The first step in influencer marketing is uncovering who your brand influencers are, and who they could be. We’re not talking about specific people here, but more generally about what your influencers have in common. What interests do they have? What makes them potential advocates?
Before you can start a successful influencer marketing campaign, we have to truly understand the types of people that would be best to engage. So how can you get started?
- Start lurking.
Make sure you have a social media listening plan that allows you to keep up with the pulse of what’s happening in your brand’s sphere of interest. It’s not enough just to know what’s being said about you. You should also know what’s happening in your industry.
Let’s use an example of a brand that sells a tool to help amateur skateboarders fix their boards. A good social media monitoring system should allow them to know who’s talking in that world - not just about them, but about anything related to the sport and culture.
Social media monitoring and social media listening are two different things. We love this explanation from CMO.com: “Monitoring sees the trees; listening views the forest... Monitoring takes a look at individual messages coming in across your channels, while listening assesses the meaning behind this data in the aggregate. Social media monitoring and listening are frequently discussed within the industry today—yet the two terms are often conflated. This may seem like semantics, but the implications matter. Why? Because most brands either don’t understand the nuances, or worse, they lack a clear strategy to do either well.”
You can start your listening (or lurking) strategy by regularly looking at hashtags and keywords that are prominent in your space.
- Take a look at your own audience.
Is there anyone filling that influencer role now? Analyze the followers of your account to see who you’re speaking to already that has an audience of their own.
- Step back and look at your entire target market.
In some cases, you might have segments that are naturally influencers. Going back to our skateboard fixing tool, skateboard repair shops or individuals are likely already a target of yours, as they could be a distribution outlet. But, they’re also natural influencers - they’re seen as experts in your industry. The same holds true for people who give skateboard lessons.
MAKE A PERSONA
Most inbound marketers have learned the importance of building a persona (or three) that you have in mind when creating content. But did you realize how useful it can be for influencer marketing campaigns?
Take all the information you gathered while lurking *cough, I mean listening*, and think about what connects the people you’ve been seeing who have influence. What demographics and interests do they have in common? Are their geographic links?
Now that you’re armed with your influencer persona, it’s time to start looking for influencers who you could start reaching out to. That in itself can be a huge task!
- Revisit your audience.
Likely you already have some followers on Twitter and Instagram who could be filling that role for you.
- Search Twitter!
Most people don’t realize how extensive Twitter’s advanced search features are. Here’s a link: Advanced Search. It allows you to search and disqualify words, phrases, and hashtags, and filter by account, language, geography, date, and sentiment.
- Take your discovery mission to blogs.
And, make sure you’re looking past the person posting to the comments section. Anyone who can inspire an interesting discussion in the comments section of a relevant blog might be worth looking into!
- Use a tool like socialpeeks!
Even with Twitter’s advanced search, you could be missing a ton of people. Tools like socialpeeks make it easy to create a huge list of potential influencers. Interested in learning more? Give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org - we love talking about influencer marketing!