Wondering how to vet and recruit influencers?
In this article, you'll discover four tools to manage your influencer relationships.
#1: Identify and Vet Influencers With Influence.co and Social Blade
Influence.co is a tool that helps you easily find and connect with influencers who want to work with brands. It's like a big influencer database for almost any niche imaginable. Plus, it's free to use until you get to the point you're contacting more than 30 influencers per month.
It's super-easy to use. Just type your category/industry in the search bar and click the Search button.
You then see a list of influencers (who've joined the platform) in your niche.
If you click the Advanced Search tab, you can sort these influencers by their Instagram follower count, location, age, engagement rate, Google Analytics traffic, and more.
I almost always search for influencers who have a strong blog. This is powerful for link-building and SEO, as well as great engagement on your social media channels and a strong network to share with.
As for the other metrics, try using a minimum of 4% engagement rate and a minimum 10,000 Google Analytics traffic per month. This helps weed out the people with loads of followers but no real engagement.
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After you identify some potential partners, you can vet them using the free influencer data reporting tool Social Blade. You want to see if they have a natural follower growth curve.
To illustrate, here's the profile for one of the influencers who turned up in the earlier “fitness” search on Influence.co. At the top of this report, you see the user's stats followed by a rank, which is a grade for the account based on the engagement and following.
Below that, you can view a chart of their Instagram stats, showing their follower increase (or decrease) week over week, as well as how many people they're following and their media mentions.
Finally, at the very bottom, you'll see a chart of the user's follower growth over the last 4+ years. Look for a natural growth curve, with no sudden spikes in follower count. If you see a sudden spike in a user's curve, there's a good chance they bought followers. Of course, they can still buy followers slowly to look more natural, but this is rare.
This user only got a B+, but we can assume her followers are authentic and she didn't buy them because of the natural growth curve in the chart at the bottom of her profile.
Keep in mind that not all influencers will have enough data to show up on Social Blade, and that's okay. It's just an extra security measure if you're going to pay people to help promote you. If you're not, and you're just building a relationship, their engagement score doesn't matter quite as much.
#2: Engage With Influencers Using Zoho Social
Zoho has a massive number of tools to automate your business, but one standout is the social media management platform Zoho Social. This tool makes it easy to tag and interact with influencers on social media. The standard account is $8.33 per month billed annually (or $10 month to month).
Setting up your account is simple. When you first sign up, you'll be prompted to sync your social media profiles. Just click Connect and log into your accounts.
From the home screen, you can see an overview of your social stats, recent posts, and a live stream of any mentions or comments you get.
When you click on a mention, for instance, you can reply to it directly from Zoho. You can also see some useful information about the user, such as how many followers that person has and the history of your engagement with them. These insights allow you to reference past conversations and build a relationship.
From here, you can click on the person who engaged with you to add notes such as a description and contact info (especially if you have a long engagement history).
Once you click their name, you can see your engagement history with that person. To add notes, just click the pencil icon next to Personal Info. You can also @mention them directly from this page.
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Beyond direct interaction with your followers, you can also schedule posts to be shared at a specific time. Just click the New Post button in the upper-right corner of your home screen.
What's really cool about Zoho is that it uses an AI tool called SmartQ to tell you the best times to post based on your specific following. To use the feature, click the SmartQ tab in the new post window and select the time you want to publish.
You'll see the projected engagement percentage based on which time you choose. For example, the image below shows that 10% of the audience should engage with the post if it's published at 4:00 AM on Tuesday, April 10.
For posts that do well, you can schedule them to be reshared again at certain intervals.
Tip: Keeping your feed full of your highest-engaging posts helps you stay active without having to always be on your social media accounts. My highest-engaging posts almost always involve influencers. Tagging and interacting with influencers (especially targeted influencers) can help boost your post engagement.
#3: Manage Influencer Networking With Asana
Asana is like Trello on steroids. You can use it for everything from a daily task list to long-term project management or a training resource for your employees. It's also a great tool for managing influencer networking.
The free version of Asana is great for simple task lists. But the premium plan (which runs $9.99 per month per user) gives you access to private teams and projects, has no team limit, offers admin features, and more.
To set up your account, first create a workspace, which is a set of projects. Each workspace can have its own unique members. You might have one workspace for your entire business or multiple workspaces based on teams within your business such as a marketing team workspace, an HR workspace, and so on.
Once you've set up a workspace, you're ready to set up individual projects. Projects can be assigned to your whole team or private to certain members. To set one up, click the + sign next to Projects in the left-hand menu.
You can set up each project as a to-do list or a Trello-style board. For instance, you might use lists for tasks and boards for permanent links (like training documents or videos) that need to stay around for training and referencing.
To set up a resource board, simply select Board instead of List when you create a new project. To add a column to your board, click +Add Column and type in a name. Click the + sign under the name to add a card. From there, each card acts as a task item in a list.
Here's an example of a resource board:
To add a task to a list, click inside the list box and type in a name. You can assign it to specific team members, set a due date, write a description, and create sub-tasks. Click the three dots button to add tags.
To add a description, click inside the Description field. Team members can comment on tasks, and the @mention functionality works just like a social media platform to notify people about a comment on a task.
If you want to set sub-tasks, click the button with the lines connecting two circles next to the thumbs up (users can “like” certain tasks, because why not?). To illustrate, you could set up sub-tasks for connecting with certain influencers and updating their description in Zoho after you interact with them.
For social media management, I use Asana as a sort of CRM to keep in the loop with influencers I'm contacting and potential clients who've reached out through social media.
You can use Asana with Zoho Social to track your goals with influencers and assign employees (or yourself) to keep in touch with them. I do this through a project called Social Media Relationship Building.
This board has three columns:
- Want to Connect With – people you haven't connected with yet, but want to.
- Made Connection – people with whom you've made some kind of connection, like a comment or emails back and forth, but haven't worked with on anything.
- Worked With – people you've worked with to some extent. They contributed to an article or helped you promote something, or they've become a client.
You can use a board like this to track progress with the influencers you want to build relationships with. On each person's card, list your goal for that person and any connections you've made with them such as sharing their content or commenting on their blog.
From here, you can create tasks for yourself or someone on your social team to frequently connect with these people. This contact could be sharing their content and tagging them, commenting on their posts, or sending an email.
As the relationship grows, move the person along the three boards and add any relevant notes. As an example, you could track when they share or link to an article you wrote. If they share/link once, chances are they'll do it again!
And that's all there is to it! These four tools — Influence.co, Social Blade, Zoho Social, and Asana — will help you manage and succeed with your social media influencer campaigns.
What do you think? How do you manage your social media influencer campaigns? Are there any other tools you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!
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