As more brands become aware of the value of having a presence on Twitter, they also understand the importance of using it efficiently. Twitter is arguably the most impactful of all social media platforms because it’s real-time and conversational in nature. Very immediate and very influential.
If you want to maximize your brand’s reach on Twitter, the best way is to go straight to the high-rankers bench and connect with people who have the ability to cause ‘measureable’ impact to your brand; these wonderful people are the influencers.
What’s all this fuss about influencers?
The Twitter ecosystem operates on the traditional word-of-mouth marketing model, but instead, it’s online. In this model, information or content created by your brand is shared with your followers who then choose whether to share this information with their followers and so on. If the information you put out is interesting enough, it will spread far and wide through these never-ending exponentially growing circles of influence in the form of retweets, replies and favourites creating a more desirable social graph for your brand. And this is what happens when things go viral! The trouble is, the wider you go, the more diluted your info or content will potentially become, it may even take on a life of its own!
If you have influencers in your immediate circle, you can maximize the diffusion of information and minimize the dilution of the message. A handful of influencers help amplify visibility, gain followers, increase brand awareness and eventually help attack more market share.
But finding influencers is hard!
Yes, if it were easy everyone would be at it.
2 things to look for while trying to find influencers are Outreach and Influence.
Outreach – the inclination a tweeter will have to engage with others and a willingness he/she has to spread your brand’s message.
Influence – the actually ability a tweeter has to inspire actions such as replying, tagging, retweeting and causing other to follow your brand.
Here are a few questions to answer before you can confirm someone as an influencer:
Is their content original, valuable and relevant to your brand?
Do they tweet on a daily basis?
Do they reply to tweets in an appropriate timescale? Do they reply at all?
Is there a balance between their following/follower ratio?
Are they following/being followed by spam accounts or RT junkies?
If these points are in check, you’re most likely dealing with genuine influencers and not bots.
(Check out a list of handy tools for spotting influencers at the end of this post.)
Now I have them what do I do with them?
After you’ve bended over backwards identifying and bringing influencers on board, you should make sure that you reward them appropriately so you can retain them for future projects. You should try and turn them into loyal brand followers and in-turn lifetime brand influencers.
Brands often give shopping vouchers and e-coupons as rewards, which is an extremely misguided and temporary way of engaging customers through influencers. If you look at it plain and simple, you’re buying the influence, not gaining it by the strength of your product of service.
If you reward influencers with things that are actually relevant to them, you can build longer lasting relationship, hopefully evolving to a stage where they genuinely believe in your brand and would promote it even beyond the span of a project they are engaged for.
Retweet their tweets, mention their names, favourite their tweets (if relevant) to show that the engagement goes both ways.
Use the opportunity and give them a taste of your brand’s product or service if possible so they can experience the treatment as a customer.
Simple things like writing a letter acknowledging their help after the project is over will go a long way.
Finally, remember that you are engaging influencers with an end goal in mind. If you’ve deemed them influential enough to represent your brand, they know they are valuable to you. While some people will accept that role with grace, some might try to take advantage. Treat them well but also be aware of your brand’s larger goals and make sure that the level of your response to their needs is balanced.
The must-have toolkit: 6 comprehensive tools to manage your project from beginning to end
Follower Wonk – A good place to start of looking for influencers. Allows you to search for influencers based on categories and keywords and then rates their influence.
Kred – Breaks down people’s online influence into separate ‘influence’ and ‘outreach’ scores. Collects data from Twitter, Facebook blogs and forums to help identify influential people and their engagement levels.
Klout – Gives a combined score based on your ability to drive conversations and influence actions such as likes, shares, retweets, replies and so on.
SocialBro – Good tool to help find followers based on categories. They also have detailed analytics, profile management options and more.
Topsy – This one helps analyze topics, trends, popular culture and then compare data; helpful tool to understand what categories you should look for influencers in the first place.
Tweetlevel – Although this is now requires login details to access the network, (@jonnybentwood gives these away quite happily) it is one of the best tools out there because it only measures influence based on your Twitter activity and not across multiple social media platforms.
Different tools use different formulas and parameters to score people. It would be smart to run names through a few different tools for added confirmation.
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