Social Media Influencers: Defining, Identifying and Engaging for Your Brand

POSTED BY   James Dearsley
9th April 2014
Social Media Influencers: Defining, Identifying and Engaging for Your Brand

SMSocial media influencers are present everywhere and many will be talking about your brand. They are relevant to online relationships and that’s why they are so important to social media marketers. It is important for companies to understand how influencers can affect their brand them and how many are talking about it. Ask yourself: am I measuring how many influential posts are mentioning my brand every day?

What is Influence?

Influence is defined by the aspects which provide individuals with the power to influence others within their social sphere. The foundational attributes which influence potential are: reach, resonance and relevance. Marketers should be aware of these as they are common criteria used by influencer identification tools.

Reach – the ability to reach an audience that is relevant to your brand

Resonance – engaging with content by an audience that is relevant to your brand

Relevance – creating content that is relevant to your brand or a topic that is imperative to your brand

(note: for someone to qualify as an influencer they don’t always need to be able to reach a large audience, reaching small niche audiences is sometimes very important)

Each of these qualities is required in order for an individual to be considered an influencer for your brand. For example, a celebrity with a huge audience that retweets everything you post doesn’t become an influencer unless they actually start talking about your brand. Furthermore, not all influencers are influential on all topics, there are specialists and experts to look out for on social media.

How do I engage an influencer?

SMThere are various ways to do this on social space. As a brand it is useful to have a process in place for responding to influencers who mention you. Simply Measured has a reactive influencer engagement via Twitter reports, which send you email alerts when an influencer mentions your brand or a keyword.

It’s also important not to just wait for influencers to come to you and brands should plan for influencer outreach in order to proactively engage influencers. You can do this by:

  • Informing possible influencers about how your brand is advancing in the market.
  • Encouraging possible influencers to amplify one of your campaigns or a piece of your branded content.
  • Enticing influencers to follow your brand on social media and showing them how your brand can be championed.
  • Persuading influencers to create original and valuable content for your brand.

In order to be successful in these you need to discover influencers that have a certain level of brand advocacy and the potential and ability to influence yours. To do this, check out their social media activity – their posts, interactions with you and your competitors.

Tip: don’t dive in with influencers by calling for their support straight away – start small by first gauging their reaction to your product announcements.

How do I identify a potential influencer?

This is an essential process before you proactively engage any influencers: identify them! You can do this using data from Twitter by setting up a report for a keyword/collection of keywords which will show you users degree of relevance to any given topic.

After relevance it’s good to look at resonance, which will tell you whether their content is shared and how much. It also allows you to analyse the quality of their follower network to establish whether the audience is appropriate to your brand.

Selecting audience quality will influence your reach and this depends on your brand aims. If you have a niche topic then influencers with a smaller following is fine. If you need to generate huge awareness you will need influencers with a large following.

Finally, analyse brand advocacy by examining whether possible influencers are talking only about your brand or about your competitors as well and crucially whether they specify a preference that isn’t you.

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James Dearsley

James Dearsley is the Founder and MD of TDMB. In addition to his work with us, he is also a renowned expert in PropTech, and was recently voted the most influential person in PropTech. An impassioned speaker and advocate of technology, particularly in the Property industry, his other interests include beekeeping, real ale, green trousers, and (currently) growing a beard. You can contact James directly via Twitter or LinkedIn, or tweet the TDMB team directly.

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