With 80% of marketers looking to use influencers in their 2016 marketing strategy, it’s never been more important to have the best technological toolkit possible to help you discover and engage influencers for your brand objectives. Below, we break down the (mostly) free influencer tools that will give you the best bang for your buck as you navigate the influencer marketplace: from deep-diving Twitter analytics to influencer discovery tools to clean organizational templates, these tech gadgets have you covered. Scroll down to see the top seven influencer marketing tools:
How it works: As the go-to domain and keyword social database, Buzzsumo gives you insight into what content is trending, which influencers are amplifying it, and on what channels they’re doing it. This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. You can break down the performance of your own content across multiple metrics, keywords and topics. You can set alerts for anything from keyword mentions to domain hits. You can even export all of the data that you get into a comprehensive CSV or Excel sheet.
Why it rocks: If your marketing strategy is Everest, then Buzzsumo is your fully-stocked hiking backpack. It’s not totally free (only a trial, before a low monthly fee), but no influencer list is complete without the all-inclusive package that Buzzsumo gives you.
How it works: FollowerWonk is a tool from Moz that allows you to dive deep into your Twitter analytics. You can see who your followers are, where they’re located, when their peak tweeting hours are, and more. It also provides a search engine for relevant influencer discovery within your follower database, as well as the tools to make competitive comparisons with other brands. FollowerWonk’s “social authority metric” even ranks the influence of all Twitter users (based on retweet rates and user data), allowing you to see which of your followers have the most influence.
Why it rocks: There are countless analytic Twitter tools available for consumption, but Followerwonk goes the extra mile. It give you the full low down on your twitter users, in a variety of visual and quantifiable formats that are easy to understand. This kind of insight into brand influencers gives you the best chance to connect with them in topics that you share a mutual interest in. You have to pay for a subscription, but you get a free trial to play around with the interface before you decide.
Hootsuite’s Influencer Strategy Template
How it Works: Hootsuite’s influencer strategy template is a perfect organizational tool that helps you build and stick to your influencer marketing strategy. It breaks down your goals, prospects, influencer context and more into clean sections, even giving you examples under each category for inspiration.
Why it rocks: It’s a totally free, easy to understand template that’s ready to go right now.
*Full disclosure: Fan Grader is a tool from our own platform. Further disclosure: it’s awesome.*
How it works: Fan Grader analyzes your brand’s Facebook page to discover and rank your top 100 micro-influencers. All you have to do is plug your brand’s Facebook link into Fan Grader’s dashboard. Fan Grader will run a report on your page, and provide you with a list of the top 100 micro-influencers on your Facebook page, ranked by their Average Influencer Index, a score that Fan Grader assigns which correlates to the number of friends influenced per comment.
Why it rocks: Fan Grader reports are clean, straightforward break-downs of the Facebook fans in your community who are driving the most engagement. Want to run multiple reports to see how you stack up with your competitors? No problem. There’s no report cap, and the reports are permanently yours once you download them. Also: it’s one hundred percent, no-strings-attached free.
How it works: Buffer is a scheduling database that allows you to pre-populate, organize, and track your social media mentions on your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and App.net profiles in a clean user template. In addition to scheduling your shares ahead of time, Buffer will track the engagement of your shares on each channel so that you can reschedule your most successful posts.
Why it rocks: Buffer’s best asset is its simplicity: it’s a bare bones social planning and tracking site that will make your social media chores infinitely less painful. Since influencer marketing strategies can be spread across several social media channels, a tool like Buffer will keep your social media outreach consistent and easy to map. Also, the free version is totally sustainable for your business needs (unless you need more than four accounts).
How it works: HARO is a publicity alert service, serving as a forum where journalists and bloggers submit requests for sources/tips to use in stories. Consider it a reverse of your traditional influencer search process: instead of asking influencers to cover your brand for you, you can instead browse a database and see which influencers are looking to cover topics relevant to your brand.
Why it rocks: HARO helps you to narrow your influencer search into a group of people that you know are interested in relevant topics for your brand. It’s a proactive database that caters to your needs instead of the other way around.
How it works: PressFriendly is the PR firm you need, without any of the hassle that comes with an actual PR firm. It covers everything you need to organize and implement successful press releases, from providing a database of tech journalists to choose from, to supplying you with multiple how-to guides that break down the best way to pitch stories, build relationships with reporters, and everything in between.
Why it Rocks: Working with external PR firms can be a costly hassle for a startup- PressFriendly serves as a replacement to traditional PR firms, acting as your very own in-house firm that you can customize to your brand’s publicity needs. (PressFriendly’s costs vary depending on the subscription and type of PR you’re looking for.)