Finding Key Influencers in Your Niche

In the world of advertising and marketing, influence over a target demographic is an extremely powerful tool. Having influence over a certain group allows the wielder to sway the minds of many, and raise popularity of a given product or service, simply by offering public support.

Of course, in our contemporary society, with e-mail account subscriptions rising exponentially each year, and hundreds of millions of users active on one of the many social media sites each month, these influential individuals have largely moved from more traditional roles on television or radio, and have emerged instead with a solid online presence. These figures have taken to social media sites and other popular web domains to voice their opinions, whereby followers digest this information and use it to shape their own preferences.

Ultimately, as previously mentioned, those with influence (or influencers, as they have come to be known) can play an important role in a marketing strategy for any business owner wishing to increase public awareness of their products and services. A simple “like” on Facebook, a “Retweet” on Twitter, or a shout-out from an influencer on any popular media site can lead to a horde of followers developing a new interest in the mentioned business. The power of influencers cannot be overstated.

Ostensibly then, it should be in the interest of any business owner aspiring to success to develop relationships with these social media influencers in order to further spread awareness and popularity. But in the sea of online profiles covering the countless sites available today, it’s important to ask one question: how can you find someone with true influence?

IDENTIFYING A SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER

First, if you are interested in seeing some of the biggest names in social media influence over the year 2013, consider browsing through a recent Forbes article for a basic idea. Using an analytical measuring tool known as PeekAnalytics, the authors calculated each of the individual’s tweets, retweets, and followers on Twitter, allowing them to arrive at a given score. Those with a higher score rose to the top of the list.

Now, if you are in the initial phases of identifying an influencer who may be able to help, the names on this list may be of no tangible use to you, other than providing you with an idea of the wide array of profiles that wield influence on the web. Just as the authors used PeekAnalytics to measure a given person’s online clout though, you too should keep this in your arsenal, as well as other tools that can determine influence on other social media sites (two popular sites are Klout and Kred). Using these sites you should be able to identify a number of key influencers (Traackr, another popular analytical tool, is another invaluable resource when identifying powerful online figures).

Also, don’t ever discount the power of word-of-mouth suggestions from others within your current web of contacts. Because an influencer is able to motivate and alter public opinion, you may find that friends, family, or even professional acquaintances are already aware of key influencers, and may be able to help guide you in the right direction.

Finding Right Influencers

LOCATION AND NICHE SHOULD BE A FACTOR WHEN IDENTIFYING INFLUENCERS

Naturally, any positive online support from an influencer (or, in reality, anyone at all) should be welcomed with open arms. That being said, directing your efforts towards a random assortment of high-profile individuals may not always yield you the best results, especially if your business is one that is highly specialized and/or caters largely to a population within a very specific geographic location.

Before setting your sights on a broad swath of influencers, do some initial research beforehand to factor out for location and specific niche. Depending on your product or services, you may discover that only 10 percent of your original group would have highly beneficial results; similarly, you may come to the same realization based on your location within the country. And while it may seem counter-intuitive to target a smaller amount of influencers, doing so with a more effective strategy can truthfully bring about better results.

SHORT-TERM SUPPORT VS. LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS

Finding influencers that wield significant influence over a large group of followers, as well as within a given niche and specific geographic location, is a necessary step in the process of building relationships that will help grow and develop your business. As a final step in this process though, it is important that you identify one more pertinent attribute in your chosen influencers: the potential of developing a long-term relationship.

In finding influencers for your brand, you may have discovered two distinct groups of influencers: those that constantly bounced from brand to brand, showing limited support for each; and those that demonstrated a sense of loyalty to a smaller batch. As previously mentioned, any positive support for your business should be welcomed and appreciated openly, as it may lead to a wider awareness and a healthier base of customers.

In truth, though, it may serve you well to once again make revisions to your initial group of selected influencers, removing those that don’t seem to show any sort of long-term loyalty for a specific brand. If you are asking why, consider this: your business is, as some describe, a living organism, one that must be nurtured and fostered throughout many stages of life in order to attain maturity and success. And in this process, while short-term support may accelerate growth for a short spurt, it will provide only a minimal benefit in the long run. Contrarily though, long-term support can continuously open up new possibilities and provide a steady stream of aid to your brand.

It may not always be possible in the initial stages, but aim to identify those influencers who demonstrate brand loyalty, as they may be more open to a mutually beneficial relationship that stretches well into the future.

NEXT STEP: OUTREACH

The windows of opportunity will continue to grow once you have identified your key influencers and taken the first step towards reaching out and making contact. Because in actuality, these individuals, while regular people like the rest of us, may hold the capacity to grow your business with nothing more than a few words of online support.

F.A.Q.

How to find influencers on social media?

How to find influencers online?

How to find influencers in your niche?