In the military, finding the enemy was always the first step toward (mission) execution. After all, you can’t go after something you can’t see. To do so we built network maps, which were visual depictions that highlighted a potential bad guy’s personal connections and his tie-ins with his bad guy brethren. Building these connections took time, as we had to analyze pattern of life and myriad other factors that Hollywood doesn't know about -- yet.
The challenge, of course, was navigating the maze of encounters that a “suspect” made in a given day and trying to decipher his intention behind it. In other words, we needed to ascertain whether the influencer was “our guy” or the person with whom he chatted or met with was the influencer.
There are roughly 10,000 marketing tools available to navigate the influencer realms of social media (just kidding, I made that number up but I'm pretty sure there are a lot). With recent reports indicating that digital media advertising will surpass that of TV, connecting with “influencers” is pivotal to promoting your brand and closing the gap between debt and profitability. However, targeting the right influencer to (ideally) give a shout out to your company isn’t easy. It’s time consuming and soaks up valuable money and mindshare to do the right amount of due diligence (you don’t want to connect with just anyinfluencer, do you?). Here are three strategies to help navigate the influencer ranks and get your brand on the map:
1. Enlist Vizsense.
There’s no shortage of influencers out there, so the challenge lies in finding the right one. Companies are trying to solve this problem by building tools to collect billions of social interactions and interpret them systematically. Imagine these tools as x-ray machines, where data interpretation is only as good as the lone radiologist who knows how to interpret. Enter VizSense, which helps users interpret their data to make sure they’re targeting the right influencers by providing a team of radiologists. With a slogan like “weaponize your brand’s influence,” you really can’t go wrong.
2. Identify “right.”
There are two types of influencers: those who spend more time doing what they talk about, and those who spend more time talking about what they do. When the former group speaks, people actively listen because they’re inspired, whereas when the latter speaks -- again -- people may still listen but they’re also reading their email, checking Facebook, or otherwise attempting to multi-task because they’re not engaged. The point is, there are influencers who don’t necessarily have a million twitter followers but drive impact nonetheless.
3. Vet them.
Having “influencer” status is great -- unless it’s self-prescribed. Make sure the people you target are who they say they are by verifying their identities on any of the big three social media sites (LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook). Look for the little blue badge that means “vetted” no matter what platform you’re using.
Connections and relationships are everything. Building a credible network of influencers earns not only greater brand awareness but also trust, making your brand more reputable and praiseworthy.