Let’s face it. We’re all scrambling to find the right people to talk favorably about our brands.
Our competitors are doing it too and we know this and it fuels us in our quest for the right influencers.
Well, you have one thing that may help: this post.
I’m going to dive into the best tools and tactics for you to use when locating influencers, both online and offline, for your brand.
What is an Influencer Exactly?
An influencer is someone who is trusted by their audience or the people they are recommending your brand to.
An influencer can be someone with a big social presence whose content and general approach fits with your brand; they can be a happy consumer; or they can be the guy in the grocery store who stocks the shelves and talks about his favorite soups. And let’s not forget — a consumer’s friends and family!
Influencers are everywhere, in real as well as the virtual world. Tweeting and chatting about their favorite perfume at a cocktail party.
Think about how many people that you trust suggested something to you today.
- This morning my roommate suggested I buy organic milk next time
- My mom called and was discussing her new favorite vitamins
- My coworker swore droids are better than iPhones
- I saw a tweet from my favorite clothing brand with the cutest new dress
- On Facebook one of my friends said that my favorite brand of yogurt has come out with a new flavor
Wow. In just one day that is a lot of recommendations flying at me. Really think about that and let that sink in.
People are constantly being suggested brands and products from all over the digital and non-digital world.
Your job is to find people in all the places to love and talk about your brand.
Influencer Identification Solutions
GroupHigh tends to be the go-to tool for large brands and agencies. They have an index of 13 million bloggers and their clients pull lists of blogs by niche, location, reach, etc.
InkyBee is geared more toward smaller businesses as it’s a more affordable solution. They have a good sized database of blogs that you can search through.
Innetwork lets you search for influencers and create targeted campaigns with them. What’s nice about this tool is that Innetwork vets all the influencers in their database and response rates tend to be pretty high.
Traackr is an all-encompassing influencer identification and relationship management platform. Their influencer identification components are what they are known for but beyond that you can house all aspects of your strategy inside this platform.
I’ve heard it allows for a very thorough and organized influencer marketing strategy so if you have the budget for it you might want to check it out.
Followerwonk allows you to search for keywords in Twitter bios to uncover new influencers to follow and start engaging with. It’s an easy to use and popular tool.
To find Twitter users with more of a contextual match in mind and less of a care for how far they reach, Twellow is a great tool. They have genre categories and niche subcategories which I like.
Topsy allows you to identify social influencers in the form of those who are sharing content. Of course you want to establish a strong connection with the “sharers” so that they share your brand’s content too!
It’s a social search tool that allows you to see who is sharing which URL. So you can see who is sharing the top performing content in your industry and then reach out socially to these individuals. Sounds like a bit of a process but definitely an important one to connect with people who have the strongest voices!
PeerIndex allows you to find new influencers as well as analyze your own social following to uncover influencers you didn’t know you already had in your network.
Klout may be bouncing back from their bad rap for basing influence on numbers. Stay tuned.
All you have to do is connect your brand’s social media accounts to Klout and you can immediately start searching for influencers to reach out to. You can search by Klout score or topic!
Alltop is Guy Kawasaki’s app in which he’s aggregated all of the biggest blogs on a large variety of topics, even quite a few niche topics so there should be something here for everyone.
BuzzSumo allows you to search for influential content in any given topic. The tool determines how influential a piece of content is by the social media shares that it has. The best part? This tool is free.
Google Blog Search
If you want to find bloggers as influencers for sponsored posts or product reviews or just to establish relationships with, Google blog search isn’t a bad option (if you don’t have the budget for a blogger outreach tool).
Blog rolls are a list of blogs on a certain topic that other bloggers put together in a blog post. Don’t be afraid to try specific searches; you may be surprised at what you find.
Tactics to Find Influencers
Find people who love your competitor’s brands
Check out your competitor’s brand mentions on blogs. Reach out to those bloggers. You can even say that the reason you’re reaching out is because they mentioned your competitor showing they have an affinity for your product and that you want to introduce your own brand or solution.
Listen socially to see who is talking about you
Choose a social media monitoring tool or just monitor your band’s Twitter mentions if your budget is tight.
Anyone that says positive things about your brand should automatically be considered an influencer no matter how many social media followers they have. After all, if they are taking it upon themselves to recommend you online, chances are they are talking about you offline as well.
