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How to find a social media influencer

In response to readers that have asked me to elaborate on the idea of social media influencers and how to find them, I figured I would offer up a simple how-to post on the subject.

Note: There a likely dozens of other techniques that can be used, but this one works pretty well in my experience.
Before you can learn how identify social media influencers, you have to actually define what they are. Here’s a layman’s definition:

  • An individual or web entity that has a strong following and/or readership within one or more social media channels.

Still a bit unsure? Here’s an example:

mashable.com

mashable

Now that’s a lot of followers.

Clearly, this is an extreme example of one of those upper echelon influencers I made mention of in the past, but you get the idea. An influencer has a lot of influence.

Now I know what some of you are saying. You’re saying, “Come on, Hugo, that one was easy. Everyone knows that Mashable is an influential site. Besides, I need influencers in my particular market niche.”

Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered. Let’s take it step by step:

  1. Figure out what your market niche is and what keyword phrases are associated with it. So for example, if your company sells tires and other assorted auto parts then your keywords would be things like “tires”, “brakes”, auto parts”, “car parts”, etc (as well as things like “mechanic” since you’re also in the service business).
  2. Use Google, Twitter search, and Facebook search as well as social monitoring tools to identify influencers that show up under keywords you identified in step 1 as well as variations related of those core keywords. (example keyword variations could be things like “tire blog”, “car parts forum”, “mechanic discussion”, etc)
  3. Take a look for evidence of influence; things like multiple comments on blog posts, high follower/subscriber counts, multiple active discussion threads or responses, frequent posts or updates.
  4. If you have a strong understanding of the subject matter in question, read the content and make sure that it’s legit and timely. So for example, if you know a lot about tires and car parts, read the blogs, Twitter feeds, etc that you come across to make sure that the content is good on a human level.
  5. Check to see if they rank well in Google for the keywords associated with their content (Note: this is not always a make or break factor, because there are infuencers that for one reason or another do not dominate Google’s search results)

There are a lot of variations to this general methodology, but in a nutshell, this is how you figure out whether or not someone is a social media influencer. This is just the beginning, though. Now you have to figure out how properly engage with a social media influencer.

P.S. There’s an interesting article over at readwriteweb.com today, which talks about the difference between popularity and influence. It’s definitely worth a read.

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