If you want to take advantage of influencer marketing and leverage the huge followings of leaders in your business niche, the first step is to find them. Here are some great ways to discover who people in your niche listen to.
Look for authors of trade magazines or industry blogs. Since anyone can start and write a blog, look for blogs that are widely read and trusted in your industry. It’s even better if the author has an established reputation offline in the media as well. You can do a Google search for blogs using keywords in your niche, take the results with the highest page rank, and look at their authors. Another great way to find influential authors is by searching on Amazon.
Use hashtag searches to find influencers on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The great thing about social media is that it delivers stats about influencers directly through their number of followers. However, you shouldn’t just go by followers alone. See how much actual activity there is on their profile and the kinds of conversations they’re having. You can also search on social media to see who people are mentioning.
Use your followers to find out who else they follow. You can sometimes glean this information by simply looking at their social media profiles and the other content that they share. Social media sites like Facebook allow you to see who your friends and followers like. You’ll also see their shared content. Another idea is to simply ask.
A great place to look is offline. Look at trade shows, events, and seminars. Who’s hosting them or presenting at them? What are the biggest names? This is a great way to find local influencers in a specific geographical area. An advantage of finding influencers offline is that it gives you a good chance to start building an authentic relationship with them in person, which is much easier than connecting only online.
There are also tools you can use that are specifically designed for finding key influencers. These include Klout, Traackr, Kred, Twellow and more. These tools measure the influence of a person using internet, social media, and search data. Some of them offer very detailed profiles that can help you get a good start on your research.
Once you find an influencer somewhere, you should look for them everywhere else as well. For example, if you attend a trade show and come out with a list of potential influencers, check out each through Google search, social media, tools, and so on. Cross-check to get a big-picture view of just how influential the person is and to whom.
I have recently released a training course on how to Find and Interview Influencers. Learn more: www.InterviewingInfluencers.com