With the powerful combination of word-of-mouth marketing and social media, brands today are drastically changing how they market to consumers. 92% of consumers trust word-of-mouth more than all other forms of advertising and with the expansion of social media, consumer opinions are even more accessible.

In order to effectively stay on top, brands must first identify who their influencers are in order to effectively activate the right people to share branded content. These people don’t have to be celebrities or popular bloggers; they can be everyday consumers who are active and influential about certain topics on social media. In fact, at Mavrck we’ve found that activating everyday influencers actually drives higher conversion rates than celebrities or bloggers.  We’ve put together some tips to help you identify the right social influencers for your brand.


Determine the Topics & Keywords People Associate with Your Brand

Brands sometimes get caught up in talking, tweeting, posting, and producing their own content. They then focus all their efforts on constantly pushing branded content at people without dedicating enough time to step back and listen.

By using social listening, you can find people who are already talking about your brand and topics related to it. Although branded content coming from you or your employees is essential, it’s less trusted than content produced or shared by influential consumers. So, it’s important to have a good mix of both brand and influential consumer content in your marketing strategy.

Each brand has different influencers based on the context of their social media conversations. First, you need to determine what topics are important to your brand. If you’re Dominos, you’d probably focus on topics like pizza, cheesy bread, Italian food, and mentions of the Dominos brand.

But instead of simply guessing at which topics are being boosted by users on social media, you can use social listening tools to track mentions of relevant topics. Consider trying tools like HootSuite or WordStream to help discover which keywords and branded messages are being amplified organically.

Social listening tools are helpful for the first steps of influence marketing but, due to the private nature of some social networks, these tools have limited ability.  Once you hit a dead end, you can take your determined keywords and use a platform like Splashscore to find the right social influencers to activate.


Find People Who Drive Engagement Around These Topics

Just because some people talk about the Big Mac doesn’t mean McDonald’s should be quick to spend time and money trying to turn them all into advocates.

Joe has thousands of Facebook friends. He posts a Facebook status saying he just ate a Big Mac but no one interacts with the post. It quickly drops out of sight in people’s News Feeds, making it ineffective.

Jimmy only has a few hundred Facebook fans. He posts a photo of Big Mac and receives 150 likes and 15 comments. McDonald’s might want to get in touch with him and work out a mutual value exchange.

What some influence marketers fail to realize is you need to find people who are not only talking about them, but are earning high levels of engagement.

Focusing on engagement is more important than reach. Engagement enables you to drive more conversions, actions, and ROI from social media where reach only delivers views and impressions.

Look for people like Jimmy who post content that people interact with by commenting, liking, and sharing. At Splashscore we believe identifying a group of 1,000 influential consumers with 500-750 Facebook friends that trust and engage with them will prove to drive more conversions than finding 10 bloggers with 500,000 Twitter/Instagram followers.


The Wrap Up

In today’s world, people make a point to avoid advertisements. Although some of your brand’s content makes it through the cracks, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach consumers.

Instead of hurling content at people you can inspire influential consumers to create content. What’s unique about influencers is they don’t force themselves on their audience so their friends and followers choose to be in their network. Influencers audiences are engaged and ready to participate.

By finding the right influencers to create user-generated content or distribute branded content on behalf of your brand, instead of simply delivering views and impressions, you can drive sales and conversions. Finding the right influential consumers for your brand means finding a large number of those who drive engagement about your brand not just the few who have a large reach.

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This post was updated on 1/26/18.