Would you prefer taking travel advice from Anthony Bourdain or Rachel Ray? While I’m sure Rachel has traveled quite a bit in her day, Mr. Bourdain is a travel connoisseur. Whether it be Spain, China, Seattle, or Japan, he’s seen it all and documented most of it, so he’d likely be your best bet.
Now imagine if you were a hotel owner, and you could get Anthony Bourdain to rave about your accommodations on his social media platforms. That would be pretty game-changing for your business!
Ok, so the chances of a celebrity of this caliber tweeting about your business are quite slim, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find social media influencers in your niche to rave about your business to your mutual target audience – but how? And who are these so-called social media influencers? This post will answer all these questions, and more! But first…
What Is a Social Media Influencer?
A social media influencer is someone who influences others through their social platforms. When you think about influential social profiles, big names like Donald Trump and Justin Bieber likely come to mind, but the reality is that there are social media influencers in every industry and niche. This provides your business with a unique opportunity to identify, pursue, and leverage these social media influencers to grow your sales, lead flow, and ultimately your revenue stream.
This form of marketing can be extremely powerful if done well. In fact, 20 to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions are made from word-of-mouth marketing. Just think about your own personal purchasing history. Aren’t you more likely to buy something when someone you trust recommends it highly? Twitter also conducted a powerful study that found that 40 percent of Twitter users make purchase decisions as a direct result from a Tweet from an influencer.
To sum things up, social media influencers can help you…
- Builder a larger brand following
- Increase your company’s credibility
- Bring in more sales and new leads and conversions
What marketer does not want to do all of those things? Now that you’re keenly aware of how powerful social media influencers are, you might be wondering: Who are the social media influencers in your industry? Well, I’m here to help you find them!
How to Find Social Media Influencers in Your Industry
Uncovering the influencers in your industry is the first step to growing your business with influencer marketing, but before you dive in, it’s critical to ensure you’re targeting the right influencers.
First, Determine Who You’re Trying to Influence
Who is your target audience? You likely already have a clear picture of your audience from your other marketing efforts, so now you need to dive into this audience’s interests a bit deeper to determine who they follow and where they consume information.
For instance, if you sell to mainly 30-something, work-from-home mothers, research who these mothers follow, where they read reviews, what social platforms they spend the most time on, where they consume news, and so on.
In order to determine your social media influencers, you first need to ensure that influencer is targeting the same audience as you. For example, if you sell SEO software, don’t just assume that the king of SEO, Rand Fishkin, is the person you need to partner with. Your audience might be much more novice and have no clue as to whom he is. Perhaps you’re better off looking for an influencer in the small business advice space.
If you have multiple audiences, you might need multiple social influencers for these varying demographics, so focus on your top selling audience first, and go from there.
Research, Research, Research!
Now that you have a clear idea of who your audience is influenced by, it’s time to actually find these people. Luckily, there are several tools that can help you uncover your social media influencers, including…
Buzzsumo has their very own influencer suite that allows you to discover, follow, reach out, and analyze influencer data. They have a powerful search engine that allows you to find key influencers around topics and locations, and additional tools to help with your outreach efforts. Buzzsumo also allows you to export influencer data so you can use it in other platforms or for reporting purposes.
Followerwonk is a Moz product that is completely free! This tool will allow you to discover influencers on Twitter by searching for Twitter profiles or Twitter bios with keywords. You can also further customize your search by adding a location, name, or URL.
The search results will provide a list of Twitter influencers along with their number of tweets, followers, how many people they’re following, their account age, and social authority.
Followerwonk also allows you to build a list of potential influencers to engage with. Keep organized by using Twitter lists to track these influencers and stay on top of your engagement efforts.
My favorite social media management platform, Hootsuite, also provides a free influencer tool to use their search streams to discover social media influencers by monitoring relevant conversations. How cool is that? You can then make a Twitter list through the platform and save them into an easily trackable stream to begin your engagement efforts.
If Instagram is your audience’s platform of choice, then this is the app for you! TrendSpottr is an app created by the masterminds over at Hootsuite that helps you spot the trends (including the trending influencers)!
Photos, video, and influencers for any tag or topic can be discovered through the app, and there are also tools to engage with key influencers, see which hashtags are trending, select lists of popular tags, and share trending posts. TrendSpottr also won’t break the bank, at only $4.99/month!
You probably haven’t heard of this last one (kidding), but just doing some plain old Google research is also a good place to start finding the social influencers in your industry. Researching your audience’s interests will likely lead to LinkedIn groups, Reddit conversations, or popular blogs or websites that your audience frequently visits. Dig in and discover who your influencers are by using the most powerful search engine around.
So what now? Well that leads us to…
5 Tips to Engage with Social Media Influencers
Now that you’ve found the right influencers, how can you get them interested in you? Here are a few tips to influence your influencers.
Tip#1: Reach Out in a Non-Aggressive Manner
The first thing to keep in mind is that you don’t want to sloppily start messaging, retweeting, and sharing every one of your target influencer’s posts. When they see you’ve “liked” 25 of their Instagram posts from 2015, they are more likely to be creeped out than flattered.
Rather, make sure to put some strategic thinking and planning behind your initial outreach efforts, and allow your first message to simmer for a moment. There is no need to turn into an overly eager salesperson.