Who are social media influencers? An individual’s online reputation factors in social media influence, which means the more influential you are on social media, the better your reputation is. Search engines like Google also factor social media influence into pageranks. With the emergence of influence marketing, a form of marketing that focuses on key individuals versus a target market, there has been more pressure on organizations to seek out social media influencers.
What does this all mean for your business? Engaging with social media influencers allows you to increase awareness of your brand, create brand advocates, increase online reputation, and increase pagerank. Whether your business objective is to increase awareness or improve SEO traffic, social media influencers can help with that. You can identify your social media influencers easily with these steps.
Here are 4 steps to creating a lasting relationship with social media influencers
Step 1: Define your social media influencers
There are many factors when it comes to defining someone as a social media influencer. It’s best to start by thinking about what gives an individual the power to influence others in their social media circle. The three attributes that are most important for marketers to factor are relevance, reach, and resonance.
Relevance is the content the influencers are sharing relevant to your business.
Reach determines the number of people you could potentially reach through the influencer’s follower base that would bring value to your business.
Resonance is defined by engaging with a valuable audience through relevant content.
Another thing to consider when determining a social media influencer’s status is to see if they have a website or blog that ranks high in the SERPs (search engine results page). This indicates that their blog has been assessed by Google, and deemed influential enough to receive lots of traffic. Social media and SEO work very closely together—if someone wants to rank high in the SERPs, they will also need to have high social media influence.
Step 2: Find your social media influencers
Before proactively engaging with influencers, first you have to find them. Some influencer metrics to consider are: number of followers, Klout score, and search engine ranking. Some tools to use to find these metrics are: individual social networks, Klout.com, and search engines.
Klout is a website and mobile app that uses social media analytics to rank its users according to online social influence via the “Klout Score,” which is a numerical value between 1 and 100. The higher your “Klout Score,” the more influential you are. Your score is determined by a number of factors (400, to be exact) including: followers, likes, comments, retweets, mentions, +1s, connections, etc. In Hootsuite, when you view someone’s profile, you can easily identify their Klout score.
Individual social networks
Going on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ will allow you to see the number of followers someone has, as well as their level of engagement on social media. It’s important not only to look at the number of likes and comments on the user’s page, but also the type of conversations they are having. You want to make sure the person you consider to be an influencer is also a respectful human being.
Major search engines factor social media influence into pagerank; you can reverse engineer the process, and guess that people whose pages rank high in SERPs are also social media influencers. For example, if I am looking for social media influencers in the travel industry, I would go to Google, type in “travel blogs,” then take the top-ranking blogs that show up on the first page. Then, I comb through the blog and crosscheck the user on Klout.com, as well as the author’s social profiles, to determine if they are a social media influencer I want to engage with.
Step 3: Engage with social media influencers
Now that you have identified the social media influencers you want to engage with, it’s time to connect and start a conversation. When you start connecting with influencers, provide value up-front and give them what they want—engagement. Interact with influencers through content they are sharing, and participate in conversations they are starting or leading. Twitter chats are a great way to do this. If you know your social media influencer is hosting a Twitter chat, be sure to mark the date and participate. If they have a blog, comment on their blog posts to show that you are actually reading their content.
Once you’ve built that rapport, the relationship can bloom into a mutually beneficial one. The social media influencer can retweet your social media content, link back to your website on their blog, and can even participate in your events as a guest speaker, or post on your blog as a guest writer. This relationship will provide your company with an opportunity to rise in the search rankings, gain more followers, and, in turn, become a social media influencer.
Step 4: Maintain relationships with social media influencers
You may think the hardest part is over, now that you found your social media influencers and have engaged with them. In fact, maintaining the relationship is the hardest step. One way to do this is creating separate Twitter lists for your influencers. Twitter lists are a great way of keeping track of your social media influencers and what they talk about. If you find yourself with a few free minutes during your work day, use that time to go through your Twitter list and send a friendly Tweet to a few social media influencers.
You can also use the Hootsuite Syndicator to keep tabs of your social media influencers’ blogs. This will help you read their blog posts, write a comment, or share their blog posts on Twitter with an @mention of the influencer. These simple gestures are a way to remind them that you remember them, and value your social media relationship.
Register for our upcoming webinar from the Social Media Essentials Series:
How to Create an Influencer Marketing Strategy
Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Time: 8 a.m. PST / 11 a.m. EST / 4 p.m. GMT
Note: Those in the APAC region can watch this webinar on Thursday, November 19, 2015 at 10 a.m. SGT (Singapore Time)
As social media continues to grow, it’s only going to get noisier. Your audience will be bombarded by more messages, and they’ll continue tuning out the ones that don’t resonate with them. Partnering with “influencers” can help, by getting your messages to your audience through the people they already listen to and respect. The trick is knowing how to find the right ones.
In this webinar, you’ll learn how to identify and connect with the right influencers who can help ensure your audience is engaging with you, instead of tuning you out. Join experts from IBM Social Consulting, Flight Centre Travel Group, and Hootsuite as they cover:
- Why you need an influencer strategy—and how to identify the right influencers to partner with
- How to maintain productive relationships with your social media influencers
- How other brands engage with influencers—and what you can learn from their success stories