Finding an “influencer” to market your products is nothing new. In fact the first suggestions of this form of influencer marketing in business appeared in the 1940’s and was characterised by endorsements by people such as Consultants, Analysts, Journalists and Academics. In the marketing world it can be seen everyday on the TV with celebrity endorsements of the latest breakfast cereal or diet. All of this is meant to put a sheen of respectability about the product or service. After all, if they are enjoying it why shouldn’t you?
There is an interesting shift to “Online Influence” though. The ordinary person can be an influencer of these services or products simply by having a large and engaged following in Social Media. This is something that is often misunderstood by companies today and is still somewhere where everyday companies could really benefit from. After all, some of these influencers don’t realise how powerful they really are.
To quote a recent article on theverge.com “Google Pagerank defined the last decade, the thinking goes, “People Rank” will define the next”.
How do you define Online Influence – who is actually influential?
There are many measurements available but which is plausible. Just because someone has 10,000 Twitter followers, it doesn’t mean they are influential (especially if they are fake followers – see post here to find out how you can you tell!). Interestingly however, here in the UK, there was a recent court case involving a rather unsavoury topic. Anyhow, you can read about it here but the most important point is that the lawyers involved in the case decided to prosecute people with Twitter followings of over 500 – they were deemed influential enough to warrant prosecution for defamation.
There are other scores which people use to measure online influence; Kred and Klout are perhaps the two best none examples. A very useful Infographic can be found here comparing the two.
One of the most important aspects are how they can both impact on your brand though. This image below is taken from that infographic and I think is one well worth remembering – Klout is on the left, Kred on the right
Essentially they are both scores the display a persons total influence score online – how likely, if you engage with them successfully, will they engage with you or your brand. Will they become an advocate for what you are doing.
But what is deemed influential? I have yet to find anyone that says a certain score is influential. Personally, when looking at sentiment analysis for clients we always look at over 500 Twitter followers and a Klout score of over 30. Having said that, I am personally tempted to increase that Klout score to 40.
Mentioning client analysis for one second, another piece of analysis aside from Twitter followers – in conjunction with other metrics – is the secondary followers. It does temper the spam accounts somewhat but also, when compared to competitors gives you valuable data – lets say you look at Klout scores of influential people in your industry segment. If you interact with them sufficiently enough for them to follow you, the amplification of your tweets will be significantly different with them on board.
I have mentioned Klout there again. Generally we analyse keywords for clients. We look at influencers for that topic and engage accordingly.
In conclusion, it is a very difficult topic to actually gauge but one that is gathering momentum very quickly. It is genuinely very interesting should you be looking to find the influencers online. There are lots of techniques you can engage in to find out who you should be talking too. Is it important? Absolutely. In fact I would say it should be instrumental to any online strategy to promote your business and a good way to gain traction should you be lagging behind the competition. If you are confident in your offering start talking to the people that matter.
Traditionally Influencer Marketing was aligned with Word Of Mouth (WOM) marketing – someone on Twitter today mentioned the that an influencer not only “walks the walk but talks the talk” – my argument here is that WOM is important but I am also sure that “typing the type” or Word Of Type (WOT) marketing is gaining significant traction.