Maxine Catley
Maxine Catley 4 August 2015

How To Exploit The Power Of Social Influencers

Organic reach for companies on social media is dwindling, meaning that fewer users will be seeing your content.

Over the last year or so, you’ve probably realised that standing out on social media is not as easy as it once was. It’s getting harder and harder for brands to get their message across in a cluttered social space, especially when organic reach on social platforms is no longer something brands can rely on. In fact, when we log on to Facebook, there are 1,500 pieces of content eligible for our news feeds, but only about 300 are displayed.


Breaking through this wall of branded content and getting in front of your target audience may prove tricky – and spending more and more budget on producing more and more content is not the answer. Instead, brands need to think about approaching from a different angle and harnessing a more traditional marketing tool – old, faithful word of mouth.


Newsflash: consumers trust real people

It’s probably not a huge surprise, but 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all else. But this trust isn’t just based on real-world relationships – it translates digitally too, with 88% of consumers reportedly trusting online reviews as much as personal referrals.


So, as social media nears saturation point, consumers looking for buying advice are turning to sources they trust. These might be their Facebook friends and Twitter followers, or the influential bloggers, vloggers or Instagrammers they subscribe to. Either way, brands are realising that it’s these social influencers who can help them get to their target audience by encouraging them to generate and share their own content to raise awareness of their brand.



What social influencers can do for you

Here’s a quick top five…


  1. Boost awareness of your brand

Your brand name is more likely to not only slice through the content overload but also start genuine conversations if it has been shared by a friend or by an impartial influencer your audience trusts.


  1. Increase your online reputation

Social influencers bring your brand authenticity. Customers value word of mouth and are far more likely to trust something that comes from a relatable, human source.


  1. Create brand advocates

Encouraging fans to influence others will generate advocates – highly satisfied customers with long-lasting loyalty who will help convert other customers by singing your brand’s praises online.


  1. Increase page rank

Google factors social media influence into page ranking, meaning partnering with social influencers such as bloggers or Twitter stars will see your brand name get higher in the result pages. Never a bad thing.


  1. Help your budget go further

Of course, finding influencers who are happy to create their own content around your product allows you free up some of your precious content budget. And 72% of influencers share additional posts about their partner brands after their agreement ends.



Spotting a social influencer

Social-media management platform Hootsuite identifies the three key attributes for social media influencers as relevance, reach and resonance.


Ask yourself:

  • Is the content they share relevant to your business?
  • How many people could you potentially reach?
  • Will the content resonate with a valuable audience?


It’s also worth checking to see whether they have a high-ranking blog or website; you’d expect an influencer to appear fairly high up in the search engine results pages (SERPs).


There are loads of tools at your disposal to help find influencers for your industry, including Klout, which gamifies social media influence by giving influencers a score, and BuzzSumo, which lets you search quickly for the most reliable influencers in your field. You can find a great roundup of some of the best tools for finding influencers here.


How to encourage user-generated content

Of course, don’t overlook the brand advocates that exist already among your fans and followers. The goal of any brand looking to do well at digital is to have an engaged fan base who share and generate content for you when prompted. As rich media becomes a must-have for Facebook and Twitter posts, asking fans and followers to share photos and videos of themselves at one of your outlets is a no-brainer – and can fuel an entire Instagram feed for your brand.



A few successful influencer campaigns


  1. Create Your New Favourite by PizzaExpress



Pizza Express’s cross-channel #CYNF campaign to celebrate their 50th birthday encouraged fans as well as influencers to design their own pizza via a microsite, encouraging user-generated content across Facebook and Twitter. The campaign also spilled over onto other channels including Vine, Instagram and YouTube and kept engagement levels up by newsjacking events and trends with hashtags like #PizzaElection.





  1. Pass the parcel by Toby Carvery



Toby Carvery’s Facebook game invited the family restaurant brand’s large, engaged Facebook fanbase to play a Christmas game of ‘pass the parcel’ with their friends via a mobile-friendly app – which perfectly exploited Facebook’s sharing functionality. With gift vouchers up for grabs, this campaign relied on Toby’s brand advocates on Facebook to pass the parcel on to their friends in order to win, capturing new subscriber data in the process.


Reaching over a million Facebook users, there were 173,253 ‘passes’ in total, and on the first day alone the app received 3,500 likes and 1,400 comments. As a brand awareness exercise, Toby hit the jackpot thanks to the power of social influence – and sales increased as a result thanks to voucher redemptions.




  • Consumers look to trusted sources to try new things and discover new brands
  • Recommendations from influencers bring credibility to your brand as well as drive awareness
  • When looking for influencers to work with, make sure they are right for the job – think about how much reach they have and whether their audience is right for your brand
  • Don’t forget the value of your existing customers – encourage fans who already engage with your brand on social platforms to participate in advocacy programs by inviting friends and sharing their own user-generated content


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