Nowadays, much more of our reputation is affected by what is said about us! In business, this means that 80-90 per cent of customers decide on their purchase before they are actively addressed. They search for information themselves and, above all, they allow themselves to be influenced by the opinions and experiences, which circulate about you, your brand, product, and service.
Use personalities who are recognised in your field as opinion leaders (influencers)
Much of the good reputation of a company or brand can be built from within, for instance by quality and correct information on the website; by building the right content and communicating it effectively; by the active utilisation of discussions with fans on social networks; and by regularly contributing to the company blog, even when it is necessary to provoke discussion for required topics and respond adequately to the resulting feedback from the public. But people will always believe more in what others say about you than what you say about yourself.
The so-called Influencers can help you spread your interesting content and eventually enjoy the multiplier effect with your communication. They are usually influential experts in your field whose opinion is considered “at face value”. So, nowadays, we can even talk directly about Influencer Marketing.
Who is an influencer (and who is not), and where to find them?
If someone in your field is a frequently cited source to which journalists often turn to for opinion; if someone is active on social networks and has a large community of fans and followers in the field; if someone comments on current events in the field, has their own blog, and their articles are shared and used as a source for further discussions; if someone often comments on articles for professional (expert) servers and contributes to professional journals; if someone lectures frequently at professional conferences or otherwise influences the opinions of others, then that is probably the influencer with whom you should keep in touch and use to spread your content.
In fact, it’s more complicated. Not everyone who often likes to comment on any topic and is its promoter (advocate), is simultaneously also an influencer. Just because someone often writes or speaks about something does not mean that their opinion is considered by others to be followed. The size of the community to which the “expert” talks may also not be a decisive (determinative) guideline. You need an influencer who does not only address most of the people. You need an influencer, who affects the most “right” people.
In searching for the right influencer, it may help to be smart with a few online tools, such as:
- Traackr – This paid premium service for marketing and PR specialists is a platform for influencer marketing and It will help you to find the right influencers, gain important feedback in your field, and find out how best to contact the selected influencer.
- com – This is probably the most well-known tool for finding influencers and measuring their activity. It measures popularity score. You can add various social networks to your profile and gradually build your own Klout score.
Other tools include:
- Little Bird
There are many other similar instruments. You can also set up a free Google Alerts for regular delivery of new articles and posts whenever someone mentions any of the keywords in your field. The author of this content may be your influencer.
We found a suitable influencer, but how do we engage them (how do we get them interested)?
Establishing communication with respected personalities in the field is perhaps more of a challenge than it is to find them. They must not have the feeling that they are being foisted upon “commercial” content or even that they are being pressured. You need to offer something that can enlighten and help them. Pique their interest. Here are a few tips:
- Start with smart and professional comments on the blogs of selected influencers. You will draw their attention and establish initial communication.
- Share articles of the selected influencer; promote their books, lectures, conferences, and seminars. That favour may soon be paid back.
- Find out what your influencer is interested in and publish such content. You have a great chance that your content will appeal to them and that they will distribute it further.
- Be ready and willing to promptly provide the answer to any professional inquiry. Influencers can even be found among professional journalists. Establish yourself as a person who is always willing to offer assistance with a relevant and well-formed statement on any subject.
- Take every opportunity to personally meet and discuss with your influencer on your topic of expertise. They will remember you in time (eventually).
- Provide a non-binding test of your product, service, or solution, and ask for a review – and never argue with the result, unless it is to quibble with its superlatives. Offer factual arguments and ideally thank them publically for the help.
And a final tip:
The one who will most greatly affect your reputation may not be the recognised authority. The biggest influencers are your customers, and they do not keep their experiences to themselves. Use as many references as possible for the satisfied ones. Thank those disgruntled ones for their feedback and relay that you will continue to work on improvements because of them.