You’ve probably already invested in a social listening tool, if not before, as a result of the current pandemic we’re in. Did you know that business leaders are getting information about consumers during the coronavirus pandemic on social listening platforms?
Did you also know that these same social listening tools can be extremely beneficial for your influencer marketing efforts?
How To Use Free Social Listening For Influencer Marketing
Wait, are you still on the fringes of influencer marketing?
COVID-19 has ensured that consumers and shoppers go digital-first with their purchases and research, and with organic social reach for most brands on most platforms in decline, influencer marketing provides a unique way to incite word of mouth marketing from trusted users regardless of industry.
Fortunately, working from home also gives us more opportunities for social listening, as people talk more. With that in mind, how can we use social listening for influencer marketing? Let’s take a look at how this is done.
Introduction to the benefits of influencer marketing
Knowing the benefits of influencer marketing will help you see why it should be a consequence of social listening. Right now, brand awareness is in short supply and should be collected mostly online as people avoid shopping in person. At the same time, the use of social media is encouraged as people try to connect without seeing each other. Social proof, therefore, will help you gain credibility even more efficiently than before.
Another reason to implement social listening for influencer marketing is to reach your target audience. Buying shelf space first at the store doesn’t work like it used to. Even when browsing the store again, more and more people are deciding what to buy on their computers.
At the same time, stores with niche audiences may have more trouble surviving in a post-COVID world due to reduced foot traffic. Influencer marketing does one thing better than any other form of advertising: it transcends barriers.
For example, people watch videos of pets from all over the world, even if they cannot understand the language that is spoken. Also, many people follow fashion or beauty trends around the world.
As things are shared on social media, they often jump across national borders multiple times. Get the right influencer and your brand message can go much further than even your typical audience.
The challenge of finding the right influencer
Of course, this poses another challenge: finding the right influencer. No matter what industry you are in, there are bound to be plenty of influencers vying for business. Everyone is working hard to get noticed. At the same time, having the right influencer can make or break your influencer marketing campaign.
Choosing the wrong influencer can cause worse problems than simple failure – sometimes misbehaving influencers can have a bad image of the brands that hire them, resulting in a PR nightmare.
Even without the PR concerns and abundant supply of influencers, there are fraud and audience factors to consider. Some influencers engage in fraudulent practices to increase their apparent value in the market. Others may have the wrong audience even within the right niche. Or they may prefer a competitor’s product and can’t endorse what you sell.
In short, choosing the right influencers for your brand can be tricky. In addition to finding someone who doesn’t embarrass you, the chosen influencer must be effective. One way is to make sure they attract the right audience.
By using social listening for influencer marketing, this is much easier to accomplish. That’s because you can find people who already have an affinity for the brand without working too hard.
The Challenge of Finding the Right Influencer
Finding people with a brand affinity for influencer marketing through social listening
One of the best ways to use social listening for influencer marketing is to find people with brand affinity on social media. While all companies know who their partners or employees are, for most it is impossible to know all their customers.
After all, physical products are shipped to stores or warehouses, where end-users buy them. Even if the consumer must buy something outright, the marketer probably doesn’t have all of their profiles on social media.
The use of social listening tools allows companies to identify people with brand affinity simply by running the software. For most shows, you’ll want to set a few filters that help identify the people who talk about your stuff most often.
Then you will need to look for positive mentions. These mentions reveal people who have an affinity with the brand from sources beyond customers or employees. They will catch fans, brand ambassadors, and other folks you may never have heard of. Here’s how to do this effectively, using a robust social listening tool like Mention to help.
Step 1: Identify the influencer
As you probably already know, finding the right influencers, whether it’s how to find Instagram influencers or those who influence other social networks, is often the hardest part of running an influencer marketing campaign. Although you can use effective influencers more than once, a good show is always looking for new ones. Therefore, using social listening for influencer marketing is usually an ongoing process.
Look for brand ambassadors
Many of us think of brand ambassadors as people who get paid to be the face of a brand. Since many major brands have some kind of “ambassador program,” this assumption is true. Some people lend their names to brands over a long period. Generally, this means that the brand and the influencer grow together.
On the other hand, brand ambassadors can be unpaid superfans who are always talking about certain products. For example, some people shop at a particular clothing store (or catalog) all the time. Maybe it’s because the clothes fit better or because they suit a certain style. For shoes, an influencer may need a hard-to-find size that a particular company makes. Beauty influencers might have found a type of makeup that is the ONLY one that won’t make your face break.
In this type of situation, the influencer has likely become an unpaid brand ambassador because the product works especially well for them. You’ve probably tried many other products and seen them fail miserably. Their enthusiasm is worth a lot of money, but they haven’t been paid a penny up to this point. Looking for these brand ambassadors who can help build your brand is a great use of social listening for influencer marketing. Especially if you use carefully designed Boolean keyword searches, you will find these people quickly. They tend to talk a lot about the product and in enthusiastic terms. As your listening program compiles the reports, the things they say will come out. Then you can examine these ambassadors for paid partnerships.
