No matter the industry or demographic of a company, connecting with influences within the niche is crucial. Influencers are the movers and shakers in the given community. These are individuals who can turn heads and draw interest in a particular product or service. However, one of the most difficult tasks of a business is to identify those who might be the greatest asset to the business. Working with the wrong influencer may end up costing too much money without a quality return on investment. That is exactly why businesses, websites, bloggers and others looking to expand their footprint needs to take advantage of these seven tools designed to help identify influencers within the niche.
Some niche influencers are continually inundated with requests from external entities. Larger influencers with hundreds of thousands, if not millions of social followers may only talk to followers through their agent. Attempting to go through agents or managers is time-consuming and expensive. However, attempting to contact a social influencer who doesn’t respond at all (or takes months to reply) isn’t beneficial either. This is where Tap Influence comes in. This is a service that connects companies with influences and only charges a company money when engagements take place (such as a liked post, a shared upload or a comment).
Tap Influence is a bit on the limited side. Social influencers with the greatest level of success are not always found in every niche. The chances of someone specializing in gear sprockets on Instagram with a million followers is not promising. That is why Tap Influence works with fashion, beauty, lifestyle and food influencers.
Using Tap Influence is straightforward. It doesn’t cost to initially set up an account. A company will then fill out a profile, including links, social media information, and keywords that describe the business. From here, Tap Influence will showcase current influencers within the field who work with the platform.
The business will then look at the highlighted influencers, go over their social profiles, look over posts and read up on what they promote. It is important for a business to go over all of this and to not just sign up with an influencer showcasing the highest follower numbers. The influencer needs to share the same ideals as the business. If they don’t, it might send a mixed message (such as a company that specializes in eco-friendly material but the social influencer is constantly posting about gas burning trucks or going on specialty animal hunts). Looking into an influencer’s background before moving forward is crucial.
Once an influencer is identified, the business will provide information as to what they want a post to include. It might be the product itself, links back to the company page and so on. Tap Influence will provide correspondence methods for connecting with the influencer and sending the particular product. The influencer will then post the given content on their own profile. From there, the company only pays when the post is engaged. There is a set engagement price point (such as $0.50 per engagement). The company can set the price point and then see which influencers are willing to post content based on the pay. More popular influencers may cost more (or if there are fewer influencers within a given niche). Some of the top companies in the world, including Fossil, Panasonic, and SunTrust Bank use Tap Influence to connect with popular social influencers. There also is no monthly requirement, so a business can stop or quit at any time.
PitchBox helps users track down quality influences, but unlike some of the other options out there, this one is not free. It offers in-depth content and quality information for those who are willing to pay for it. Due to this, it may behoove some companies, especially those just starting out without the available bankroll, to look at other service providers before turning their attention to PitchBox. Now, PitchBox provides more than just influencer search features. It helps the company itself become an influencer and boost its own outreach through social media, email marketing, and other marketing techniques. With that said, a basic, 2 user, one workspace play runs at $195 a month. The “Small Business” plan for five users and three workspaces jumps to $295, the “SEO Agency” increases to $395 for unlimited workspaces and 10 users, while the “Enterprise” level begins at $1,500 a month and comes with an assortment of custom plans.
Those interested in the service, after they sign up, can create a new campaign. Based on the information input into the campaign a user will be able to specifically personalize it to best fit the company’s unique needs. From this, PitchBox will help identify the very best influences to grow SEO, blogging and social media influence. The service provides exceptional analytical data that is both easy to follow and updated in real time. If a business is looking to bring in quality product reviews, create white page documents, write up press releases or identify the backlinks of competitors, all of this can be accomplished with PitchBox. It really is an all-in-one service, for those willing to invest in the service.
The BuzzSumo service is an excellent platform for not only identifying potential influences but for focusing internally on a website’s performance and finding ways to either improve upon what it’s doing right or correct what it’s struggling with (or often both). BuzzSumo also provides an easy way to identify influences within a given niche.
Those interested in BuzzSumo just need to navigate over to the BuzzSumo.com homepage. Here there is a search bar above the fold on the page. In here, the user needs to type in either their home domain, a competitor with a strong website or a topic. BuzzSumo gives examples of “Content Marketing” and “CNN.com.”
After typing in the given information and selecting “Search,” BuzzSumo will provide the top performing pages with regards to the particular keywords or website. These are displayed in the way of a social share. The social shares are broken down into Facebook engagements, LinkedIn shares, Twitter shares, Pinterest shares, the number of links, the evergreen score and the total number of shares. Within the displayed links, a user can identify not only the top performing websites but also the top performing writers and influences. This way, someone can then direct message or connect with the influencers while also going over their current and previous posts.
BuzzSumo does provide additional features to paying clients as it goes further into the demographics and specifics of influences, but in terms of initial research, it is one of the better free options out there as well.
Influencers live on social media. Yes, there are those out there who will blog and grow their brand through traditional website means, but the best way to outreach in terms of a personal branding is through social media. This is where Sprout Social comes it. It integrates and monitors partners across all major social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. The tools within Sprout Social do help a company manage its own social media accounts. This can range from connecting with new followers, posting new information regularly and staying current with posts and information needed to grow a company’s own influence. However, it also provides features for both startups and enterprises to help identify top influences within the industry.
Sprout Social is another pay service, although it does offer a free trial, so companies can test out the services ahead of time. For a company that is only interested in identifying influences and doesn’t want any of the social media management, campaign tagging or custom URL tools, it may be possible to extract all the valuable influencer information during the free trial period and then cancel out of it. For those who are interested in taking advantage of all the features of Sprout Social though, there are three different price points. The first is a $99 “Premium” per month option. The second is a $149 “Corporate” service and the third is a $249 “Enterprise” option, each of which comes with additional services and features.
