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July 22, 2014

Identifying Influencers at Your Company

By Karen J. Bannan

One of the main goals of any social media campaign is getting industry influencers to not only read your messaging or call to action but broadcast it out to their followers, too. The larger the influencer, the more reach your message has. It’s a topic that Jayson DeMers, the CEO of a large SEO firm took on this month in a story he posted on Forbes.

The story details steps to take for those looking to get influencers to boost their social media reach. His advice is applicable in the social business world as well. Below, find a partial version of the seven-step list by DeMers and how you can tweak his pointers for use in a social business setting.

1) Define Influencers
It’s easy to recognize an influencer on social media. They probably have lots of followers. People retweet or repost them often. Journalists may interview or quote them often. Internally, your influencers are people who know the most about your business, product, customers and suppliers. They are in the middle of everything going on and love what they do.

2) Find Influencers
In social media you’re looking outside your organization for influencers. In the business world, you’re looking inside. An influencer can be a well-respected colleague, someone who is already a go-to person for help and advice or the guy or girl who makes the most noise at a meeting. You may need to send out a survey or just informally talk to people to see who they respect, admire and – most important – seek out for help.

3) Contact Influencers
This process is difficult for the social media crowd, but a snap when you’re dealing with internal folks. Most people are ready and willing to step up to a role that will further their own careers and position them as experts. One thing you may want to do: Come up with a compensation offer – even something like working from home, getting them additional training or creating a new title – to make it worth the time and effort for your influencers.

4 & 5) Utilize Your Sources/Build and Maintain Relationships
Here’s where social media and social business come together. Whether you’re using social media or social business you’ve got to have a content strategy in place, watch how your influencers react to what you’re trying to say and show gratitude for their help and reach. As DeMers says in his conclusion, socializing with influencers “is a strategic and efficient way to improve your reach, credibility, and authority within your industry.”

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