9 tools to find industry influencers

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The tide of online influence hunting is rising beyond public relations and social media to digital marketing. In particular, there’s growing attention on influencers as gateways to new audiences.

Influence as the ability to inspire action in a community is powerful and, therefore, increasingly appreciated by digital marketing and PR pros alike.

Here are nine tools that can help in finding influencers who have expertise on specific subjects. Several go beyond discovery and offer filtering, managing, engaging, monitoring, and reporting:

Traackr: A premium category of service that is billed as an influencer marketing and analytics platform, Traackr helps you discover influencers, get social media insights, and figure out how best to connect. Features include an influencer search engine, profiles, dynamic lists, share of voice reporting, sentiment analysis, and trending content. PR, communications, and marketing pros use this service.

Linkdex: With roots as an SEO tool, Linkdex is a paid tool that has reinvented itself as a SaaS solution that unites search, social media, PR, and content channels for “organic marketers.” Features include content analysis and planning tools based on analysis from technical site crawls, content analysis, social share counts, back-link counts, ranking, value, and multi-channel analytics data. At its core, Linkdex is a digital marketing tool but also is increasingly used by public relations firms that are expanding into integrated marketing.

Little Bird: Founded by RWW pioneer Marshall Kirkpatrick, Little Bird is a paid tool that helps users discover influencers who are validated by their Twitter peers on a variety of topics. It also supports competitive intelligence, content marketing, and social media sales-oriented research across multiple networks.

followerwonk: With a focus exclusively on Twitter research and analytics, this free tool from the folks at Moz provides a handy search engine for influencer identification, as well as tools for competitive comparisons, tracking, and data visualization. A social media authority filter enables sorting of influencers, and reports can be saved for future reference.

PeerIndex: As a premium social media analytics service, PeerIndex has built an Influence graph to identify influential people by topic that marketers can search against (PiQ) to find influencers. Features include: audience insight, alerts, influencer research and tracking, social media analytics, and reporting.

Buzzsumo: A free tool that is largely in beta mode, Buzzsumo promotes itself as a research tool for content marketing and SEO by providing insights into the most popular content and the influencers sharing it. Search by topic or a specific website to find the most popular content sorted by total social media shares. Search the influencer option and results from Twitter data are displayed. All results can be filtered for refinement and exported as a CSV or XLS for further analysis.

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Keyhole: This tracking tool helps identify content and influencers, especially related to events using a hashtag. Views include conversations and top content, as well as a deeper focus on influencers. Results can be copied to your clipboard. There are also newsroom intelligence and audience intelligence paid tools that do not have a free trial.

Kred: A product of PeopleBrowsr, Kred is a paid influencer measurement tool that promises to help marketers identify, prioritize, and engage influencers. It offers a rewards service that will connect marketers with influencers, as well as audience engagement analysis, influencer leader boards, and email marketing. KredStory is a consumer application for curating and sharing on social networks and analyzing your own social media activities; it also offers each user a Kred score.

Klout: This well-known paid service analyzes individual social network content to arrive at a Klout score. Early in 2014, Klout changed its interface to be more of a content curation and sharing platform that consumers can use. Klout for Business provides a service to research, segment, and manage influencer lists; engage influencers with a perks program; and amplify brand messages with native ads.

Don’t make the mistake of searching with these tools using only your top SEO keywords. Think more from the point of view of whom you want to influence. What topics will be important to them? What questions do they have during the sales cycle, and what do you know about their preferences for information discovery, consumption, and interaction?

Besides using tools like the nine above, there are other daily actions you can take to identify influencers for your brand:

  • Your own participation in the industry;
  • Blogs, news, social networks, and groups;
  • Talking to your sales, public relations and marketing staff.

Is your business making a specific effort to work with influencers as part of your marketing and communications programs? Where does influencer relations sit in your organization? Public relations, marketing, social media?

A version of this article first appeared on Top Rank’s blog. 

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