After signing up for a service (either a free trial or one of the pay options), a user will connect their social media accounts to Sprout Social. This way Sprout Social can analyze the accounts and provide in-depth analytical data. After performing the social media reports the service will highlight top influences with similar platforms (such as if a company sells t-shirts, Sprout Social will highlight top fashion reviewers or those with similar services). It is then possible to click on the connected contact, look up contact information, go over their posts, interactions and nearly everything else with regards to the particular influencer. From there, an account holder can then determine if they want to interact with the influencer or not.
Formerly known as TwtrLand, this is a service that gives the user a bit more control when it comes to finding the right influencer. It also has a free option with limited features, so it is possible to try it out for as long as necessary before moving up to the “Startup Plan” (which is $249 a month).
Using the platform is straightforward but an excellent way to identify top influencers within the desired social media platform. Once someone creates an account they can select an overlying influential niche (such as “travel”). From here, the user will then select a handful of secondary skills. Perhaps they want someone who writes about travel, or someone who blogs about travel food. This will provide more specific search results. While in the platform, while looking over the different account holders, a user can select the kind of influencer they are interested in. This category is broken down into celebrities, power users (people who are the most active), casual posers and novice users. Next, the user can select the location of the social influencer. Perhaps they want someone just in the United States, as their product is only available in the States. Or maybe they have a Japanese line and they want to grow their influence in Japan. In this case, the user can select social influencers just in Japan.
The user is also able to identify the platform they want the social influencer to be a part of. This includes not only Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, but also YouTube, blogs, and other outreach methods. From there, the user can look over the social influencer, read over the posts and determine which would fit the company’s particular need for advertising and outreach purposes.
Twitter is a powerful communication tool used by the most powerful businesses in the world. But what Twitter accounts do big businesses follow? Who does the New York Times follow? What about Nike or Sony? Attempting to sift through all of this information can take far too long. That is where BirdSong Analytics comes in. It’s straightforward, and it will require a bit of personal work to extract the most valuable information, but it’s also extremely helpful (and inexpensive when compared to the other services).
Here is how Bird Song Analytics works. A user will open up an account. It doesn’t cost anything to create an account, as there is a “pay as you go” option. From here, the user will enter in a Twitter handle they want to analyze. From here, Bird Song Analytics will analyze all of the accounts the company follows, on top of the name of the person that owns the account, whether or not they are verified (have the blue check by their username) and their contact information.
This kind of information can prove helpful as an account holder can identify important influencers a particular business follows. It might take a bit of cross-referencing and possibly a few different Twitter searches, but all of this information is provided for just a few bucks per search (the exact search cost will vary depending on the number of followers and accounts following the particular account). For businesses without a large bankroll to invest in identifying influencers within a given niche, this is one option to consider.
Bird Song Analytics started originally as a Twitter-only service. However, it now works on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube as well. As for the price, basic searches for accounts of under 1,500 total followers/accounts it follows run $5.99. For larger accounts, the search costs $29.99. If the user wants to purchase four reports at once, they are charged $99.96 (or $24.99 per report). This is the “Bronze” package. The “Silver” package is $399.99 for 20 reports and costs $19.99 per report. Lastly, there is the “Gold” package, which costs $749.99 for 50 reports, or $14.99 per report.
Not all influence takes place on social media platforms. Blogging still remains a crucial tent pole in marketing, search engine optimization and connecting with customers around the world. While a company needs to continually blog (ideally multiple times a week), it can take years before a business begins to grow its own influencer organically. For many companies, waiting years to see any true influential growth simply isn’t an option. That is where a service like Tomoson comes in. This is a blogger based platform that helps connect a company’s own curetted content with the assistance of other influencers.
Depending on the search engine optimization expert, most will say a blogger (or company blogging) should spend 20 percent of the time creating content and 80 percent of the time marketing it. However, if a business doesn’t have a strong Internet presence there’s only so much marketing it can do. Tomoson helps connect companies with influencers within the niche market. The beauty of Tomoson is it reduces the work required by a business. All other platforms rely on the business sifting through information and identifying the right influencer. Tomoson reverses this. A company heads over to Tomoson.com and clicks to “Register” for an account. After selecting “Business,” the company will create a profile and set up a product or service they want an influencer to market. This request then goes live on the Tomoson website. Influencers can look over the opportunities and then “Apply” to become a social influencer for the product. The company can then look over those who apply and decide whether or not the applicant fits their need.
There are three different campaign options a business can sign up for. The first is a “Paid Opportunity.” This is only available for top influencers who meet an established follower threshold. The next is a “Freebies” option, where a company gives a product to an influencer in exchange for a review. For businesses without a large financial account for advertising, this may be a viable option, as they will give away a product instead of paying for the advertising. The third option is a “Deal.” This is where the influencer still buys the product, but for a substantially discounted price (usually for products that would cost several hundred dollars). It’s another opportunity for businesses that may not have the financial assets to pay influencers but instead might be willing to offer a discounted produced in exchange for the social shares and reviews.
Influencers have the capability of driving in massive amounts of traffic and attention to a particular company, product or website. Due to this, identifying the right influencer within a given niche can help a business grow while providing a substantial return on investment. By taking advantage of these several different tools, it is possible for any company, regardless of industry, to both identify the best influences, but also determine ways to partner with the major players to grow the business’ own influence and market power.