As brands start to take a more holistic approach to influencer marketing and extend their relationships from celebrity influencers to micro-influencers, the importance of choosing the right ones becomes paramount. At first glance, it might seem easy to enlist an influencer marketing agency to find talent, but most of these agencies are simply finding people based on follower count and content, not the true impact they have on their online and offline audience.
In order to optimize a micro-influencer strategy, marketers need to understand in detail the level of engagement of someone’s audience, the specific types of people following this person and their interests, the effective reach once content is shared, and ultimately, the impact on sales and brand awareness. This requires sophisticated micro-listening capabilities that are not necessarily solved by traditional influencer talent sourcing, but rather, through the application of technology designed to surface the best micro-influencers for a given brand.
For example, bloggers, public speakers, etc. have incredible reach and influence that is not always captured by simply looking at social media metrics. These types of people have influence on their audience in a way that is unique from most as their content is consumed in multiple formats. Similarly, credentialed topical expertise commands attention in a different way than just another influencer on social media with reach. The respected chef, wine expert, or musician is going to make an impression on their audience that is much more impactful than the average influencer. Further, drilling down where these people live and how their voice and reputation can be carried more profoundly in a certain part of the country makes a big difference in results. By measuring true audience engagement and the “ripple effect” of how content is consumed by their followers, marketers can drill deeper into the impact of a prospective micro-influencer. Technology can also reveal clues about brand affinity through brand follows, brand mentions, and other insights about the influencer. This brand-specific insight allows marketers to extend topical expertise to brand expertise very quickly. In short, accessing these clues in conjunction with their reach is essential in finding the best nodes of influence for a brand or campaign.
Extending this concept further, no voice is more powerful than the voice of experience so connecting with loyal customers and leveraging their influence is the most powerful channel of all. Marketers need to connect CRM data with social data to understand those within their database that have the potential to amplify a brand message. There are now tools available to sync up CRM data with social handles to reveal the strongest micro-influencers already using a product or service. These people are truly brand ambassadors and need less incentive to promote on behalf of the brand. Their endorsements are more genuine and believable as they are rooted in first hand experience and as a result, their audience responds more favorably to their posts and content.
As influencer marketing continues to grow, the focus on effectiveness and ROI will only continue to get more important. By investing now in the proper tools and technology, marketers can find the very best micro-influencers for every brand or campaign and generate better overall results for the business.
David Rush (@davidmrush) is the Founder and CEO of Earshot, a social media marketing platform that enables brands to discover, prioritize, and engage customers in real-time. Learn more about Earshot at earshotinc.com and follow us on Twitter @earshotinc.