More and more businesses are turning to social media as a source for news, inspiration, and peer engagement. Social media provides users with up-to-the-minute and succinct information in an easily and quickly digestible format perfect for today’s busy working class. Even professional journalists and reputable news outlets are turning to social media influencers for content. Kashmir Hill, a writer at Forbes.com, recently received some online attention after the publishing of a Forbes.com blog post—an analysis of the Wall Street Journal’s call out of Facebook and its user privacy policies—in which she grabbed quotes straight from her source’s Twitter feeds.
Since people are already sharing content on Twitter and other social media platforms, it only makes sense to derive some of your marketing content straight from sources of influence where your audiences are already congregating.
Want to learn how to harness the power of social media influencers to make a positive impact on your marketing efforts? The key is to find your influencers, develop a system of excavating sources for the best content, and striking a balance between aggregating content and mining only strategic marketing content worthy of your target audiences.
Find Your Influencers
The first step in using social media influencers to generate quality marketing content is to identify your market’s influencers. Influencers are specific to distinct market segments and are used as channels to the target segment as a whole. They may be in your industry or they may complement your business. Either way, an influencer should produce content your audiences will find interesting and valuable.
The three most important influencer qualities marketers should look for are reach, relevance, and resonance.
- Reach is determined by the number of valuable people (potential buyers or other influencers) you could potentially reach through the influencer’s follower base.
- Relevance is defined as how relevant the influencer’s content is to your business.
- Resonance is defined by the level of engagement with valuable people through relevant content.
Influencers come in many forms. Each different type of influencer has an important place in the social media realm and all have the potential to produce content gold for your marketing efforts.Use market research techniques to identify influencers your audiences gravitate towards. Do this by utilizing pre-defined criteria based on your target audiences to determine the type and extent of influence. Some market research best practices for finding social media influencers include:
- Searching your shop’s Facebook Insights and sorting the posts you have by Engaged Users and seeing what content these users are engaging with. You can also create an Interest List of all of the pages on your shop’s Facebook page and periodically monitor that feed. You can make this list public so other people can follow it, or you can make it private.
- Watch content from content aggregating personas on Facebook and Twitter, which often feature updated popular posts on many different prevalent sites such as CNN, YouTube, and more, to find influencers that fit into your criteria.
- Perform a web search on influencers in your industry using a major search engine. Search engines like Google factor social media influence into page rank. Many people whose pages rank high in SERPs are also social media influencers.
Harvesting Influencer Content
OK, so you have identified some top quality social media influencers. Now what? It’s time to sort through and pick out useful content. But this doesn’t have to be an arduous process of hand-picking every ripe piece of content. There are many techniques and free tools available to help you do this, including:
- WordPress’s Alex King’s Twitter Tools plugin. This tool allows you to automatically import tweets as either individual posts or daily/weekly digests. Weekly digests can be modified so that they are created as draft posts.
- Realtime is a discovery search engine from Bitly. Realtime tracks all the clicks that are going through Bitly and displays the links that are being clicked on the most at any given time, which means you can sort by traffic and find the most trending posts in your industry.
- Topsy can find popular posts on any topic. It analyzes an index of billions of tweets and gives you the most popular and relevant tweets based on your criteria.
- LinkedIn also has some great features, including Trending in Your Network. This can be used to find popular content from people in your industry that you are connected to.
- Sign up for news aggregator websites and tools, which are awesome for finding and sorting the latest news by industry or niche. Google Alerts uses the latest relevant Google results and sends them as an aggregated set of stories to your email address. You can use keywords related to your industry and have a crops of fresh content brought directly to you daily.
Side Note: Images are still getting a lot of engagement on social media. They continue to get a lot of comments, likes, and shares. Consider using trending images in your content, if applicable and possible.
Keeping the Content Train Rolling
Social media is about dialogue, so if you want to keep finding great content you should invest some effort into getting influencers to share your content. This is a great way to build up relationships with leaders in your industry, which not only grows your social media reach and influence, but also enhances brand recognition and brand authority. The best way to do this is by sharing content suggestions with thought leaders in your industry who have created or shared similar content.
Free Download: We’ll show you the ins and outs of inventorying your marketing content with our free guide: How to do a Content Inventory.