How to Reach Referent Influencers to Succeed with Your Social Media Marketing Campaign - dummies

How to Reach Referent Influencers to Succeed with Your Social Media Marketing Campaign

By Shiv Singh, Stephanie Diamond

To be successful in your social media marketing efforts, you will likely want to reach referent influencers. Referent influencers are not as hard to reach as they once were. As a result, identifying and activating these referent influencers can be difficult.

Also, enterprising advertising technology companies have been researching ways to reach these referent influencers without compromising the privacy of customers or their circle of friends. Reaching the referent influencers through these methods is safe and reliable, although it does cost you money, with the amount depending on how many referent influencers you’re trying to reach.

Not all tactics for reaching referent influencers need to be paid for. Your company’s Facebook page can be a great place to build a community and encourage referent influencers to influence your customers by incentivizing them with competitions, coupons, and special offers. Your customers who like your Facebook page will probably bring their referent influencers to the page, too, if you give them incentives to do so.

Social graph analysis

Using database technologies, companies can crawl the major social networks in a similar fashion to the way the search engines crawl web pages. These companies can create a mapping of users and how they relate to each other on the major social platforms. They can also capture personality attributes of the users, the number of friends they have, how active they are on a social platform, and whether their friends respond to actions that they take.

Companies in this space include RapLeaf and LookUp Page, which uses metrics like friend count, social persuasion track record, and influence context measurement (meaning how the subject matter affects influence) to identify the influencers.

You may want to consider using Facebook’s Custom Audience tool that allows you to upload your own company’s email list. When you create your next ad, Facebook matches the emails on that list and makes sure that audience sees the ad.

These advertising technology companies map your email database against their social graph database to determine the overlapping customers and to identify the influential ones from the mix. The results serve as a starting point for you to then market to the referent influencers and encourage them to talk about a brand.

Cookie data

Many technology companies analyze cookie data to infer the relationships between people and target similar advertising to them both. If one set of users responds well to the advertisements, companies then present the same advertisements to other similar people or to the friends of the original group in similar social networks, conversations, or websites as they presented to the original set of users. This strategy allows a company’s advertising to reach anonymous referent influencers.

Keep in mind that this strategy applies to you only if you have an advertising budget and are advertising online. Otherwise, you won’t be able to take advantage of the cookie data. Two companies that focus on this method are 33Across and m6d.

Website behavior

You can do a lot on your website to allow for the referent influencers to converge and positively influence each other. From the most basic of solutions, such as implementing customer reviews, to creating discussion forums in which customers can talk about issues of concern, your website can be a destination where people congregate and talk to each other.

Developments like Facebook Connect address how you can more directly enable your prospective customers to bring their referent influencers to your website.

After you’ve identified these referent influencers, be sure to give them the best possible service if they’re customers. Not only will you increase the sales from them, but you’ll also increase sales among the people that they influence directly. As a Huffington Post article pointed out, American Express gives its influencers a distinct credit card with special benefits that include a concierge service and first-class upgrades.

Use your referent influencers to improve your products and services, too. They’re typically people who have strong opinions, care about the products, and want to impact product design. Ask their opinions — or at the very least, share new products with them — before you do so with anyone else. Similarly, also consider giving them special discounts and coupons and cultivate their loyalty by marketing to them with additional care.