Influencer Marketing: How To Identify Online Influencers And Understand Their Benefits

We live in a world where the feedback and opinions of those similar to us carry much more weight than traditional advertising or marketing. According to a study from Deloitte, 75% of online users say info found on social channels influences their shopping behavior and enhances brand loyalty. And Nielsen found that 92% of buyers trust recommendations from people they know and 70% trust peer opinions they find online.

Because feedback from trusted sources plays a major role in purchasing decisions, it’s imperative that businesses identify these individuals. Social networks users whose opinions the public trusts are called online influencers—because their feedback can sway (or influence) others’ decisions. These influencers are valuable because they serve as top tier brand ambassadors. And they don’t only include celebrities. Influencers can range from trusted reviewers to bloggers to the girl next door.

The 2 types of online influencers

There are two types of online influencers to pay special attention to: influencers by impact (individuals with the highest following) and influencers by volume (individuals who mention your brand or product the most frequently). Both types have strengths for your business.

Impact influencers obviously have high reach numbers and can touch thousands, and at times millions, of individuals with their messages while volume influencers are already loyal, vocal advocates for your business who can likely provide the best, and most favorable, reviews.

influencers-vs-advocatesInfluencers vs. Advocates: What’s The Difference?

In this free ebook, you’ll learn:

  • How to determine which is right for you: influencers or advocates (or both)
  • Best practices for building your own influencer or advocate marketing program
  • Case studies: How brands use influencers and advocates to drive engagement

Download the ebook now!

How to identify key influencers

Typically, there are two ways you can go about finding your online influencers to engage in an influencer marketing strategy:

Manual search: Type your products, services, brand, etc. into the search box on any social network. This surfaces anyone who has (publicly) mentioned your keywords. This is a good way to see who is talking about you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t specify which are your impact influencers and which are your volume influencers.

SMMS search: Social media management software (SMSS) is designed to help automate the manual process to give professionals more time to focus on what’s important. The more advanced SMSS tools allow offer influencer identification based on your keywords and clearly note the influencers by impact and by volume so you can quickly see which social media users have the most online pull.

Now you know how to find your key influencers, make sure your relationship with them is strong.

3 ways to motivate influencers

Reach a larger audience: Your impact influencers are highly influential people. Developing a close relationship with them ensures you reach the biggest audience as these individuals have a hefty following. For example, if you are a product-based company, you can connect with a top blogger or reviewer that has mentioned your product in the past and offer samples of the product for them to try out and share their opinions online. Their friends and followers are then more likely to consider and try the product because someone they trust recommended it.

Reward loyal customers: Happy customers are repeat customers and repeat customers turn into loyal customers who often unknowingly act as brand ambassadors. These individuals are already more than likely happy to spread the word or recommend their favorite brands and products, so keeping volume influencers happy provides an added benefit for your brand. Thank them with a little customer acknowledgment—an offer for a free product or discounted service, early access to a new feature, etc.

Promote a new product/feature: A major challenge to successfully launching a new product or service is promotion and customer usage. When you reach out to both impact and volume influencers, you greatly increase the amount of visibility and potentially reach a larger audience than you could have reached on your own. Because your influencers are already familiar with your brand (after all they have already mentioned you in the past at some point) they are more inclined to try out a new product or service and share their honest opinions.

Bottom line

Remember, buyers rely on the opinions and feedback of those they know and trust. Identifying your key influencers is a powerful way to reach an audience that will be more susceptible and open to your brand. The power of word of mouth and personal recommendations go hand in hand with influencer identification and activation—a combination that can make a difference in any campaign or business strategy.

B2B marketing personasTurn your customers into raving brand advocates

This eBook series explores the art and science behind engaging advocates in different industries, including:

  • Insight into advocate personas in IT, HR, sales, etc.
  • Key challenges and how to address them
  • Ideas from real advocate marketing programs
  • Tips from marketers who have experience marketing to each group

Download your advocate type eBook now

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