3 Reasons to use Influencers in Your Social Media Marketing

Jan 6, 2015

The two most effective forms of advertising are word of mouth and personal recommendations; an estimated 94 percent of consumers rate word of mouth as the source they trust the most. When a person who has considerable credibility regarding a given topic or area of interest makes a comment about a related product, he or she is considered to be an influencer. Marketers seek out influencers because of their ability to influence the behavior of other members of their respective communities and networks.

reasons to use influencers for social media

Influencers can often be found blogging about a particular niche or interest to hundreds or even thousands of followers. These bloggers may be industry practitioners, members of the academic community, working journalists, or simply knowledgeable individuals who have extensive knowledge and a passionate feel for their chosen field of interest.

According to a study published by Technorati, bloggers as a group are the third most powerful online factor influencing purchase decisions, second only to retail and brand sites. Social media marketers are actively leveraging the persuasive power of bloggers to help build brand awareness and influence the purchase behavior of the blog’s followers.

Why Social Media Influencers are Important
Research tells us that 74 percent of consumers rely on some form of social media for help with making purchase decisions.

  • Popular social media influencers typically have a sizeable following, whether it consists of Twitter followers, Facebook friends or regular blog readers. If a brand can successfully engage with a social influencer, it has the potential to reach a wide audience.
  • Most influencers are very good at building networks. Their followers talk about and share the influencer’s posts, so that that any mentions of your brand will similarly reach a bigger audience. You may also be able to identify and connect with other influencer-members of that audience and reap the benefits of their networks in turn.
  • Many audience members cite great content as the primary reason for following influencers. Relevant content is important to the success of any marketing campaign, and influencers are ideally positioned to create content promoting your brand that will truly resonate with their followers.

How to Find Influencers for Your Brand
Start off by identifying the metrics that you consider important in defining an effective influencer. Typically, you would want to consider the number of followers or fans that the influencer has, how often they engage with their audience, how often they mention specific brands in their posts, how likely they would be to talk about your particular brand, the average number of comments they receive when they review or talk about a brand, and whether they are generally positive, negative or neutral about your particular industry or niche.

Once you have established a set of criteria to measure your prospective influencers by, you’re ready to begin your actual search.

Search conversational data channels. You’ll need a good social media listening tool such as Brandwatch or Radian6 and a list of appropriate keywords for your niche. List the most forceful commentators and check their profiles against the range of topics that they cover and the size of their following.

Search Google and/or Twitter. Insert your niche-appropriate keywords and choose blogs and discussions for Google, and tweets and people for Twitter. Follow the same procedure as above to filter your list of possibilities.

Search FollowerWonk. This tool enables you to find influencers based on the keywords they use in their Twitter bio. You can even rank-order the data by number of followers or number of posted tweets.