5 Tips for Vetting Influencers: Survivor Style
Finding influencers may be time-consuming, but it isn’t hard to spot them. Follow along on Twitter or Instagram for any amount of time, and they rapidly rise to the surface. But which ones are right for your influencer marketing program?
The answer is partially found in doing the research. You look for people who are relevant to your brand and industry; pay attention to their reach; and establish that they have an actual, engaged audience.
The task, however, is not yet finished. You now have a list of potential candidates with a lot of data surrounding them. The information is helpful—critical, really—but it doesn’t help with prioritizing which influencers to reach out to first. To get to that point, you have to do some data mining and analysis.
Collecting data would take forever if you were to do it manually. Don’t do it. Instead use tools and technology like Cision’s social media listening software to your advantage. Let it do the heavy lifting. You’ll still have plenty of work to do once it’s done its job.
Organize the Data
Organization is going to be your best friend when it comes to data. Use a spreadsheet or other tool to collect the numbers and any qualitative data.
Let the numbers speak to you. Become a “numbers whisperer.” The data has a story to tell if you have the ears to listen to it.
Look for trends and patterns. Does one influencer rise above the rest when it comes to certain topics? What about seasonality? Are some influencers more “influential” during a specific time period? Do they crest when at an event like IBM Insight 2015 or CES?
Add the Human Element
Now add emotional intelligence. Gut instincts exist for a reason. Always check them against the data, but don’t be afraid to pass on an influencer because they don’t seem exactly right for the occasion.
Keep a Working List of Influencers
Passing on an influencer for one campaign doesn’t mean they’re off the influencer marketing island. Keep a working list of who’s who and who’s where. One influencer may work for a spring campaign but not a fall one.
Other times, you need to grow the tribe. One or two aren’t going to do the trick. You need Twitter and SnapChat influencers for a particular PR initiative. Change and add influencers as needed to have the most effect.
A note: don’t abandon existing influencers when they aren’t right for a campaign. You’ve put a lot of effort into building the relationship. Keep it alive even when they aren’t actively in play. If you do that, they’ll continue advocating for your brand regardless of their level of involvement in a current campaign or initiative.
Update the Data
Influencers come and go. Make sure to stay up to date with their areas of expertise and other information. The influencer who isn’t a tribal leader today may be tomorrow.
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