation of a new branch of marketing called ‘influencer marketing‘.
The masses echo what the influencers recommend, be it a business, a brand, a person or even a concept! Because of this tremendous potential brought forth by influencers, businesses target them to increase their brand visibility and subsequently increase sales. They aim to identify and reach out to their influencers on social media platforms, who are instrumental in driving people to the sales funnel. Influencer outreach has in fact, become one of the mainstays of internet marketing.
But the question is – how do you identify potential influencers in your niche? Or who can influence the masses and make them take a call to action? And most importantly, how are you going to reach out to them as a part of your strategy?
Identify Potential Influencers Based on Traits
Influencers vary according to different industry verticals. This is why, it is important that you focus on finding influencers who are relevant to your industry. You can do this by understanding the traits or the attributes of influencers and using them to your advantage.
Here is a list of some of the most common traits of influencers on social media channels.
- They are frontrunners and get involved with their communities, charities and all the latest trends taking place.
- They are well-connected and have large social networks/social circles.
- They have an impact on others. More often than not, influencers have an expertise in subject matter and hence, people in their network trust their word.
- They are have diverse interests. This means that apart from their areas of expertise, they have ample knowledge about other fields in which they are interested. They tend to invest their time in acquiring more information related to the things they are passionate about.
- They set trends. Influencers are the leaders of the pack and they are the ones who set trends for others to follow or adopt.
Based on these traits, you can easily identify an influencer if you happen to come across one on any social media platform.
Use Social Media Management Tools
The traits that define influencers may be immensely helpful in identifying them, but this approach can be tedious if your business is huge and you are short of time. This is where you can use some social media management tools, which not only help you discover influencers but also filter, manage, monitor and engage with them along with amplifying your marketing strategy.
Let us take the example of Klout to understand how this works.
When your businesses’ social media accounts (be it profiles or pages) are connected with the tool, all that you need to do is to begin your search for influencers and connect with them. Klout assigns Klout Score, a number between 1-100 that represents influence of brands, businesses or people.
Influencers in various niches have profiles with a higher Klout Score. This is how you can filter them out. Alternatively, you can also search influencers by name (provided that you already have a list with you) and location. It basically depends on your requirements and your comfort zone along with the features and functionalities of the tool that you are using.
But these tools also have their flipsides. For instance, they offer minimal or limited interactions and leave you with no option but to follow different approaches tailored for different social media platforms to connect and interact with your influencers.
Analyze the Content Posted by Them
Another smart approach to filter out influencers in your niche, is to analyze the content posted/shared by them. For this, you need to :
- Search for high quality content that has been shared by the masses maximum number of times
- Check out how popular the content is and how well-received it is on different platforms
- Research about the kind of websites or social media platforms on which they have posted their content
- Find out who are the authors of the content
- Know who have shared the content
- Use analytical tools to find out what is the extent of their influence viz the number of followers they have, their engagement rates etc.
This will help you to get a better idea as to who the influencers are in your niche and also, learn about the type of work that they do.
Bond With the Influencers in Your Niche
Once you know who your influencers are, make it a point to bond with them. Since influencers have their own agendas, you need to find out what exactly are they looking forward to and align your marketing strategies to the same.
Do this by –
- Commenting on their work
- Following the people in their network
- Actively engaging in discussions with them on various platforms
- Mentioning them when you share any content posted by them
- Scheduling an expert interview with them for your website or blog
- Collaborating with them for your marketing campaigns
- Asking them to write for you
However, don’t go overboard while approaching them. Say for instance, keep your likes and comments to a bare minimum or use them only when they are relevant and heck your comments and steer clear of making any controversial statements just to get their attention.
Also, don’t bombard their mailboxes with emails as an act of ‘following up’. If they do not reply to your mails, even after a reminder, there are chances that they do not wish to communicate further. Take it as a hint and move on.
Keeping all these ‘influencer etiquettes’ in mind will help you foster a long-lasting bond with them.
These are some of the tried and tested methods that will help you discover and reach out to the influencers in your niche. Have any other pointer that we didn’t mention? Do share them with us via your comments!