Understanding and engaging with influencers is a really effective tactic in a smart comms plan or campaign these days. But where do you begin? This new post highlights a helpful, simple and free tool for you to try.
by Gillian Neild
So I'm not the most digitally savvy. But I have discovered RightRelevance.com and it's really been useful in opening up digital influencer opportunities. At its heart is an influencer relations strategy and I wanted to share my experiences as I feel they might help and inspire others.
Online influencers are rising in popularity and usefulness. Why? Because we listen more intently to people we like or trust. We often ask friends or family for their ideas or we go online and seek out the views of others. Some of the people we trust are online, so on that basis we've never met them. But often they work in niche areas and have built up a strong following for what they talk about online.
Brands work with these influencers to feature their products or services. This can help sales or raise awareness, promote events or manage reputation.
Knowing where to go to find focussed or niche influencers can be challenging. Right Relevance can help you find the key thinkers and thought leaders you could be talking to. And they're not asking me to write this, by the way!
So how does it work?
- You need a Twitter account to get the best from it
- Logon to Rightrelevance.com using your Twitter profile
- Type in key words for the areas you want to find influencers - one of my examples below is around hand excema
- Target a geographical area e.g. London or San Francisco
- Review the results
It's that simple. And did I mention it is free?
Each influencer has a score against their profile. This helps determine their level of social capital on that particular topic. You can use this to create a priority ordered list of potential collaborators.
I mention this tool to colleagues and contacts quite regularly and seem to be alone in using it.
Recent examples for me include finding influencers around the topic of hand excema to help with recruitment to a clinical trial. I also discovered influencers around the topic of technology enhanced learning in education. This has resulted in a two page feature in the Times Educational Supplement that has been hugely useful in showcasing work-based expertise in this area. I found a contact via Right Relevance; courted him online, invited him to an event, did a follow-up interview and there the article is! It's a glowing read too, so as you can imagine, I was very proud of the outcome.
As you can imagine, I would encourage anyone to hop online and try this tool. In just 5 minutes you can find some fantastic results which could open up potential opportunities for engagement and collaboration. If you've used Rightrelevance.com to positive effect please tweet me as I'd be interested to know how you used it. And through sharing, it might help inspire others too.
Gillian Neild is Faculty Head of Communications at the University of Leeds – on Twitter she is @gillianneild
image via Tullio Saba