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5 quick tips to identify and motivate influencers

3 min read


This post was written by Mirna Bard, a social media consultant, speaker, author and instructor of social media at the University of California, Irvine.

SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Have you successfully used social media to connect with online influencers in your sector?

  • Influencers have responded almost immediately when I’ve reached out: 34.11%
  • I have not tried yet: 26.36%
  • I have not received much response when trying to build relationships with influencers: 21.71%
  • I am not sure how to identify online influencers: 17.83%

One of the major keys to success with social media is being able to identify and motivate influencers, which is easier than most people believe. The main goal of anyone using social tools should be to increase the size of the influencer base.

Your influencers are your brand and industry lovers. Believe it or not, they are not the thousands of fans or followers. Influencers are the people who show passion for your industry or sector. Influencers are the select few who are almost always commenting, sharing and linking to your online content. They do it without being asked because they believe in your products and service, they respect your expert knowledge and they recognize the value you bring to the industry.

How do you identify and motivate influencers so they engage and motivate thousands of other people for you? It’s simple. Here are some quick tips for SmartBrief readers who said they either have not tried to find influencers, have not gotten a response or don’t know how to identify influencers.

  1. Use social media listening tools to find the people talking positively about your industry, brand, products or services the most. Most likely you will find them on forums, the blogosphere, message boards and sites like Twitter, as well as social bookmarking sites.
  2. Make a list of the people who show the most passion as well as the people who are constantly sharing, linking to and commenting on your content.
  3. Reach out to these influencers individually to find out what they value the most, what type of content they would like to see for their audience and what types of opportunities would motivate them, as well as get to know their interests, passions, dislikes, etc.
  4. Engage them with positive dialogue, unique content, exclusive offers and special opportunities.
  5. Show them how much you genuinely care and appreciate them by praising them, commenting and sharing their content with your audience as well.

Bottom line, your influencers appreciate recognition for their value, and nothing gets their attention more than genuine kind words. Remember, once you identify and motivate an influencer, you are igniting thousands of other influencers in their social circle.

What other ways have you used to identify and motivate influencers?