When it comes to expanding the reach of your business, brand, or website, one of your goals should be finding influencers in your industry. Even just a tweet from a well-known name in your industry could be the difference between getting one hundred visits to your website in a day vs. one thousand. The best part is, you can get results without even asking for help. Just engaging with an influencer online will put you on their radar, and that can lead to social mentions, guest blogging opportunities, product reviews, and much more.
The key to this is finding influencers in the right verticals so that any mentions you get from them will reach your target audience. So how do you find influencers in the right vertical? Here are six top tools you will need to find them.
Followerwonk is one of our favorite tools for finding Twitter users with a specific keyword in their bio. You can also add a location filter to find Twitter users in a particular region.
The best part is you can sort users by the number of followers they have. While numbers don’t mean everything, follower count will show you what kind of reach you might get with these users.
Attached to HubSpot’s Tweet Grader, a tool that you can use to determine how effective your Twitter profile really is, is the Twitter Elite. This section shows you the top Twitter users whose profiles have scored the highest on the Tweet Grader tool.
What’s nice is the fact that you can see the top Twitter users by city – the Top Cities page lets you select from 100 top cities and see the most influential users in them. If your target demographic is women, you might also be interested in the Top Women list.
For B2B businesses targeting brands, you can check out the Most Powerful Brands on Twitter list. It includes brands worldwide in different industries such as news, sports, retail, music, and restaurant.
If you are more concerned about finding people in a specific vertical and less concerned about their overall popularity, then Twellow is the place to go. This Twitter directory allows users to add themselves in over 3,000 different categories which means you are bound to find some people with influence in your industry.
If you register for Twellow (which you should so you can be found by others), you will also be able to filter results in each category by your location which can help if you are targeting a geo-specific audience.
Each listing in the directory shows the Twitter user’s number of followers. People who have signed up on Twellow may have additional details in their profiles, including links to their other social networks.
While you may not be a fan the Klout scoring system, you can’t ignore their topic lists. If you don’t believe in Klout scores, you will want to skip the Top Influencers section and jump into the Top +K Recipients for a particular topic. This shows you people who have been voted for by others in the Klout system with a +K (kind of like a +1 or Like in the Klout world).
So how do you find topic pages? Klout has a featured topics page that works (sometimes) or you can use the following URL.
Just replace keyword with your topic of choice. Add a dash between multiple keywords like http://klout.com/#/topic/social-media/. If you can’t think of any topics off the top of your head, just look up the Klout profile for a known influencer in your industry and check the topics listed under their profile.
The best part about Klout is that you can find additional social profiles for anyone who has signed up for Klout beyond Twitter including Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other popular networks. This will allow you to connect with influencers on multiple networks which is a great way to find out where the influencer spends the majority of their social media time. Once you figure that out, you will know where you have the best chance of connecting with them.
Looking for people with a large audience on Google+? Then check out Social Statistics. You can see the Top People on Google+ based on their number of followers. Next to each name on the list, you might see a short description and location.
What’s so great about influential Google+ users? The more followers a user has, the more likely their Google+ posts are to show up in search results. Therefore, if an influential person on Google+ happens to mention your name or link to your content in one of their posts, it will have a great reach with their audience and potentially search results as well.
Want to search for people by industry? Just enter a keyword into the search box on Google+ itself, then use the dropdown to filter results for just people and pages.
For some keywords, you might be able to find people by using the main Google search as Google+ profiles and pages now come up in results above or below AdWords ads.
Last, but not least, if your online marketing goal revolves around getting exposure on popular blogs, then you will want to check out Technorati. Technorati Authority measures a site’s influence in the blogosphere based on the sites linking behavior, categorization, and other data over a short period of time. This means that blogs with high authority will be current.
You can browse the Top 100 Blogs or blogs within specific categories including business, entertainment, lifestyle, politics, sports, social media, and technology. Use the search box to find blogs and blog posts on specific topics.
You’ve Found Influencers… Now What?
Once you’ve found some great influencers in your industry using Follower Wonk, Twitter Elite, Twellow, Klout Topics, Social Statistics, and Technorati, your next step will be to actually connect with them. This part is all about engagement. The nice part about networks like Twitter is that you can follow and engage with someone regardless of whether they are following you. You can also put your influencers in Twitter lists and sort those lists by verticals if you work with more than one. With Google+, you can segment influencers into specific circles so you can filter your news feed to see just their updates.
From here, your goal is to simply watch their updates and jump into conversations. Some great engagement techniques include:
- Replying to influencers, and especially answering questions.
- Retweeting or sharing their status updates.
- Tweeting their blog posts including their @username on Twitter or tagging them on networks like Facebook and Google+.
- Watching to see if they use smaller niche networks and connecting with them on those.
- Monitor their updates for opportunities to write for their blog, contribute to surveys, and other invitations.
Overall, just consider building engagement with an influencer like talking to someone you want to be friends with. Don’t make it all about business – if you see they talk about personal items, try to relate to those things and comment on them too. By showing your human side, you’re likely to make a great impression!
What tools do you use to find influencers in your industry, and once you locate them, how do you connect?