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When was the last time you sat through a TV commercial without reaching for the remote to switch the channel? It’s definitely going to take a while to recollect. However, it shouldn’t be news when we say that the returns from traditional advertising is going down with the advent of social media and internet marketing. Nowadays, traditional advertising such as TV commercials are discarded by people as noise and doesn’t generally fetch the expected returns.
Influencer marketing is the new trend in marketing and it’s doing extremely well for the brands. A recent study done by Inc revealed that 84% of marketers are planning to launch at least one influencer marketing campaign during the next one year.
What exactly is influencer marketing?
Influencer marketing lies in the grey territory between a solid recommendation and subtle product mention which is done in a very casual style. Imagine a public figure who is popular in the fashion scene. Even a passive mention of your new fashion brand by this influencer can lead to their followers checking out your brand and eventually becoming loyal customers. This is because the mention appears more like a passive recommendation than a paid advertisement.
Brands now favor influencer marketing because of the targeted exposure they can get to the right kind of audience, one that’s already interested in products like yours and have higher chances of paying attention.
The case with traditional marketing is the exact opposite where target isn’t as efficient as with social media. When you’re browsing through your Instagram feed, you’re still seeing advertisements and the only difference here is that you can’t differentiate between ads and ordinary posts anymore. This is exactly what makes influencer marketing effective and worth investing your time and efforts in.
Another reason to consider influencer marketing over other marketing channels is that about 47% of internet users are using ad blockers. While ads are getting significantly less attention these days, influencers are enjoying a major share of it and you can collaborate with them to get the same for your product and brand.
Before you can start identifying influencers, you must have a clear picture of the expected outcomes from the influencer marketing campaign. After defining your goals, you will have to cross check if an influencer will fit your messaging, campaign and brand image.
If for example you are looking to increase engagement, you should be looking at things like total follower count and the engagement on their posts. If you are more inclined towards attracting an audience with a certain style, you should find influencers who are known for that particular style.
Once you know the metrics you’ll be tracking, you know what to look for in influencers.
Simply put the style and behavior of the influencer you choose should match that of your brand and the type of customers you are targeting. Before you reach out to the influencer, you should make sure that the content they create is in line with your branding too. This is because, without a proper alignment of content with your sponsored posts, the campaign might not yield the desired results. This will also ensure that you, the brand and the influencer can find a middle ground where the audience doesn’t perceive the campaign as a mere marketing exercise. This authentic feel is the unique selling point of influencer marketing.
Accelerating the search for influencers
While identifying influencers has a strategic aspect associated with it as we have mentioned above, finding the right profiles from social media sites is a resource intensive task. Instagram has 700 million users while Twitter has about 974 million users. It’s practically impossible to do a manual search for influencers, especially if your business belongs to a not so mainstream niche.
This is where web crawling technologies come to our rescue. Web crawling is a computer technique for employing software programs to do the hefty process of browsing through websites and extracting relevant data. When it comes to monitoring and tracking influencers in your industry, you can get the help of a web scraping service provider to crawl and extract influencer data from popular social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
Here is how web crawling for identifying influencers work:
1. Define the target sites
The social media platforms you would need to target will entirely depend on the industry or niche that you belong to. While Instagram is especially great for consumer companies such as clothing, apparel, fashion and gadgets, companies that have products or services targeted at the enterprise audience should go with Twitter.
2. Define a set of hashtags or search queries you need to track
To search for influencer profiles, a set of hashtags or search keywords is necessary. For example, if you are looking to promote a shoe brand, you would want to look for popular fashion bloggers, athletes, sports people or celebrities who have the audience you want to target. Going through a few profiles related to this niche will give you an idea about the commonly used hashtags.
3. Define the minimum number of followers for influencer profiles
Depending on the reach you are targeting and the budget you have, you can define a minimum and maximum number of followers the influencers must have. Remember that the cost of the campaign can go up along with the number of followers that an influencer has. If you are a huge brand with big pockets, you only need to set a minimum threshold.
4. Set a frequency for crawls
Depending on the nature of your influencer marketing campaign you can decide upon a frequency for the crawls to run. If influencer marketing is your primary marketing channel, you would want to go for a higher frequency.
Once you have made up your mind about the above prerequisites, you can get started with the web crawling process to gather influencer data. Considering the complications associated with web crawling such as managing a team, high infrastructure requirements and maintenance workload, most companies are now taking the outsourcing route when it comes to web data extraction. With the high speed data extraction capabilities of web crawling services, you can accelerate your search for influencers and in turn hack your business growth.