Don’t be swayed by the size of someone’s network or affinity to an industry. They’re probably a ‘brandividual’.
What’s more important is that the individual in question can actually be shown to influence a particular community. Unless they can, you’ll be shouting into a vacuum, or peeing in the wind, or just generally not being successful.
Tools should be backed up with manual research
Followerwonk, Little Bird, Traackr, BuzzSumo, GroupHigh – all good tools for finding influencers.
However, you can’t take their results as read. Cross-referencing and doing some background research will help you separate the genuine wheat from the disingenuous chaff.
Get out there
Attending industry events (such as, ahem, the Festival of Marketing) is a good way to spot influencers.
They are often presenting and can be found at the bar when the curtain comes down. That first conversation, in person, can lay the groundwork for a working relationship.
Have a sense of humour
Be clever or humorous when contacting an influencer.
Too many PRs and marketing professionals still contact people with impersonal, presumptuous and demanding requests. Cut through this by being a real person when you communicate, not entitled.
State your expectations
Make sure co-creators know what’s expected of them, both in terms of content and communications. Give timelines but don’t hesitate to also point out the benefits for all when the project is successful.
Track, measure, analyse
Referral traffic from the influencer’s social networks and websites is great, but don’t leave the tracking at that. Look at time on site, categories of content consumed, leads and sales. It’s the only way to improve.
Decide what key performance metrics will show increased affinity between a topic and the brand. Make sure you’re measuring these from the beginning.