Survey your consumers and segment the ones who rate you highly
Send out a survey (maybe lure them with a chance to win an iPad!) and ask customers different questions that capture how they feel about your brand. What they like and what they think you could do better.
Implement their feedback and segment those who rate your brand really high. They’re already happy about you.
Next, give them a voice by interacting with them socially, sending them free stuff from your brand and content that they can share.
Find those in your niche that don’t know about you yet
Influencers are a niche group. That ensures their audience actually wants to hear about your brand or product or service.
Search within different niches for active blogger, social media users and store employees.
People Who Like You and Are Already Talking about Your Brand
See who is actively buying your product
If you can track your consumers, see who is spending the most. These people obviously love you and are happy with you.
Acknowledge their loyalty. Set up a special program for them where they may get discounts other people don’t get.
Happy and acknowledged customers spread the love, it’s really quite simple.
Have an influencer opt-in program
Allow people to register to be a part of influencer program for your brand. Vet their social channels and blogs to see if they are a good fit.
If they are, give them a discount or consistently send them free products for social shares and/or blog posts.
Social Mention is a free and easy to use social media monitoring tool that allows you to type in any keywords and find people who have talked about that keyword. Usually you type in your brand’s name to find people who are talking about you. Influencers that you already have!
IceRocket created by Melt Water is my favorite free social media monitoring tool. It allows you to monitor your brand’s social and digital presence. You can search through blog posts, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts.
Look Outside the Box
Host events for social influencers
Search for local bloggers and tweeters and host a free event for them. Remember to have your event centered on THEM, not YOU. Meaning you don’t shove your brand down their throat; you wine and dine them in a thematic way that goes with your brand. You have your brand’s logo up and casually mention it but the event is in no way a blatant promotion of you brand.
If you’re a local business, invite EVERYONE and impress them with your product or the event. Again, if you can establish an emotional connection with consumers, it’s all you need to get them talking about you.
What is the most celebrated part of your brand?
Think about the various aspects of your company and brand. What do consumers seem drawn to the most?
Is it the farmers who grow the produce you sell? The flight attendants that work for your airline? Your customer service rep who jokes while he trouble shoots?
Now spotlight these people. Give your company a human image through them.
You could do a YouTube video of the farm where the produce is grown, or a blog post about the creative process your apparel designers go through. Think hard and be creative.
Encourage your most enthusiastic employees
Your employees can be some of your best and loudest influencers.
Create a Gaggle or send out a weekly email that encourages them to share your content and marketing assets on their social channels.
Allow your Facebook page to be about your brand’s human side. Post pictures of your employees and employee get-togethers.
Talk to people who make your brand possible
Don’t think that the marketers have to be the voice of the brand. Allow your sales staff or someone from production to write a blog post.
Interview your CEO.
Talk to people outside your brand whom you buy your products from. They have a voice, amplify it.
Note the people who are speaking at conferences
Research all the conferences taking place pertaining to the niche your brand falls into. For me, I would look for content marketing conferences.
Reach out to these people in a non-abrasive manner and establish a relationship with them. The goal is to get them to eventually like your brand and start using your brand as one they suggest at conferences.
Leverage existing relationships
Often, influencers are in a group or network of likeminded people. Ask them for suggestions of people who they think would like your brand.
Ask for virtual introductions for other contacts for you to connect with.
Authors of books about your brand
There are plenty of books out there on ANY TOPIC. Find the authors who write about topics that align with your company’s philosophy and introduce your brand.
Find employees in retail locations where your product is sold
This one can be a little tricky but very beneficial. If you can connect with employees on the floor, who are constantly being asked for product recommendations, that could really ramp up the offline word-of-mouth recommendations about your brand.
Try reaching out to them digitally, ask them to sign up for an influencer group and send them free stuff in return.
At the End of the Day You Are Just Creating Passion
Don’t make it harder than it has to be. At the end of the day you are just helping people spread their authentic, passionate opinions about our brand.
Be passionate about your product in your outreach, and look for people who are already passionate about your brand. You should be able to take your influencer marketing strategy far!
Where do you look for influencers to talk about your brand? Do tell us in the comments below!
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