alison krauss

Building and nurturing relationships with social influencers is every brand’s and marketer’s dream. But it doesn’t just happen – it takes a little finesse.

Brands doing it well – like Teva, ShopStyle and Dr. Pepper – are finding success “leveraging influencers to drive engagement and awareness,” according to eMarketer. But here’s a newsflash: They’re not doing anything you can’t do. You just need to apply a little social listening savvy.

Identifying influencers through audience segmentation

First things first – you’ve got to identify who your influencers are, and you shouldn’t make assumptions. Influencers can be anyone: bloggers, Instagram stars, YouTube personalities, Hollywood celebrities, thought leaders in your field, or your very own customers.

You don’t have to find one or two or seven people with a half-million followers each – though they’re nice to have. You can identify and engage thousands upon thousands of influencers and all of their followers.

Start with the people who mention your brand on social – after all, if they’re mentioning you, they like you at least a little. But you want to work with the people who LOVE you.

To find them you’ve got to dig into what else they love – as contradictory as that seems. The idea is to get a sense of what defines your most rabid followers – the ones who’ll take up the influencer mantle with relish.

What influences the influencers?

What common interests do those who love your brand also share? Discovering this is what our Audience 3D™ tool was made for. You want to get past the noise, past the average Joes/Janes, and get to those super fans – and what makes them tick.

For example, if you’re a country music label with a new artist to introduce, you want to know what country music fans are into. And in particular, you want to look for anything you can leverage with regard to your artist and use it to create individual audience segments.

So maybe you see similar interests like a lot of country fans who also like Beyonce, and shopping. That’s fine, but you want the fans who are true blue – and anyone whose taste includes country AND Queen Bey is too diverse to count. There’s a difference between enthusiasts and influencers.

So you eliminate the enthusiasts. Now what are you seeing? Maybe you see segments of people who love discovering new artists, love hearing a skilled fiddle player in a country track, or love Diet Coke.

And let’s say your new artist is also a big fan of Diet Coke and is the next Alison Krauss? Now you’ve got something to work with!

You’ve found them, now don’t lose them!

Finding influencers, however, is only half the battle. How do you break into the conversation without turning them off? Yes, they love you – but you can still change that if you’re too aggressive.

This is where all the insights you gathered while creating audience segments comes into play – though you can drill down deeper and create even more segments. Then you want to use those common interests to create individualized messaging for each segment.

You want to talk to them about what THEY love, and build the relationship so you can introduce your needs over time, from an authentic place – not a promotional one: “Hey remember when we were talking about amazing fiddle players? We just signed one, you have to hear her!”

Engaging influencers is all about finding the right audience and delivering the right messaging at the right time. When you do that, they’ll take care of the rest.

To learn more about how Audience 3D helps you connect with influencers, get in touch!

Image from Earl McGehee

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