Uncovering your Industry Influencers

Just a few years ago, if you had mentioned the names Joe Wicks, Zoella and even Grumpy Cat, you might have been met with a blank stare. Indeed, you may not recognize some of these names even now. However, these personalities and many more hold some serious clout on social media. Of course, we’re talking about influencers.

You may have heard this term bandied about several times recently. Influencers are now big business and they’ve caught the eye of marketers and businesses worldwide. Influencer marketing has suddenly been conceived and with it comes a slew of strategies, brands who wish to take advantage of it, and influencers who are more than happy to help.

What is an influencer?

For those who don’t know, influencers are people who specialize in specific niches (for instance, fitness or fashion) and who have built loyal communities around them who trust their every word. Therein lies their power and attractiveness to brands. In some ways, influencers provide a more authentic experience to their fans than say, a celebrity (although some celebrities are also seen as influencers).

They’ve built their brand around being themselves and having an interesting, authentic and original opinion or knowledge on a specific matter. Brands can tap into this authenticity by partnering with influencers to promote their products. Influencers are found on social media, through video blogs (vlogs), and blogs.

But how do you even find the right influencer for your business?

Luckily for you, this question has cropped up time and time again for many brands. This means that a whole heap of tools are now available to help you identify the influencers in your industry. There’s pretty much an influencer for everything, from the aforementioned fashion and fitness to cooking, beauty, social media marketing, parenting, pets, travel, and even entrepreneurship.

Look at the right channels

Finding an influencer can be really very simple. You’ve probably come across many of them already. If you’re active on social media, especially if you are using a company account, then you may have stumbled across a few of your industry influencers on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Facebook. The platforms that they use are dependent on their industry. Much like how a business will choose social media channels based on what their target audience uses, so too do influencers.

Make like a ninja

Ninja Outreach (NO) is a tool specifically built for influencer marketing. It’s a paid-for service that offers a 14-day free trial if you fancy giving it a spin. It allows you to discover content that is doing particularly well online, based on specific keywords or topics that you enter into the search function. The results will bring up the most popular content along with the number of shares on different social media platforms.

There’s also a ‘View Sharers’ button that will then show you the people who have shared a specific article online, along with their social media stats. You can also filter these results further by category or by job role (bloggers versus journalists, for example). From there, NO also displays email addresses associated with each person and you can save them into lists to contact later on through NO’s native emailing option.

As well as showing you the people who are most interested in a piece of content, the tool can be useful to see what content goes viral and what you perhaps should consider for thought-leadership pieces and blogs (if relevant).

Or like a sumo…

A similar service to NO, BuzzSumo allows you to type in keywords to discover trending content and how often it has been shared. It also has a specific outreach option that helps you identify the top bloggers, publications, and writers related to keywords that you enter. So, if you’re a fashion retailer, typing in keywords like ladies’ fashion or AW17 will bring up a list of the people who have written or shared content to do with that.

BuzzSumo also allows you to see how may times an individual’s blog or article has been shared, their site domain authority, and page authority. This can help you determine not just who is popular in your industry, but who has high engagement amongst their followers and blogs that can help with your SEO.

A tool for Twitter

For those looking for influencers based on Twitter, FollowerWonk is a great way to discover people with specific keywords in their bios. You can sort your results based on reach and social authority, allowing you to identify potential influencers quickly. There’s a free trial version of the product that should give you the information you need.

Likewise, Tweetdeck can be used to monitor people who tweet under a specific hashtag. You can set up a function to monitor certain hashtags and that only shows tweets that have had a certain number of retweets (to help you filter out spam and smaller accounts).

Get some Klout (and up your street Kred!)

Klout is a tool that measures social media influence, and it is primarily used to track your own social media account’s performance. However, it can be a quick way to assess a potential influencer that you have identified and it does have an (albeit limited) search function for influencers.

Kred uses mentions, retweets, and follows on Twitter to provide an influencer metric. It primarily works on Twitter but can be linked to a Facebook account as well. It’s a simple-to-use tool that’s good if you’re just getting started. However, if your customer base mainly uses Instagram (which is the home of many influencers), then Kred isn’t going to work very well for you.

Make the most of your influencers

Of course, once you’ve discovered the right influencers, you’ve got to actually use them to their full potential. There are many ways to work with an influencer, from a product review or asking them to attend a company event, to affiliate marketing, guest blogging and sponsored posts. What you choose largely depends on the influencer’s fanbase and your target audience. Usually, the influencer will understand what will resonate best with their followers.

Remember, the reason you’re connecting with an influencer is because they provide a more authentic brand experience to their followers. Anything that comes across too much like marketing will quickly turn their followers off. If done right, a partnership with an influencer will help your business tap into a loyal audience, improve your brand reputation, and create a lasting relationship with your customers.