You have probably heard something about influencers. You may have some idea about what defines an influencer but your knowledge may not go beyond that. One thing that is very important to remember is that influencers are critical to the success of your business.
The significance of social media influencers
The first thing that you have to do is to determine who is an influencer and then to choose the appropriate influencers for your particular business.
A good way to start your determination process is by figuring out why a particular person has influence over other people in your particular niche or industry. Of course, that influencer must have done certain things that made him or her earn that influencer status. From a marketing perspective, there are a few aspects that are the most prominent and the most important.
Reach: Your reach is defined as the amount of people who you have the potential to connect with (on any real level) through the influencer. No doubt, you will only be interested in those people who are valuable to your business.
Relevance: When you are at the point of identifying the influencers that are the most advantageous to your business, one of the driving factors is relevance. If what the influencer is doing and saying in no way connects with what you are trying to do with your business, the chances are very good that the person is not the right influencer for you. On the other hand, if the person’s approach is synergistic with what you are trying to do with your business, he or she is probably a good fit for you.
Resonance: At this point in the process, you have undoubtedly identified your target audience and you are building those relationships. Whichever influencer(s) you have identified as the most appropriate ones for your business, that person’s ideas must resonate not only with you but also with your target audience. If the information doesn’t resonate with everyone involved, you may have chosen your influencer incorrectly.
Determine your social media influencers
It is not always easy to determine who is the best social media influencers for your particular business. Logically speaking, you need to be certain that the influencers who you have identified for your business are actually the right choices. During your process of identifying those influencers, some of the things that you may wish to consider are the amount of people who follow that influencer and where the person ranks on the search engine pages.
As far as the number of followers is concerned, there are easy ways that you can do that, depending on the particular social media channels that you are researching. If you are researching a particular influencer, you should check him or her out on social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Twitter. All of them will let you know how many connections that influencer has. Those social media channels will also allow you to get a strong sense of how involved that particular influencer is with other people online. That is another aspect that is important for you when you are choosing an influencer. Part of that engagement will be in the form of “likes” and part of it will be an actual discussion.
Your research will allow you to determine not only if the influencer is a subject matter expert but also if the person is someone with whom you want to associate on a human level.
Search engine optimization is another extremely important aspect of your decision. If the influencer doesn’t rank high on the search engine pages, you may need to rethink your decision. The search engine rankings are very important and anyone who feels that it is not necessary to pay attention to that is doing his or her business a tremendous disservice. You will see over time that the more top-quality content you share online, the higher your search engine rankings will be.
Pay attention to the engagement aspect
In order to choose the appropriate social media influencers, you will need to get to know them first. That means that you need to engage them. You will want to start valuable conversations (or, at least, one really meaningful one) with the influencer so that you really get to know what he or she stands for. If the person’s views are not a match for your own, it won’t work for your business.
When you start the conversation, make sure that you offer something of value to the other person. It would be a big mistake for you to wait for the other person to offer you value first. If you initiate this, you will have some control over the relationship, which is what you want. In general, the other person will react positively to what you are saying. That is exactly how you build the relationship (and hopefully it will be an enduring one).
If your content is valuable to the influencer, he or she will want to share your content with other people. Again, that is exactly what you want to happen. That increases your reach and your relevance. It will also potentially increase your search engine rankings.
Keep your connections with influencers going strong
At this point, you have done a lot of work to make sure that you cement the relationship with your influencer(s). In short, you have laid the groundwork (or foundation) for the relationship. However, your relationship with your influencers (just like all of your relationships) will need care.
Establishing your relationships is critical and it is a very important first step. However, after that, you will enter the maintenance phase of the relationship. In order to maintain those relationships, you need to continue to interact on a regular basis. You will need to capture the information of exactly who are your influencers in some way.
Creating lists may work very nicely for that. Although it will not cost you a penny to maintain those relationships, there will be a necessary investment on your part. You will need to invest time and effort. That should be pretty easy to do if you make the commitment. After all, it is your business and you will want to do everything possible to become as successful as possible.
Influencers are so important for your success. Just like all other important relationships, you need to establish the relationship, grow it, and maintain it properly. You will get a wonderful return on your investment. Like any other meaningful thing in life, your relationships with your influencers take work but are well worth the effort. As time evolves, you need to remember to be flexible with your market and with the people with whom you share such important, influential relationships.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.
His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
By Michael Cohn
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