A webinar (What Does an Influencer Really Look Like? How to Measure Online Influence that Makes a Difference) sponsored by Social Media Today looked at this topic with a panel moderated by Maggie Fox.
First, some data from The Social Mind Study:
- 78% of people online participate because they want to help others by sharing information, ideas and experiences; in other words, they come motivated to influence
- 94% of people online want to learn about topics from experts
- “Experts” are identified not by the channel – a news site writer is not necessarily seen as an expert – but by the apparent credibility of the information presented. “Content is the new currency of influence.”
How to find and engage influencers:
- Talk to customers
- Determine who you want to reach and then determine what channels they use. This may not be social media
- Once you find people who are engaged and connected to you, then offer them VIP privileges: exclusive content, access to events, access to leaders, etc. Make them feel special. Make sure there is “give” and “get.” DO NOT compensate them; this takes away their credibility in their networks.
In summary, advocacy is a by-product of a good customer experience. Once you earn those relationships, they you need to strategically engage with your advocates to expand your reach.
Many thanks to panelists Nick Hayes, President, Influencer50; Rob Fuggetta, Founder/CEO, Zuberance; and Vanessa DiMauro, CEO, LeaderNetworks for presenting the ideas offered in this post.