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Influencer marketing is the process of marketing to individuals as opposed to your target market as a whole.
Brands are using influencer marketing to expand their reach and increase the likelihood of resonating with their target audience. For example, a food brand might target influential food bloggers in a hope that they will write or Tweet about their products and promotions.
An influencer acts like a giant megaphone spreading a brand’s message to potential customers. Typically, these individuals will hold a great deal of authority within certain communities and on certain topics.
An endorsement by an influencer means that prospective buyers are more likely to be receptive to a brand’s message.
We’ve written an in-depth guide on the why and how of influencer marketing. It’s free to download.
Influencer marketing is a tricky landscape to traverse. Finding the right type of social media influencer is key to success, but knowing where to start can be overwhelming.
Thankfully there are a few free tools that can help you identify suitable influencers and figure out which individuals will help deliver your message to the right audience. It’s worth noting that the majority of these tools work on a freemium model, however the free features are still robust enough to cover the basics of influencer research.
Best Free Social Media Influencer Tools
FollowerWonk is a great little tool that allows you to search for keywords in Twitter user bios and sort individuals to find those with the largest reach and most authority.
The free version of the tool also comes with a few handy analytics features, such as the ability to compare the followers of up to three different Twitter accounts.
This particular feature can be used to identify social media influencers who are following your competitors but aren’t following you.
BuzzSumo brings together content sharing analytics and influencer identification into one simple dashboard. The first feature allows you to search for the most popular content being shared around a certain topic and then identify who shared it. The second feature helps you find influencers based on keywords and hashtags.
BuzzSumo is particularly useful for content marketers. You can get a quick overview of what content is already working well in your network and then identify the individuals who will be able to amplify your own content marketing.
The search functionality allows you to filter influencers by types such as: bloggers, companies, and journalists. This is very useful if you have a clear idea of the type of influencers you want to engage with.
For example, a PR person might only want to find journalists to pitch stories to, while a content marketer might want to make sure that the influencer has a blog to publish on.
Perhaps the most interesting feature within Topsy is the ability to find out which influencers shared a certain pieces of content.
Topsy’s social search will give you a list of people who shared a link and then filters out those which were the most influential sharers. This is great for finding out which influencers are already engaging and sharing your content.
You can also filter by 10 different languages: English, Spanish, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Turkish and Korean.
It’s also handy for finding out which people are sharing your competitor’s content. There might be influencers who are actively engaging with your competitors that would also be receptive to your marketing.
Kred is a good entry level tool for those interested in getting to grips with influencer metrics. Influence is measured by evaluating mentions, retweets, replies and follows on Twitter.
Kred also offers an ‘Outreach Score’ based on how often you retweet, reply and mention other people.
Both metrics are combined to give an synopsis of how influential and active an individual is within certain communities such as marketing, social media, tech, sports, Etc.
Klout is probably the most well known tool on this list. It’s also the tool that has come under the most criticism.
Klout grabbed a lot of attention when it launched back in 2008 as it was one of first examples of scoring users based on social influence. In recent years, there has been backlash surrounding Klout’s scoring system.
The metrics Klout employs are a little less sophisticated than Kred. Klout is typically used for measuring your own social media influence. However it’s metrics could be useful if you want to get a quick overview of the social influence of someone within your network. Klout’s also lets you search for influencers on specific topics, however the search functionality is limited compared to other tools on the list.
Twtrland is great for finding influencers who are already engaging with you and those within your network. One of the most useful features is the ability to filter influencers by Celebrities, Power Users, Casual and Novice.
When conducting influencer targeting, it’s important to set realistic targets.
Reaching out to the likes of Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Rihanna is the marketing equivalent of buying a lottery ticket. Instead you should aim to find influencers who have the ability to reach a large number of people and are receptive to the message you are promoting.
Twtrland comes packed with some really useful demographic features that allow you to see which types of people are following the influencers you are considering targeting. Matching this demographic data to your audience means you will have a better chance of delivering your message to the right people.
We couldn’t talk about influencer tools without talking about PeerIndex. You might have heard us mention PeerIndex before; we were such big fans of their technology that we decided to acquire them back in December 2014!
PeerIndex takes a refreshing approach to influencer identification. They believe that influence is much more than follower counts or the volume of content shared; real influence is measured on the the ability to drive conversations and actions, and needs to be measured in context.
PeerIndex measure influence based on an individual’s expertise on topics. For example, someone who is influential on politics isn’t necessarily going to carry that same authority if they were talking about technology, and vice versa. This means marketers can start to find the real influential voices within a wide variety of niches.
As we mentioned in our blog post about the acquisition, we will be integrating PeerIndex’s influencer mapping technology into Brandwatch Analytics in the coming months.
Update August 8th 2016: PeerIndex’s influencer technology is now available in Brandwatch Audiences.
While these free tools provide a good entry point for influencer marketing, the analytics features tend to be limited.
If you are looking for a more robust influence analytics solution, then it’s worth considering a social media monitoring tool that has identification, influencer metrics, advanced filters, demographic insights and engagement built in.
Cut through the noise to find the people influencing your customers.Find out more