The word “influence” is defined as, “The capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.” My favorite part of that definition is “compelling force.” What marketing or PR person wouldn’t want to be able to leverage something as powerful as a compelling force over the actions of their audience? Unfortunately, many PR pros and marketers struggle to identify and connect with those who are in this position. We’d like to provide some specific advice to help.
Who are Influencers?
Influencers are people who have earned the trust of buyers in your market and who have the channels to reach them. Some people are celebrity influencers with huge audiences and significant pull. (In technology, Guy Kawasaki comes to mind.) Others have a smaller, but more targeted audience. Both are valuable. Cast a wide net when thinking about the types of people who may be influencers for your brand. They might include:
- Industry experts and analysts
- Journalists and reporters
- User Community Leaders
- Vendors with non-competitive products used by your target audience
- Politicians and regulators
How do you find them?
There are many useful tools for identifying the most important influencers in your space. Our favorites include:
Klout - Klout was one of the first sites to offer social media influence metrics. It provides a comprehensive view of an individual’s activity on social media sites and blogs and offers a 1-100 score, making it easy to find the most potent influencers in your market.
Buzzsumo - Buzzsumo is an online resource that finds the most frequently shared content across all the major social networks. Users can search for a topic and instantly see the most shared content across Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest. It also provides information on the influencers who are sharing content. For any topic, you can see influencers with the most followers, and the highest domain and page authority.
Kred – Kred is similar to Klout in that it provides an influencer score, but it's measured somewhat differently. Kred measures influence by assessing how frequently a person is retweeted, replied, mentioned and followed on Twitter. It also measures outreach by one’s retweets, replies and mentions of others. This shows you how generous the influencer is in sharing the content and stories of others.
Once you have identified the people who have the attention of your audience, you can move to the next step and begin to build your influencer network, measure engagement, and assess the impact of your PR efforts. Influencers are the people your potential buyers look to for advice and insight. Don’t miss the incredible opportunity to have your messages shared by the people in this position of trust.