Influencer marketing is the next big thing on the internet or digital marketing. Marketers generate $6.5 on every dollar they spend on it. Customers acquired through influencer marketing have
#1. Select the genre
Select one or two genres but preferably not more. Examples include design, marketing, technology, fashion, etc. You can also choose a specialized sub-segment or niche like content marketing, Android applications etc. depending on what defines your brand more accurately.
#2. Search on Twitter
Most of the influencers derive their power from massive followers on social media. Influencers frequently post on Twitter about their niche topics. Use Twitter search to find people who are tweeting on your genre. Make a list of all relevant handles which have 10,000 plus Twitter followers.
#3. LinkedIn research
LinkedIn was the first to introduce ‘Influencers’ officially as a part of its content strategy. From Bill Gates to Jack Welch, you can find most powerful influencers on LinkedIn, especially if you are operating in the B2B market. However, you need to to know the name of influencers to find them on LinkedIn. You can use LinkedIn to filter great influencers from the good ones that you shortlisted from Twitter.
#4. Google search
Once you have shortlisted few influencers and their blogs, do a quick Google search for keywords related to your genre. You must try at least 30-40 keywords to find out if the shortlisted influencers’ blogs are ranking at the top in Google search. Although it is not necessary, most of the influencers rank very well on Google for their respective niche keywords.
#5. Popular website
Many influencers write for popular sites like Forbes, Entrepreneur etc. You can search authors on popular magazines or online publishing sites for your industry. Connecting with such type of influencers will add a great credibility to your brand communication.
The process mentioned above will help you shortlist influencers who are relevant to your business. However, the task of searching apt influencers doesn’t end here. Remember that not all self-proclaimed influencers actually influence a large chunk of people in your niche. You must spend some time in observing their behavior and communication. You must select influencers whose communication and messaging style is in sync with that of your brand and they must have the ability to influence ‘purchasing behavior’ of their followers.
A Quick Check Will Help You Filter The Best Of The Influencers
Social Media Engagement
Check out tweets and social media posts of every influencer. Evaluate their post-engagement activities and see if their status updates are creating any meaningful discussions. If an influencer has got only likes and retweet/shares but no useful comments, it should raise a red flag. They might be bot driven influencers. You need to spend a significant amount of time to differentiate real influencers from bots.
There are more than 20 million accounts on Twitter that are operated by bots. Most of the bot accounts get significantly higher followers than a normal human account. You can identify bot accounts by their hyper activity and engagement with other accounts.
Comments on their blog
Almost all top influencers create a discussion around a topic they write. Most of their blogs will have a significant number of meaningful discussions.
Monitor through Google alerts
You must monitor online activities of all the shortlisted influencers through Google Alerts before choosing the one.
Subscribing to their newsletter will help you understand their personal communication with their subscribers. If an influencer blatantly promotes all sorts of brands, then the person may not be the right match for you. Your brand will lose exclusivity and become one of the many brands that your influencer is promoting.
Scan your competition
You can take a clue from your competition if they are already doing influencer marketing. However, don’t pick all the influencers that your competition has already picked up. You can pick few of them from competition and rest from your own research.
At this stage you will come across two types of influencers:
- Subject matter experts and budding influencers who have relatively small following on social media and
- Well-known Celebrities with huge (several millions) following on social media.
While every brand would love to engage the most celebrated influencers, not all brands can afford them. In some cases, the influencer may not want to promote the kind of product or services you are selling.
As a brand manager, you spend significant time in engaging with influencers and you would not like to invest on something that doesn’t deliver a good return.
I recommend that if you have to shortlist 5 influencers with whom you are going to engage, 2 of them must be budding influencers who have small to medium followers. Since they are also trying to establish themselves in a niche, they will take great interest in promoting your brand and go an extra mile to help you fulfill your business goals.
Spotting the right influencers for your brand is an exhausting exercise. To generate a better ROI on your influencer marketing, you must carry out this exercise with due diligence. Certain tools can make this process easier, however, don’t depend entirely on them. Most of these tools can be useful to discover new influencers.
However, when it comes to shortlisting them for your brand engagement, you need to make a sound judgment. You must evaluate the compatibility of influencers with your brand before finalizing them.
Stay away from influencers with negative tones or those who have become internet sensation just by pointing fingers at others. Don’t finalize an influencer until you are 100% sure about them. If you are doing influencer marketing for the first time, select 3-5 influencers with whom you will engage and build further communication.
Last but not the least, please share your ideas to spot the right influencers and through comments let me know how it went for you.
Images: ” Influencer, opinion leader, team leader, CEO and another business leading concepts. Opinion leader (for example politician) has power to influence opinion mass of people especially customers. / Shutterstock.com