What do you trust more? A branded marketing message or a word of mouth recommendation?
Most will agree that the latter is more powerful.
This in essence is the reason why influencer marketing and finding the right influencer is so important for companies in the age of social media.
An influencer recommendation is like a supercharged word of mouth mention as these stars of social have vast, engaged followerships hanging on their every word.
A study by McKinsey found that “marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.” And those that were acquired through word-of-mouth had a 37 percent higher retention rate.
For many brands, there are already plenty of people talking about your brand, product or event who can help you reach a wider, more engaged audience, but too often they are hidden in a mass of social media and online noise.
The following blog will show you how to use social media analytics to quickly find hidden influencers who are ready and waiting to help you drive sales and brand awareness, using Talkwalker’s newly revamped influencer marketing functions.
1. Relevance – Finding the Most Relevant Influencers
To explain how to do it we’re going to use the examples of perhaps the best-loved product of one of the world’s most recognizable brands: The Starbucks Frappuccino.
The Frappuccino has become synonymous with Starbucks and recently the US-based coffee giant released new flavors of its flagship product.
So how could they go about finding the top influencers for their US campaign?
When finding influencers, relevance is key and the first stage when choosing your influencers is to work out exactly what you need an influencer for.
For a major brand like Starbucks it makes sense to find influencers who operate in a specific market and even on a specific media channel. Social media analytics can help brands work out which media channel will work best for them but as an example, the influencer table below shows US-based Twitter accounts that have received the most engagement when using the term “Frappuccino” in a tweet over the last 30 days.
This above list gives us a good first overview of the kind of accounts Starbucks may want to look at.
But to find our perfect Frappuccino influencer we’ll need to take a closer look at some key social media metrics.
Questions to Remember: What product/brand/event am I looking for an influencer for? In which region? And on what media channel?
2. Performance – Determining Your Most Effective Influencers
Working out which influencer will work best depends on a few different metrics according to your needs. But as a general rule, engagement and reach should be more of a factor than post frequency for a couple of reasons:
1) Post frequency shows enthusiasm for a product but without strong reach and engagement these posts will not be reaching many people
2) On social networks in particular, high frequency and low engagement may indicate an account that is prone to spamming
Reach is generally more useful than frequency, but reach too has its problems:
The chart above shows the top influencers by reach but looking at the engagement column, we can quickly see that while these accounts have large numbers of followers, their audiences aren’t engaged, at least not on the topic of Starbucks Frappuccino’s.
For the Frapuccino, engagement looks to be the best metric to use to sort results, as the accounts with the highest engagement also have a relatively high number of followers.
As we are looking for a person rather than a publication in this case, we can immediately rule out those accounts that aren’t people. This leaves us with five top candidates based on engagement:
From a metrics perspective, all of these potential influencers have registered levels of engagement that would merit some attention. And each has their strengths: @Fabiodelrey has the most engagement (and the most engagement per mention) whilst @CulturedRuffian has the biggest reach.
But to work out which influencer is really the best fit, we need to get a better idea of the people behind the metrics.
Questions to Remember: Am I looking for a person or a publication? Do I need someone with extensive reach or strong engagement?
3. Context – Getting the Right Fit
The final stage to finding your perfect influencer is to understand a bit more about what people tweet about and whether they are a good fit for your needs.
A quick look through the social media accounts of @deemariegift, @LairKellylairss and @AkatsukiClouds shows that none of these three really expressed particular love for the product which helps us rule them out:
Which leaves us with two main options: @FabioDelrey and @CulturedRuffian. Both expressed their love for the Starbucks product but what do they tweet about usually and how much reach and engagement do their tweets receive?
These two snapshots taken from the new Talkwalker influencer table give us a quick overview of overall performance, profile and some of the themes they cover. By getting a clearer overview of exactly what a potential brand advocate tweets about, marketing and PR professionals can not only see if this influencer is a good fit but also find the right approach to make contact.
We can quickly see that @CulturedRuffian has a significantly larger number of followers and is a much more frequent poster than @Fabiodelrey. In performance terms, Fabio Del Rey’s tweets have had more engagement but The Refined Ruffian has greater reach. At this stage @CulturedRuffian is probably slightly ahead but what clinches it, is the top companies discussed.
Using the Talkwalker smart theme cloud, we can quickly see that Fabio del Rey’s tweets focus more on tech brands and cars. By contrast The Refined Ruffian’s theme cloud looks to be a better match for Starbucks with numerous food related brands among his most discussed topics.
Questions to Remember: Does this influencer talk about topics and brands that our audience cares about? Do they generate high levels of engagement and reach on a regular basis? How should I connect with them?
And The Winner Is…?
Our choice for Starbucks Frappuccino influencer based on relevance, performance and context is…
When the barista gives you an extra shot in your chocolate caramel vanilla hazelnut mocha cookie crumble frappuccino pic.twitter.com/WdWHYvX8Vj
— The Cultured Ruffian (@CulturedRuffian) April 16, 2016
Of course, at each stage there is a level of qualitative analysis that is needed to make your final decision. Maybe the content of an influencer’s tweets doesn’t match your brand message. Maybe you need somebody that matches a pre-determined profile. But by using influencer metrics and social media analytics to filter through potential candidates, brands can quickly and easily find strong candidates for brand ambassadors that would otherwise remain hidden in the social shadows. The example used here was for a product but the process is the same when looking for influencers for events, industry topics and brands.
Having the right influencer for your campaigns can be the difference between success and failure, especially in the increasingly crowded social media space. By using social media analytics for influencer analysis, you can make sure you find the perfect choice every time.