Listen to brand mentions
Another way to use social listening for influencer marketing is to search for brand mentions. If you are using the Mention software, be sure to set up alerts for each of your company’s brands, products, and keywords. Unlike an ambassador search, you are looking to see everything people are saying about your brand, both good and bad.
Of course, not all of these mentions will be good news. Especially on Twitter, people use social media to voice their complaints against a certain brand. Did your customer service team do a poor job dealing with that faulty product? There could be a Tweetstorm. Make sure you address the concerns publicly and get to the bottom of what happened.
On the other hand, positive mentions can help you identify an opportunity. When a social media account makes frequent mention of your brand, it’s time to check out your profile. Profiles with a large following who talk about products in your niche can be relevant influencers. If this seems to be the case, be sure to follow the profile more closely. At that time, you are looking for possible eligibility for the partnership.
Positively mentioning products without having an endorsement deal often shows that the influencer has a certain level of affinity with the brand. They may not be ambassadors or clients, but they can be admirers. This would be evident if they said something like “I can’t afford this brand, or I would try it.” For us as marketers, this type of comment is a golden opportunity to offer a product in exchange for sponsored content.
Look for influencers outside of your brand affinity
Even if someone hasn’t talked about your brand, it doesn’t mean they’re not a suitable influencer. Rather, it means that it is someone who has not yet expressed an affinity for the brand. Even if they mention your direct competitors, these people might be interested in learning about your products and services. This is true as long as they are still within their niche, not just interested in competitors who also have different lines of business that are not competing.
So which ones should you consider? In short, those who have a reason to try something new and are not overly loyal to competing brands. Especially if your brand is small or new to influencer marketing, you may not have the distribution or brand recognition to have earned Spontaneous Influencer Mentions. This is when using influencers who don’t yet have an affinity for the brand is especially valuable.
Most importantly, however, finding this type of influencer is one of the main reasons to use social listening for influencer marketing. Big-name brands often have a lot of influencers following their social media accounts, and these people are easy to find as a result. Or, they could get the endorsement of famous macro-influencers and celebrities. From here, the engagement can lead them to other influencers. Social listening is still used, but it is not as fundamental to discovering influencers with these brands.
Step 2: Choose influencers to work with
Once you have a meaningful list of influencers and their social media profiles, it’s time to create a list of influencers. In addition to the personal taste of an influencer, you have to choose based on how well you suit your target market or buyer persona. Depending on your brand, this may be slightly different for various campaigns.
Be sure to include a variety on your shortlist.
Another thing to consider when choosing influencers is the size of your followers. As I have said a lot recently, micro and nano influencers are usually very effective, so you should not overlook them. At the same time, those with the largest number of followers should also be considered.
Depending on the type of collaboration and the goals of the campaign, different numbers of followers are ideal at different times.
Just make sure they aren’t using fake followers or buying shares to make sure you get the right deal.
Step 3: Learn more about each influencer
Once you have an acceptable shortlist, do some deep analysis and make sure they are right for your brand. These considerations extend beyond the ones you used to put together your shortlist.
For example, your brand may have a particular aesthetic that could clash with certain influencers. In other words, a very simple business influencer might not be a good fit for a brand that has a reputation for unconventional advertising.
The unconventional brand is better off with an influencer who has quirky tastes.
Another danger with influencer marketing is an influencer whose values don’t match the company well enough. For example, a leather goods brand should remove vegans from its restricted list, because vegans do not approve of leather. Alternatively, a B2B brand probably doesn’t want to work with influencers who openly smoke marijuana, get arrested, or brag about their binge parties.
Knowing the influencers is another great reason to use social listening for influencer marketing. This is true because you can set up alerts that will tell you what people are saying about the influencer.
While the alert won’t help much with personal style, it does wonder for determining your values. That vegan lifestyle influencer, for example, might not talk about being vegan on every post, or even on a certain account. But you could join vegan Facebook groups. Social listening can tell you these things.
Step 4: Collaborate with influencers
Once you’ve learned enough about each influencer, it’s time to get closer to the one you’ve chosen for each campaign. Note that you may want to keep one in mind for those situations where your first choice says no.
When approaching an influencer, you must engage a bit with their content. This shows that you are interested in reciprocity, rather than just a business transaction. If you don’t, you risk being drowned out by your competitors who cultivated the relationship first. So, it’s time to get closer to the idea of collaborating. Once the terms have been negotiated, both the influencer and their team are ready to create and publish amazing content.
Both during and after collaboration, it is important to keep track of the results. One way to do this is with analytics software, which can help track activity on your website and social media profiles.
However, social listening for influencer marketing also helps measure impact. This is because social listening alerts can be created that indicates when sponsored content is being interacted with in some way. It not only tracks immediate reactions but also those three and four layers down. This is truly an invaluable tool.
Finally, if the collaboration is successful, consider doing another with the same influencer. This can be the same type of collaboration or a different one.
You should also continue to use these techniques to attract new influencers to your team. You already know how beneficial social listening is, including it as a tool to help benefit your search engine optimization.
Over time, by using social listening for influencer marketing, you are setting your brand for continued success on social media, and in all of your digital marketing.