Every social media professional can appreciate the important role key influencers play on their online brand image. What exactly is an influencer? We consider influencers to be people or organizations who are seen as knowledgeable on a particular topic and have the reach and persuasiveness to sway potential customers toward or away from doing business with a company. Companies need to keep a close eye on their top influencers, both friends and foes, in order to maintain an overview and manage their online reputation.
There is no one-size-fits-all strategy for identifying your brand or industry’s top influencers because different tasks or challenges relate to different influencers. The key players that have a large impact on a product launch may not be the most influential in a crisis situation, for example. Because of the different needs for various scenarios, it’s important to choose a social media monitoring tool that offers flexibility in filtering out top influencers. To illustrate a few examples of how to pinpoint the right people and maximize your influencer strategy in a range of cases, we’ve created this breakdown:
Trade shows and conferences are optimal opportunities to monitor key industry influencers because, above all, you have the chance to speak with them in person to introduce yourself and discuss potential ways to cooperate. An important metric to track in this scenario is the frequency of mentions per Twitter account because many people in attendance as well as remote observers will be following the event’s hashtag, and these hashtagged posts will be very visible to your target audience. Filtering a query in your monitoring tool for a relevant hashtag and sorting the influencers by the number of mentions of your company, product or industry is an efficient way of finding the right individuals and opinion leaders on site.
In the event of a PR crisis (knock on wood), your online media monitoring tool could be your best friend. Use a sentiment filter to find out which news sources and opinion leaders are speaking negatively about your brand, then develop a strategy for how to counteract the bad word of mouth (WoM). Similarly, you can use a positive sentiment filter to find out who your biggest fans were prior to the crisis and who remains loyal despite the critical event. Look for opportunities to work with well-respected industry opinion leaders with a high Klout score or a significant reach in order to soften the blow of a reputation-damaging crisis.
Before you launch a new product, it’s crucial to analyze the most relevant social media channels for your brand or industry. Using a monitoring tool like Digimind Social, not only can you identify which platforms have the highest volume of mentions and the greatest audience potential (reach), you can also see a breakdown of influencers per channel. One strategy would be to offer a few top bloggers or industry-specific online magazines a sneak peak at your new product, then link to their reviews via your own highest performing channels such as Facebook or Twitter.
As we all know, influencer identification is an ongoing task, and relationships with thought leaders and high-ranking influencers need to be nurtured. Don’t wait until a crisis arises or you need a favor to engage with your key influencers. Seek ways to interact with influencers that benefit both parties: share their high-quality content via your social media profiles, invite them to speak at an event you’re sponsoring or exchange ideas and best case practices with them on a relevant industry forum.
Why there’s no such thing as a standard Top 10 ranking
In short: not all influencers are created equal. Keep in mind that many of your marketing/PR/brand management activities will require you to work with a different set of influencers. It’s all about using your expertise to determine the right metrics for finding the most influential players for each of your activities. To get an idea of which metrics you can exploit in Digimind Social, check out this blog post. We’d be happy to show you more in a live demo.