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Cat Fyson

The Importance Of Influencers And What They Mean For Your Business

2nd May 2014 Content Marketing 5 minutes to read

bigstock-Influence-Concept--46672900So you’re creating great content, keeping your social channels updated with it and generally ticking the basic boxes for ‘spreading the word’. It’s a good start. But unless you have millions of loyal and interested followers, you won’t see much return. You need to start engaging with influencers.

If you really want your content to reach significant audiences, you need to be working harder to engage with those who are influential in your particular niche – i.e. those that are communicating with your target audience, not your existing one.

So what makes a good influencer?

In order to know who to approach, let’s take a look at the key characteristics of an influencer:

  • They have an interest in your particular niche – they might even write a blog about it
  • Their social following is good – most influencers will likely be hanging around on Twitter (look at the number of Followers they have) or Linkedin (number of connections) so it’s easy to see how many people are interested in what they have to say
  • They share content that is not their own. A good influencer will share content from a variety of different sources. If they only share their own stuff, how likely are they to share yours?
  • Their engagement is good. Any influencer worth their salt should be communicating with their followers just as you should. Keep an eye on their Twitter timeline and see how often they are replying or mentioning other Twitter users. On Linkedin, see how many groups they have joined and how often they engage with other people’s updates.

It will be easy to tell a good influencer if you consider these points. The process does involve a degree of trial and error when it comes to finding to right people who are actually interested in helping to raise awareness of your business.

What can they do for you?

So we’ve touched on the idea of influencers being able to share your content for you, but they can also create content for you themselves.

If you ask an influencer to provide and article or quote, then you are giving them a pat on the back and basically telling them that you respect their opinion. They are pretty likely to share something they have contributed to, driving their followers to your blog.

Influencer marketing done right also means that you are able to secure guest posts on their site. Not only good for quality link earning, but also great for brand awareness and driving referral traffic to your site.

Another way that influencers can help you out is through user-generated content. Clothing brands work closely with fashion bloggers to showcase their clothing – whether its inviting them to the studio and making a video about it (and the blogger most likely also writing about it too), or creating a space where fashion bloggers send in pictures of their outfits.

ASOS have created a Fashion Finder microsite where bloggers post their photos to their profile which has their Twitter and Blog link, but also has the products worn so that others can ‘achieve the look’. It’s highly likely the blogger has also shared this content amongst their subscribers, potentially tapping into a new audience.

asos fashion finder

Types of influencer

Every individual is different, and in your outreach this needs to be at the forefront of your mind. There are several types of influencer out there, but here are a few of the most relevant for the majority of brands:

The Expert

These are the individuals who have a big following and a strong expertise. They share useful, informative content to their followers and are perfect for inviting to contribute content.

For your business, this presents the opportunity for your content to be shared by someone that your target audience trusts, thus building up the trust of your brand also.

The Authority

Similar to the expert, an authority influencer is all about providing content for their community which adds value. They have a built up community of people who respect their opinion above all else, so you want anything of yours that they share to be something they agree or relate to.

These individuals will help to raise your brand awareness, and can make the best brand ambassadors if they believe and support what you do.

The Journalist

If your business is looking for a greater level of brand exposure and has interesting news to share, you will want the relevant journalist(s) to be on your side. As someone with experience in journalism, reporters are after a timely and exclusive story. Don’t waste their time if you haven’t got one.

Aim to engage with niche journalists who have an invested interest in your story. This can result in your business getting decent exposure in the press.

So how do you find these influencers?

First of all you need to think about what your influencers are interested in. Think beyond the basic level of the product or service that you sell. Think of your industry as a whole. Make a list of keywords that are relevant.

For example, a company that sells comic books might start their list as so:

Influencer Keyword brainstorm

And then they would branch out to look further at specific comic brands and other keywords that are relevant:

Influencer Keyword Brainstorm Extended

Etc etc – that really would make a long list! The point is that at the initial stage, keep your list broad, and then cut it down based on what is most relevant.

With this example, a comic book shop could reach out to employees at particular distributor companies, or even the artists themselves.

As mentioned earlier, Twitter and Linkedin are great places to start if relevant to your industry. In the above example, you are more likely to find your influencers on Twitter than Linkedin, but if you are a B2B company, this might be the other way round. It is also worth checking out Google Plus Communities as well.

For more tips on finding key influencers, check out this blog post.

Is this a PR exercise?

Absolutely. Gaining a list of reputable and useful influencers will not happen overnight. Influencers need to be nurtured over time to maximise the effect they have.

Treat them right and they will become a great brand ambassador for your business – treat them badly and you have a classic case of bad PR on your hands. One tweet criticising your brand can be a big mess to tidy up.


For more information on our Social Media services click here or Contact Us today. Have any tips to add? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image Credits:

Influence via BigStock Photo.

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