According to MarketingProfs’ recent Influencer Marketing Status Report, nearly two-thirds (61%) of the marketers they surveyed noted that one of the biggest challenges of influencer marketing is identifying the relevant people who can truly help their brand or campaigns. It raises the question, what steps are they taking to identify their influencers? Depending on your brand or campaign, there are different approaches you can take to identify the ‘right’ influencers, and there are three common elements that are a must to make it successful.

1. Understand how you are defining ‘influencer’ in the context of your brand or campaign. Some define influencers as those who have shown interest in a topic or lifestyle, market or brand and have high social scores (number of followers, unique visitors, retweets, link sharing, comments etc.). While others may look at a high-profile personality or celebrity with a large Twitter following as their ‘go-to’ influencer. There are different “types” of influencers depending on how you want to utilize them to reach your goals and that drives your identification process. It is also important to remember, what you define as an influencer can change—and change often — depending on the audience and environment you are trying to reach.

2. Further refine your selection criteria. Once you have defined your desired influencer type, determine what factors you need to look at to find the influencer best suited to help you meet your goals. For example, beyond network size, you also may want to look at the quality and type of the content they are creating, as well as the engagement level of their followers. Do they leave comments on their blogs? Are the influencers not only creating content, but are they interacting with their followers? One effective selection methodology is to create an algorithm that weighs a number of these different factors along with relevance to the brand and/or product. Taking this step helps you dial-in on the right influencer for your program. And even more important, it establishes a great base of potential influencers that you can start to build a relationship with.

3. Get to know your influencers firsthand. Building a relationship with your prospective influencers is an important step in the identification process. Influencers appreciate the fact that you are not just approaching them like a number, that you have read their posts and followed them, and in some cases, engaged with them along the way. Having an authentic experience is a great way to select the influencers you want to engage with for your brand.

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What approach do you take to identify your influencers? Are you part of the 61% who find it as one of your biggest challenges? You may also want to check out how some of our clients have tackled the challenge.

Brenda Todd
Brenda Todd

Social engagement and community manager specialist. Current focus on: online communities, community management, consumer/advocate content and engagement strategy, advocate identification, social media measurement and tracking, and social listening programs, along with production and event management. Brenda has 18+ years of experience in both traditional and social marketing programs