In an earlier post, I wrote about the value of interesting and engaging content. Whether it is news that people want to know, contests that get people excited, feedback requests and interaction that create community or just an update that your customers might find interesting, it is all about the content. Another part of the equation is: Once you have the content, how do you get as many people as possible to see it and then act on it, thereby driving results? On the surface it might seem that the answer would be to simply get as many fans and followers as possible, but that may not actually be the best approach. Consider finding the right influencer.
In a previous post, I alluded to the fact that your fans and followers are not all created equal. Word of mouth marketers have known this for a long time. Their businesses are built on their abilities to recruit influencers with big followings and then sell access to these influencers to try out various products and services. Hopefully these people would have a good experience and then pass on the word.
Organizations are now recruiting their own fan bases on Facebook, Twitter, and any number of other social networks and trying to feed them information directly with the hopes that they pass along that information to their friends. The goal of this approach is to leverage the fan-base as a whole to hopefully influence as many users as possible. As the number of fans and followers increases, companies are realizing that even with the best content, a certain percentage of their fans and followers are static or not doing much of anything beyond the initial clicking of the button to become a fan or follower. So now those same companies are trying to figure out which of these people are the biggest influencers online. An entire industry has been started to try to help organizations figure that out with influence rankings based on huge amounts of data. Companies such as Klout are very effective at determining how influential an individual is, and have been able to recruit large numbers of influencers whose egos drive them to learn their individual influence scores.
I agree that finding the fans and followers with the most online influence can be beneficial. However, I feel that this is just a starting point. The real goal is to find the fans that are most influential for your organization. Your most influential fans and followers may not be found in the most influential users in general. So the question becomes, “How do I find fans and followers that are most effective for my organization?”
Finding The Right Influnencer
One way to approach this question is to take a hint from the old-school word of mouth marketers I mentioned before. Start out by trying to recruit as many fans and followers as possible, and then use a service like Klout to identify your top influencers. Focus on exposing those individuals to your products, services, company, and mission, and then, most importantly, track which ones forward along the most information and drive the most traffic back to your destination site. Once you’ve identified which of your influential followers are the most effective initially for your organization you can cultivate those individuals specifically and manage them more effectively as part of an intimate group.
In simplest terms, you are looking for users that will help your organization promote content to their friends in a positive way and on a regular basis, driving as much traffic back to your site as possible. The problem is, how do you track that information to figure out which of your fans and followers are most influential for you?
SocialToaster Helps Manage Influencers
SocialToaster is one such solution that allows an organization recruit fans and followers to become what we call Ambassadors, then to control the message, send it out through the Ambassadors’ networks and track the resulting traffic, allowing you to figure out which fans/followers are the most influential for you and allowing you to cultivate their loyalty even further. Whether promoting an event, starting a contest, looking for feedback or just sending out interesting news, the goal is for as many people to see that information and drive results. Finding the fans and followers that are most influential for your organization and keeping them is a key part of that. And that is why not all fans are created equal.