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 from people such as consultants, analysts, journalists and academics. In the marketing world, it can be seen every day on online platforms from Instagram to YouTube, with endorsements from popular accounts proving one of the most successful and widespread brand exposure techniques currently at play. All of this is meant to put a sheen of respectability about the product or service. After all, if these ‘cool and popular’ celebs and influential personalities are enjoying it, why shouldn’t you?
Almost anybody can now be an influencer, simply by having a large and engaged following on social media. This is something that is often misunderstood by companies today and is still something that could be of serious benefit to brands across an array of industries. Some of these influencers still don’t realise how powerful they really are.
How do you define Online Influence: who is actually influential?
There are many measurements available but which is most accurate? 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 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, and until fairly recently, things such as Klout score were prized highly as methods of influence divination. Why did it shut down? This post covers the whole graveyard of social tools that have died, and why. A good way to build your understanding of what does and doesn’t work in the arena of online influence divination.
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. 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.
As a rule of thumb, for brands seeking to ride the coat-tails of the online influencer phenomenon, we begin by analysing relevant keywords for a client’s business. We look at influencers for that topic and engage accordingly. This involves building up a relationship with the influencers. It’s not much different from networking in person, and the more natural you are, and the more you listen, the better your results will be.
As time goes on, influencer targeting is becoming central to digital marketing, with social media executives now well-versed in analysing and ascertaining top influencers and the best methods of engaging with them. Even in the post-Klout era, there are in-depth methods at play to work out who is most likely to be a beneficial influencer for your brand. The best way to make the most of it, however, is with the help of a trained and experienced digital marketing team.
Is influencer engagement 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, it’s time to start talking to the people that matter.
Traditionally, influencer marketing was aligned with Word Of Mouth (WOM) marketing. An influencer not only “walks the walk but talks the talk”. WOM is important, but “typing the type” or Word Of Type (WOT) marketing is where the future is taking us.