The elusive influencer: Identifying individuals who elicit sales

We’re subscribed to the Union Metrics newsletter, and every once in a while we get an issue that gets me thinking.  Last month we got a piece providing advice on identifying and qualifying influencers for campaigns (“5 questions to ask about an influencer before a campaign or brand partnership“).  It made several good points, and I’d like to expound on two of them:

For one, Union Metrics (UM) suggests that you focus on quality of engagement and not merely number of followers.  This is good advice, albeit rather basic for anyone currently in the business of influencer marketing.  And yet, it’s also somewhat hard to follow consistently – esp. when management has a propensity to view a single number as the sum-total of significance, regardless the context.

Engagement is key, and for us at Ivy trying to help our clients prompt sales amongst prospective buyers, we don’t just look at Twitter.

(We don’t advise relying on a single social media platform — far from it — but that’s another post in itself.)

In fact, when was the last time you spent any significant amount of money based on a tweet?

We subscribe to the notion that engagement-oriented metrics can tell you a lot.  For instance, how often is content RT’ed (if we’re talking Twitter)?  What’s the general frequency of eliciting comments?  How many times is an article, or the site in general, linked to?

These metrics, combined with the actual substance of the content (oh yeah, that), can help you identify those individuals with a tendency to stimulate sales amongst their readership.

Secondly, if you’re looking for influencers for a campaign, per Union Metrics, you ought not rule out site owners who have participated in campaigns run by competing brands.

Here’s a tip:  You could do worse than reviewing competitors’ campaigns and poaching from amongst those participants.  You may find rich pickings.

You know best who your customers and competition are, and so if there’s already a demonstrated match between a close competitor and influencers reaching your target market, then it stands to reason that those same influencers could be a good fit for you.

In fact, the competition may already have pre-qualified your influencer targets, allowing you to focus your energies on identifying on net-new individuals.  And if you’re the observant type, you may wish to review exactly what those individuals are ding with the competition, to identify best practices (or actions to avoid).

UM warns that you ought to steer clear of those individuals who’re clearly attached to a competitor’s brand, as you’re likely to be rebuffed anyhow.  So, don’t waste your time there; but even aside from those sites, there ought to be a rich seam to harvest.

Courtesy of Smithsonian

Happy hunting!

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