What makes someone an Influencer?
The Word of Mouth Marketing Association defines an Influencer as ” individuals who have greater than average reach or impact through word of mouth in a relevant marketplace.”
That’s a cool definition but what the heck does that mean?
Influencers aren’t always the people with the largest number of fans or followers. They’re the ones everyone in your industry looks to as the problem solvers of your customer’s needs.
They understand how to use their social presence. The opinions that they state in the social world are known to drive the direction of online conversations, hence the term Influencers.
The best place to find Influencers
Influencers are most active on Facebook and Twitter. With regards to the numbers of users, these are the two largest social media platforms. Influencers know they can reach a larger share of their target audience by having an active Facebook fan page and Twitter account.
The majority of Influencers use blogs as their websites. Their blog gives them a place to post their point of view and perspective on how to solve their customer’s problems.
When you run a search for their names, it looks like they’re everywhere. One of the characteristics of Influencers is that they know how to share their content across all of the social media networks. They’ll share their links on Facebook with an image from their blog, pin that same image and blog link to Pinterest, tweet the pin and then post it on Instagram.
They know how to market their informational content because they show up and participate. They understand how social media will give them the sharing, click-thrus and the eventual sales.
But what happens after you click the follow button?
First things first … understand that you’re hitting that follow button to do market research. This isn’t about a ‘follow for a follow’ thing. IF they do follow you back, consider that a bonus and take the opportunity to engage in conversation with them when you get the chance.
Following Influencers is about following the trends in your industry. It’s about learning the main issues your customers are talking about and what solutions they’re recommending you do with your marketing efforts.
Try this exercise and see what you find:
1. Find and follow five (5) Influencers who are active on any of the social networks where your audience hangs out. Look for real people having conversations, not companies who are posting automated sales messages.
2. Pull together a chart to list each of the following pieces of information:
- Person’s name and social network with the largest presence – remember this isn’t a numbers of fans game but where are they posting the most number of messages.
- What topics do you see consistently popping up in their posts?
- How frequently are they posting messages?
- What hashtags are they using in their posts? Clicking on the hashtag will give you more insights into the conversation threads your customers are having about this particular topic.
Follow and track your Influencers for at least 30 days and see what patterns start to emerge. Does your product solve the problem you keep seeing people talk about? Will your service help your customers in a way that your Influencers recommend is the solution?
Take everything you’ve learned and use it in your marketing messages to develop quality content. Think about the ways you could share this information with your fans with either blog posts, Facebook messages or engaging images on Pinterest.
Who knows … maybe one day, you’ll find yourself becoming an Influencer with your own fans.
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Photo credit: The Art of Social Media