Guest Post by: Jo Stratmann

It’s all very well knowing what an influencer is; the real value only comes when you can identify them for your brand or business.

Here’s our four step guide to helping you find social media influencers:

1) Set clear goals

The most important step to finding influencers is to have clear goals for why you want to engage with them, and what you want to achieve. Take a step back and really think about this.

Do you want to increase visits to your website or ecommerce site? Or would you prefer your influencers to spread word-of-mouth about a new product you have launched?

Do you want to increase conversion? Or would you rather influence consideration/decision making?

Influencers can play a part in several different points of  interaction with your brand, so it’s important that your goals align with your overall social media strategy.

Whatever you decide, it’s important that you develop a two-way relationship with your influencers; it’s not just about transmitting your own brand messages.

2) Listen to your target audience

Once you have your goals in place, listen to your target audience.

For those brands who are already using social media monitoring, you may already have the insights that will help you find the right influencers for your business.

For those companies that are not monitoring social media: get going NOW.

Unless you know what your audience are saying about your business or market, where they are saying it, where they go to find information, and whose message resonates with them, you will not be able to identify the most appropriate influencers to reach your target audience.

3) Choose your tools carefully

There are an abundance of social media monitoring tools on the market: both free and paid-for. Do your research into the tools – our social media monitoring tools report may help with this.

The tools vary quite considerably and there are many nuances involved in selecting a tool. So when you decide which one is best suited to your goals, keep in mind who your audience is, as well as how and where they communicate in social media (we’ll be covering how the different tools perform in a later blog posts, as well as our final influencers report which will launch on 3rd December).

4) Be realistic about time and resource

Think about what resources you can dedicate to the task of identifying  influencers – don’t underestimate the manpower involved.

While social media monitoring tools certainly reduce the manual work involved, you’ll still need someone who understands your social media strategy and can choose the most appropriate influencers from the results returned by the tool.

Moreover, and perhaps most importantly, that person you choose will also need to know the right way to engage with them online.

Our next blog posts will look at influencer scores.

To find out more about social media influencers look out for our detailed social media influencers report 2010 which tests nine of the leading social media monitoring tools to assess how effective they are at identifying influencers. The full version of the report will then be released via our blog following an exclusive launch at our breakfast seminar on Thursday 2nd December.

You can register for the event by clicking on the button below:

Register for How to target social media influencers in London, United Kingdom  on Eventbrite

Our readers can also get 10% discount on the ticket price for Monitoring Social Media 2010, taking place in London on 22nd November – please use the discount code “fresh”.

Original Post: http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2010/11/4-steps-to-finding-social-media-influencers/

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