In Chapter 1, I briefly introduce the social influencers and how they affect purchasing decisions. In this chapter, I discuss social influencers in greater detail and explain why they matter, how you can reach them, and what best practices to deploy in the process of doing so. I focus on the social influencers who reside within the social graphs of your customers and how you can account for them in all your marketing efforts. Some of the concepts in this chapter rightly seem to draw inspiration from influencer marketing, with its roots in the public relations world, whereas other concepts will feel very different
Reaching the Expert Influencers
Different strategies exist for reaching and activating the expert influencers. How you reach them varies based on who they are, what you want them to accomplish, and where you think you have the best chance of establishing a relationship with them. This could be by introducing yourself to them at conferences, replying to their tweets, commenting on their blog posts, or friending them in Facebook. It all depends. The good news is that influencers like to influence and, as long as you have a promising value proposition, they will at the very least listen to you.
Reaching the expert influencers may be easy depending upon your industry, the size of your business, and the product you are selling. But for other marketers, that may not be the case. For example, if you’re a marketer for a small business, reaching expert influencers is going to be even harder because these people may not be high-profile or visible. You’ll have to really seek them out. Here are some tips for reaching expert influencers:
Tapping into the Referent Influencers
Until recently, there was no way to reach referent influencers. In fact, in conversations about influencers, there’d be no mention of the referent influencers because they couldn’t be identified and therefore were not even thought about. Marketers had no way of identifying them, tracking their behavior, or marketing towards them specifically. For all practical purposes, they did not exist. That’s now changed because consumers connect with their friends and make their social graphs available through the social networks
Anonymous referent influencers
These are everyday people who are extremely active on the social platforms and blog, upload, comment, rate, and share much more than other consumers who share their same demographics. By virtue of the volume of their activity on the various social platforms, the anonymous referent influencers carry weight. Your customers probably don’t think of them as experts, but they do notice what these people are doing online.
Reaching the Referent Influencers
Referent influencers are not that easily reached. Most social platforms do not allow marketers to mine the social graphs of their users, so identifying these people and reaching them can be challenging. As a result, it can be difficult to identify these referent influencers and activate them.
But there’s good news too. Some enterprising advertising technology companies have been researching ways to reach these referent influencers without compromising the privacy of your customers or their circle of friends. Reaching the referent influencers through these methods is safe and reliable, although it does cost you money, with the amount depending on how many referent influencers you’re trying to reach. In the next few sections, I discuss how these companies help you reach the referent influencers.