From the Influencers

Defining Your Ideal Social Influencers

November 04, 2016

Most companies today monitor social media to some extent, and for good reason: it’s a free treasure trove of organic, unsolicited customer opinions on a company’s industry, performance, competitors and partners. As social media gets ever larger and more dispersed across dozens of platforms, however, the job of social media monitoring may be getting too large for humans. Larger organizations are turning to interpreting data that spans social networks and digs deep to draw conclusions rather than just select listening. It’s also the best way to get a handle on a company’s or market’s “influencers,” or people who wield a great deal of power with their opinions and recommendations on social media.

There are platforms today equipped to analyze all interactions within a social audience and organize groups of individuals into “tribes” of people with similar interests. In a recent interview with Reb Carlson, Director of New Media, at RF|Binder, he told Business2Community’s Hannah Chapple that first, companies must learn to grapple with social data, particularly if they’re ever going to be able to attach hard numbers and return on investment (ROI) data to influence marketing.

“The idea of who/what is influential, relevant, or quality is entirely subjective without data. Because conversing and engaging on social and digital is now a part of our daily lives, data allows us to gauge who true influencers are based on who is the most engaging and who drives the most conversation.”

Influencer marketing is becoming a critical component of communications strategies, so it follows that companies will need to find a way to define, meet and measure their business goals in this increasingly important marketing function. To create more positive influencers – something that’s on every company’s to-do list today – companies first need to define what their criteria for a good influencer is, and then locate these people. Doing this manually would take eons.

In addition, it’s not just the quality of the influencer, but the frequency with which he or she acts, according to Carlson. One influencer who interacts less often might create a large positive stir in the marketplace, whereas another one is effective because of reliability and regularity. But how do you know which is more valuable? What size “fish” is your influencer, in what size “pond”? How innovative is this influencer’s opinion, and how receptive is his or her network?

“Some macro-influencers find themselves ‘peaking’ in terms of their number of followers and might start to see a decline in engagement rate,” said Carlson. “The larger an influencer’s audience is, the harder it is to maintain an authentic connection. We also look for whether an influencer can provide a new point of view for the brand or push them in an innovative direction. There are so many opportunities with technology and the talent that’s out there to create engaging, innovative content.”

Influencers are not easy to find, so companies may be willing to overlook mismatches when they do find one. But it’s critical to ensure that the influencer’s audience matches the audience the company is looking for as a customer pool. Otherwise, you’ve wasted time and money chasing the wrong crowd. Before you begin expending effort to find influencers, be sure you’re looking for the right ones. 

Edited by Alicia Young

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