how to:How to Identify Online Influencers In Your Issue Area
With the number of social media tools growing daily, there are a number of ways to express your opinions and have conversations with others. In any issue area, there are going to be individuals whose voices are louder than others and whose thoughts are heard by more people. These people are often referred to as online influencers. Social Media Today’s Brian Sollis defines influence as “the ability to cause desirable and measurable actions and outcomes.”
By reaching out to one of these opinion leaders, there is the hope that s/he will be interested in your cause because it resonates with his or her interests. Engaging with online influencers provides an opportunity to find someone who can share news about your group and promote your cause and events with a wider audience.
So how can you locate an online influencer in your issue area? Follow the steps in this guide to find out.
Have a set of keywords or tags ready that you want to use for your searches. This should be a list of some of the key terms you would use to describe your organization, your mission, and your issue area. Use different keywords for each search you perform.
Know what you should you be looking for in an influencer. An online influencer will likely:
Frequently post relevant content
Receive a high number of retweets, meaning that other people care about what this person is posting or tweeting and are retweeting it.
Have a large number of followers or subscribers
Receive multiple comments on blog posts
Produce quality content
Shares others’ work and news
A user’s popularity gauged by his or her number of followers/subscribers may not always mean he or she has influence. Try also checking out their score on a service like Klout which employs data from both Twitter and Facebook to rank a user's online influence.
Search for blogs: Who is blogging about your issue area? There are a number of blog search engines out there. Try out different ones to see what results you get and find out who are the most influential and well-respected bloggers. Use keyword phrases identified with your area to search for related blogs. The most popular blog search engines include:
Google Blog Search
Once you’ve identified some influential bloggers, check out their blogrolls. A blogroll is a list usually on the side of a blog that lists what sites the blogger reads regularly and recommends you check out. This is a great way to find other blogs.
Search forums and message boards using Boardreader. Find out who is talking about your issue or cause and what they are saying.
Search Facebook: There are official Facebook pages for individuals or organizations, as well as grassroots-level groups for a number of causes and campaigns. See if there is a group or page that matches your interests and connect with the administrators. Check out YourOpenBook.com, which lets you search all public status messages.
Search Twitter: More and more people are joining Twitter and using the service to share news and information, have conversations with one another, and promote their causes. There are a few different ways to locate Twitter users who may be online influencers.
Start with a basic Twitter Search. Use keywords to find tweets about your issue area. Try using search operators to conduct a better search. Check out Topsy, a search engine powered by tweets. Use a Twitter directory like We Follow or Twellow.
See what Twitter Lists people you follow have. Twitter Lists are found on the right-hand side of a user’s Twitter page. The user can group people they follow into particular lists. For example, AYM has a list that divides up people we follow by geographic location. This is another way to find interesting Twitter users.
Use TwitterCounter to get statistics about any Twitter user, including their number of followers and the number of people they follow.
Search Social Mention, the social monitoring tool that uses your keywords to scour a variety of social media sources.
Search Flickr: Use keywords to search for photos relevant to your issue area. Connect with Flickr users who share your same interests.
Identified a group/organization/NGO/non-profit that is an influencer? Check out that group’s website and find the right person to contact. There’s always a person behind a Facebook page or Twitter post that might be willing to connect with you!