Influencer Engagement Marketing

Consumers don’t click banner ads, and gazing around advertising and marketing messages has become a universal, learned, online behavior.

Influencer Engagement Marketing
The future of marketing involves creating and then distributing (brand) message-infused, engaging, native content via targeted and motivated influencers and experts.  This process is called Influencer Engagement Marketing (IEM).  IEM is a multi-step process that involves:

  1. Finding and understanding the influencers and experts that are most likely to be receptive and have the capacity to re-transmit your message.
  2. Infusing your message into something engaging (e.g.: a YouTube video or a slideshow) that can also be easily transmitted and shared natively (the delivery mechanism is ‘native’ to the distribution channel).
  3. Transparently and ethically motivating influencers and experts to expend time, energy and attention capital to evaluate, privately critique, publicly review, and to possibly endorse your message, product or service. 
  4. Measuring your influencer engagement marketing efforts via web, mobile and social analytics (tools and services).

This post focuses on quick, simple, inexpensive methods that may help you to locate influencers in your geographic area, or within specific niches.

Most of the services below are analyzing and presenting (in a variety of ways) historic and real-time Twitter data.  For finding influencers, the services at the top of the list are accessible to everyone.  The sites and services nearer to the bottom of the list seemingly require more effort and investment.   

Traackr (@Traackr) helps you discover the influencers that matter to your brand and your audience as well as monitor their conversations in real time in order to create meaningful and relevant engagement.

Listorious (@listorious) enables users to search Twitter users by topic, region or profession, I typically use Listorious to locate people (that have overlapping interests to mine) within a geographic area (example).  Listorious is clean, simple, and easy to use.

Topsy (@topsy) (recently acquired by Apple) enables lightning-fast, real-time search of the social web.  Sort by links, tweets, photos, videos, experts, and trending topics.  In my opinion, Topsy is the Google of social search.  Finding 'experts' is a snap, and overall Topsy seems positioned to succeed in the social-search / social-analytics space.

Tellagence (@tellagence) "recognizes a combination of your current advocates and potential advocates in your contextual network who will help you reach the greatest exponential number of people in your network."  I have not tried Tellagence.  However after viewing the 'Tellagence for Twitter' video on YouTube, I can't wait to try this product out.  

Little Bird (@getLittleBird) is a way for anyone to discover influencers by topic. I tried Little Bird during their closed, private beta, and I like the quality of the discovery reports Little Bird generates.  Starting at $50 a month, Little Bird's charges monthly for access to their reports and services.

Mention (@mention) is a service that is similar to Google Alerts, but better.  With Mention, you can monitor keywords and then respond in real-time via any one of your linked social accounts.  Mention enables you to instantly jump into conversations started by fans, friends, followers, and the influencers you are interested in engaging.

SocialMention (@socialmention) enables users to enter a keyword and then filter search results by sentiment, source (i.e.: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube), hashtag, users, and related keywords.  You can subscribe to updates to your search results via RSS and email.  SocialMention seemed a bit slow, however the site is useful for finding influencers that have recently mentioned specific keywords.  

Muck Rack (@muckrack) is offered by the same company that created Listorious, Muck Rack is a paid service where you can find journalists ("talking about your company, competitors and industry in real time") based on their up-to-the-minute tweets and social media activity.

Twellow (@twellow) is a useful directory of public Twitter accounts, with hundreds of relevant categories and search features to help you find people who matter to you. Although you can begin looking for Twitter users by category (example), Twellow is one of those sites that appears to need serious design help; moreover the irrelevant advertisements all over the site are distracting.

Peer Index, Kred, and Klout are three sites that are aggregating social network users by offering attractive ('influencer') profile pages, influence scores, and a variety of 'perks' to those that signup using a social login such as Twitter.  On the flip side, if you are a marketer, you can seemingly contact any of of these companies about (paid) influencer engagement campaigns that will enable you to offer promotional 'perks' to selected (via search features) 'influential' users.

Big Data Sources:  Beyond the companies I missed in the list above, there are two other companies worth mentioning: both Gnip and DataSift enable third-parties to tap into massive databases (via APIs) of raw social media data for analysis, reporting, and for presentation and processing within third-party applications.  If you want to 'roll your own' look into Gnip and DataSift.