Influencer marketing: finding your industry’s influencers

July 27, 2016

“It's not what you know but who you know” goes the old adage. You might argue that is now true of marketing, what with the increasing clout of influencers, especially on social media.

Partnering with influencers in your industry pretty much guarantees that you will get your message in front of the right audience and accelerate conversions. Even with great content, you can’t be sure that it will get the audience it deserves (unless you pay for the privilege, of course).

However, it seems marketers are having trouble trying to locate exactly whom they need to be getting on the right side of.

In a survey, 75% of marketers told Schlesinger Associates that identifying the right influencers was the biggest challenge when rolling out an influencer engagement strategy.

With that, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) analysed 21 marketing influencers, studying the last 100 links each one shared over two days to get a better understanding of what they’re talking about and what sites they’re visiting to uncover key insights.

Here are three key takeaways from that study:

1. Tools will make your life much easier

When it comes to identifying the influencers in your industry, your first move should be to make use of the tools that are readily available. CMI says that it used BuzzSumo and Followerwonk for the purpose of its survey, allowing it to sort influencers by reach, authority, influence and engagement.

It also made the most of the individual social networks, carrying out simple keyword searches while simultaneously vetting a potential influencer based on his or her connections and level of engagement.

2. Relationships needs to be mutually beneficial

When CMI looked at the top three shared sites of each influencer, nearly 50% included other influencers’ sites or personal blogs. What this tells us is that reciprocity is everything in terms of building relationships online.

So, if you’re hoping to convince an influencer to share a piece of your content, you’ll need to put in the groundwork: writing them an email unrelated to any content you’re promoting; sharing some of their content; offering to collaborate on projects.

3. Aim for the ‘majority illusion’

The ‘majority illusion’ is the idea that you only need a handful of influencers to give the impression that everyone is talking about your business.

So, instead of measuring influence by the number of followers somebody has, judge an influencer by how relevant the content they share is with what you do, how often they interact with their audience, and how often they post quality content.

These tips won’t just help you identify influencers in your industry, but connect with them, too.

Dan Vivian - Business Development & Marketing Director