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How to Identify Influencers for Every Niche Need

Finding an influencer for every niche need may feel like overkill, but it’s so incredibly worthwhile for brands. We’ll explain why that is and how the discovery process looks below!

Your niche may be somewhat differentiated from traditional markets, or it could be excruciatingly narrow in focus, in a way that will only apply to a small subset of consumers. Either way, there are influencers out there for every niche need. Yes, for everything. Let’s find them.

Using Category Influencers to Drive Awareness

Category influencers know a lot about whatever vertical your company inhabits. Or about the subset therein, if you’re the parent company of many smaller organizations. You’ll want to identify subject matter experts and content creators unique to your category. And not just those who are “influential” in the vast online space.

How to find them: Category influencers pop out at you once you perform a basic Topic search.

Category niche influencers pop out at you once you perform a basic Topic search

The trick here is making sure they’re relevant to your niche need. And to do that, there are many influencer subcategories pre-populated for you in our influencer dashboard. Don’t see what you’re after? We’re always happy to help you create more:

there are many influencer subcategories prepopulated for you in our niche influencer dashboard

And keep this in mind as you search – influencers offer brands much more than a potential promotional partnership. As Ted Tagalakis, Vice President of Social Media at Intermark Group shares, brands can capture psychological intel about consumers using influencer insight tracked via social analytics. And then parlay that insight into action:

As Ted Tagalakis, Vice President of Social Media at Intermark Group shares, brands can capture psychological intel about consumers using niche influencer insight

And the same goes for employee ambassadors and brand champions, though the discovery process shifts a bit.

Employee Ambassadors and Brand Champions

Activating employees as ambassadors sounds easier than it is. The ability to add up to 500 Owned or Partnered channels offers plenty of capacity to evaluate potential candidates. You’ll still want to narrow that field pretty quickly though.

And here’s how to find and eliminate many of them in one fell swoop:

  • Query employees for those interested in having “online ambassador” as part of their job descriptions and list the channels you’re seeking ambassadors for
  • Narrow the field by requiring each has an active, engaged presence on whatever channels they’re seeking to work on for you
  • Turn off your phone and ignore your email until they read this next criterion: Must provide social listening tool access to social media channels for analysis around posting activity, engagement and conversation trends.
  • The three people you’re left with will probably be amazing, but let’s still be sure to capture and monitor their channel engagement:

capture and monitor niche influencer channel engagement

And then Brand Champions are super important – and also super elusive to those companies lacking social listening skills.

Social listening helps enhance consumer trust

We know that customers look to their peers and fellow consumers when facing product purchase decisions. Understanding how niche influencers, specifically brand champions, are talking about your brand will allow you to build stronger rapport with potential new customers. And all of this while uncovering (and hopefully addressing) detractors’ concerns too.

What’s the difference between a brand champion and category influencer? We’re glad you asked!

Influencers are generalists, with an impressive and somewhat engaged audience base that likely includes a few of your target segments. They’re great for spreading general, overarching awareness of your product or service with these segments, but often lack the niche expertise/authority to convert sales.

Brand champions are specialists, with less impressive (1,000+) follower counts that are very niche. And exceptionally engaged. Champions are immersed in the fabric of your target community. They’re as authentic as they come and they’re loved for their relatability and focus on those around them, rather than on themselves.

How do you find brand champions? The same way you find larger influencers, but you look for the highly engaged authors with (likely) smaller followings:

Brand champions are highly engaged authors with smaller followings

Specific Campaign Influencers – Finding the Right Mix for Your Niche

Brands usually need both influencers and champions for campaigns.

How to find them: You’ve identified a good number of each in the steps above, and now you’re actually concerned with how to pick a select few from each group to create a one-two combo to knock your next campaign out . . . of the park. And there’s the rub. You have to start over. And no amount of mixed metaphors will simplify this task for you. But a social analysis tool will make that “analyzing” part a breeze.

Also – take heart! You don’t have to start your influencer search over, just your niche/campaign research, which will be run through the lens of your potential influencer combo list, which you’ll be uploading into a new dashboard.

Perform your niche:campaign research by using an influencer dashboard

You’ll explore how these influencers are talking:

How are influencers in your target niche talking

And the conversations that are resonating with their followers – and your potential consumers.

Track conversations that are resonating with niche influencers' followers

If you already had your campaign ideas nailed down, pry them back up and tweak to meet audience segments where they are, offering solutions to their pressing, unmet needs. You’ll certainly find relevant adjacencies regardless of campaign focus.

Then put your highly engaged influencers, that speak to these specific needs, to work on this specific campaign. Make sure you have a good mix of category influencers, brand champions and employee ambassadors on that influencer team too!

And a final note, which brings us beyond discovery to measurement, but is good to have in mind: be sure to use dashboards and converged media to track influencers’ contributions to the brand:

converged media metrics widget

You can further segment influencers by location, channel, time of day and so much more, which we’re happy to show you if you reach out! Or we can show you in person at our next NetBase LIVE happening in October. Hope to see you there!

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