How to build your brand influence online
Being an influencer is immensely powerful, and could directly affect your bottom line.
Look at this: When participants in a Twitter study were exposed to a campaign that featured influencer tweets, their purchase intent increased by 5.2 times, compared to those that only saw normal brand tweets. The same research also found that 40 per cent of consumers follow brands on Twitter, with 60 per cent doing so to learn about their products. That’s some incredible data!
But “influencer” seems like such a vague term. Is it even something that one can achieve without being a Kardashian?
In this article, find ways to learn if your brand is influential online, and if the answer is “No, but we wanna be,” we’ve also got some great ideas for building your influence.
Find out if you’re ‘influential’
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Let’s start positive…
- Good news: You don’t need a million social media followers to be an ‘influencer’. Hurrah!
- Bad news: You do need power. Oh.
What we mean by power is ‘having influence over others’. You see, influencers aren’t people with massive social media followings (although they of course can be). No, that’s popularity. Influence is the ability to affect someone’s perception and/or decisions, to change their minds based on your message.
In the context of marketing, this is typically done with a mix of credibility and good salesmanship – brands who are trusted and can spin an impactful message are able to influence their customers (i.e. their purchase intent).
Credibility can come from popularity, but it doesn’t have to – thought leadership and providing value to followers, both pillars of good content marketing in general, also increase your street cred, and thus, your influence.
So how do I measure my own influence?
Chances are, by judging how you interact with your target audience on social media, you’ll immediately have a feel for how much your message influences their decisions. If customers are interacting positively with your team and achieving the goals you set, you must inherently be influencing their decisions.
But there are a couple of great tools you can use to get a quantifiable measure of how your brand influences customers on social media:
- Klout: Klout is an online platform that quantifies your ‘influence’ into a score between one and 100. The platform has over 400 signals it uses to determine scores, such as how many retweets you get per tweet, your individual social media followers, and so on. You can connect a variety of digital platforms into Klout, helping measure your entire marketing strategy and benchmark your influence against others in your industry. Klout also rewards perks to influencers, meaning you might get a little something back for your data efforts.
- Skorr: Skorr is an AI-driven tool. Like Klout, it will give your social media a score from one to 100, but Skorr uses its AI computing power to help you improve your posts. It compares metrics like engagement, audience levels, etc. with sentiment analysis and language processing to offer critical insights so you can tune your strategy to suit.
Both of these tools could also be helpful for you to measure your personal brand, as well as that of your company.
How do I know if my brand is trusted?
Again, you should be able to feel this out by considering how positively customers interact with you on social media, and whether or not they complete the marketing goals you set. If you’re meeting your objectives, customers must trust you at least on some level.
For those who want better data than gut instinct, take the time to survey your followers and see what they have to say on the matter. Would they recommend you to a friend or colleague? Are they satisfied with your content?
These two questions alone should be enough to create actionable next steps to either capitalise on or improve their trust in your personal or company brand.
How to increase your influence
So what if you aren’t an influencer? Don’t give up all your hopes and dreams just yet, because there are plenty of methods to build your social media oomph that will fit easily into your content marketing strategy.
Let’s look at three quick tips. We’ll cover:
- Building your expertise.
- Leveraging other influencers.
- Establishing meaningful, two-way relationships.
1. Building your expertise
As we mentioned earlier, thought leadership is a great way to increase credibility, which in turn can build trust, which of course builds influence. To be considered a thought leader, you must bring a new perspective to your market – you must communicate insight and ideas that clearly show you know your stuff, particularly on topics that matter to your customers.
There are three primary ways to build thought leadership:
Create powerful content
Whitepapers, long-form blog content, slideshares, podcasts and videos are all ideal ways to communicate big-thinking ideas that showcase your opinion and expertise on important topics. This then gives you an arsenal of great pieces to share and promote on social media to increase brand awareness, not to mention it helps your SEO by filling your website with content.
Become a bigger part of your industry
Speaking at events, networking with other professionals and offering comment to news agencies on relevant topics are three ways with which you can get your name out there in your industry. Start showing potential followers that you’re considered an expert not just by your own standards, but by other people’s as well.
Curate and share existing content
Finally, platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are excellent places to curate and share either repurposed or third-party content. Share relevant content you loved from other influencers, tweet opinions during industry events using any applicable hashtags, and re-share some of your older evergreen content. If you need to repurpose it to keep it fresh, you can learn more about that in our article “20 creative ways to repurpose content”.
Repurposing content is a great way to give it a second wind, and to reestablish the old buzz that it generated in its golden days. But how do you find the best content to repurpose? https://t.co/lgfHbtAbWk pic.twitter.com/4TB1QvFCTb
— Castleford (@castlefordmedia) April 18, 2018
2. Leveraging other influencers
Unless you exist in some kind of hyper-niche, “nobody’s ever heard of this” industry, there will already be a range of influencers in your market space. A pessimist might consider these fine people competitors, but today we’re going to look at them as allies.
Influencers and brand advocates are people already talking about topics relevant to you – they may even be talking about you directly! You need to identify these individuals, put them into a list, then start engaging with them. You can:
- Share their content.
- Comment or retweet their posts to open a line of communication.
- Thank them if they mention your brand.
You could even sponsor people. According to research by The Shelf, 72 per cent of influencers share posts about their sponsors for free (outside of the contract), and 88 per cent verbally tell friends about brands that sponsor them. Imagine all that extra word-of-mouth marketing!
How to find influencers
BuzzSumo has a tool for this very purpose. Its Twitter influencers tool lets you find people based on topic or username, and can show you their domain authority, follower counts, average retweets and more.
You can also look for people in your market that have high Klout scores.
3. Establish meaningful, two-way relationships
You mustn’t neglect the followers you hope to influence by focusing only on promoting yourself – after all, you’ll only be influencing tumbleweeds and cricket sound-effects if nobody trusts you enough to follow you.
One of the keys to building trust is communication. Communication shows people that they are individuals to you, not just a number, and that you care about their unique needs. Communication also allows people to give you feedback on your service, product or recent posts, which you can then use to improve all of the above to create a better experience.
You can deploy all the same techniques you’re using to engage influencers to communicate with regular customers, perhaps exchanging “sponsorship” to “giveaways or personalised deals”.
Additionally, you can respond to people’s comments if they have questions, or message them directly if you notice someone has an issue.
Is your brand influential online? You should be able to tell by the way people interact with your social media profiles. If you need hard data, Klout, Skorr and similar services will give you a quantifiable measurement.
If you need to build your influence a little higher, focus on creating a personality of trustworthiness and expertise, and leverage other influencers in your space to spread the word about your brand.