Online influencers are probably the most important component in the Internet marketing and promotion value chain. The challenge is to identify and connect with the right kind of authorities that can have a major impact on promoting a website, blog, business, brand, or individual. According to a Forrester Research study, 13.4 percent of American adults on the Internet create 80 percent of the content that influences people. Social media is the most powerful tool available to identify online influencers. The study reveals that 6.2 percent of the Internet users are responsible for 80 percent of the influence in social networks.
LinkedIn and Facebook
LinkedIn and Facebook have emerged as two powerful social media tools to find key influencers online. Other social networks such as Twitter and blogging platforms such as Tumblr are also effective in finding influencers, but LinkedIn and Facebook lead the race significantly in this area until now. For many businesses, LinkedIn Groups is an excellent target area to look for influencers. Active members and organizers within these groups are usually quite influential. LinkedIn Group directory and search functions are strategic ways to start looking for relevant influencers for a particular business or industry.
Facebook, with more than a billion active users worldwide, has come up as an incredibly strong social force that is hard to ignore even for the most successful or powerful businesses, celebrities, and organizations. That makes Facebook an ideal place to hunt for key influencers in almost any area. Depending on the subject or business area of your interest, you can find a wide range of pages and events on Facebook focusing on that area. Facebook pages directory and Facebook’s popular search function are convenient tools to identify key influencers in your sphere. Many influencers are available on multiple online and social media channels, so multiple engagements are possible with them across channels.
Online Influence Tracking Tools
With the growing recognition of the value that an influencer can bring to an online marketing or public relations project, a number of online influence tracking tools have also grown in prominence. These tools can help you evaluate how influential a particular individual that you are targeting may be, and aid with connecting your business with experts in every field.
Klout is one of the leading tools to track online influence. Klout is primarily focused on social media networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It attributes a ‘Klout score’ to an individual on the basis of their online activity and content. Registered Klout users can find the reach and influence of people within their existing networks and identify who might be potential influencers for their purpose.
PeerIndex competes with Klout in the same category, and provides individual PeerIndex scores about the social interactions online of your targeted influencers. PeerIndex allows you to locate influencers in specific subject areas of your choice. A number of existing curated groups are also available for you to search and identify influencers in the area of special interest.
As a searchable Twitter directory, WeFollow lets you find key Twitter account holders related to the subject area of your concern. It also offers lists of leading Twitter users in various areas of interest. Directory lists provide information about the total number of followers an individual has, and search can be done by profile or by city. Those who are looking exclusively for business influencers may consider ExecTweets, which is a unique Twitter directory of business leaders and executives.