If you caught my previous SteamFeed article about increasing your blog post’s social reach, you’ll remember that the little trick I cited was to socially reach out to industry influencers once your post went live. If you’ve mentioned a fact or figure that stems from them or cited an individual by name, mentioning them in a tweet or tagging them in a Facebook update is a great way of piquing their curiosity, hopefully eliciting a share that will then be seen by their own following.
I also mentioned that when sitting down to initially write your post, it’s great practice to have a shortlist of influencers on hand who you can turn to for facts, figures, trends and stats in your niche, to save you trawling through Google for answers.
You just need to know who to target. While you might have found a blog-worthy Pinterest fact on a website like FactBrowser, they aren’t the kind of handle you should be targeting on social media. For a start, their own blog hasn’t been updated since November and their Twitter profile is made up almost entirely of tweeted facts from their site, intermittently broken up with retweeted praise from other users.
No, you want the influential bloggers, the really inspiring content curators who boast an impressive Twitter following and see regular engagement on their social activity. But how do you find them without spending hours trawling through Twitter or looking up blogs so you can click through to the authors’ social media platforms? One word – tools!
Tracking down influencers
I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have day to day tools like Hootsuite, Wunderlist, Do and Topsy at my disposal or, when it comes to tracking down influencers on social media, Klout and Followerwonk.
For those who haven’t used them before, Klout is a site that provides a measure of an individual’s social influence based on their social media activity. Each user is given a rating that increases with the amount of interaction on their updates and, while Klouts accuracy can be debatable (for example, a particularly ‘influential’ Facebook update could in-fact just be about a user’s experience at Nandos and have been liked by 25 of their personal friends), it’s still a good place to start when compiling a shortlist of points of contact.
To find relevant users with high Klout scores, simply type your keyword phrase into the top search bar and Klout will automatically pick out top influencers for you, like in the example below.
Followerwonk is a great way to compare your own Twitter account with another user’s to identify any overlaps in followers and interests, search Twitter bios for relevant keywords, check how many followers a user has and even analyse these followers to check how influential they really are. What’s more, Followerwonk now includes its own social authority indicator which ranks users from 1 to 100 according to their level of Twitter influence; a metric based more on retweets than follower numbers.
To use social authority, go to ‘Search Twitter bios’, type in your keyword and order the results by ‘Social Authority’ to find your top influencers (it’s no surprise that Jeff Bullas is number one in the example below!). From there you can download a CSV file of these influencers and, if you like, organise them even further using pivot tables.
Remember, you want to be targeting the profiles that receive the highest engagement and not just the most followers, as you never know how many of them could be spam or just plain fake, as DJ highlighted on Twitter last month.
Organising your influencers and your outreach plan
If your follower list is getting a little crowded it can be easy to lose all the influencers you just followed in a sea of other Twitter handles, and even forget that you followed them in the first place. This is where getting down to the nitty gritty and having a clear plan in place for your social outreach activities comes in:
Step 1: Before you start the process of following influential bloggers on Twitter, create a private list named something like ‘Influencers’.
Step 2: Add each Twitter handle to the list as you go along, that way you’ll have them all in one place and will be able to keep a sharp eye on their tweets for any facts, figures and useful content that could feature in your future blog posts. If you do see a post of interest, favourite the tweet (which then sends them a notification and puts you on their radar) and bookmark the post for later. I prefer to do this using the cloud app Pocket, a great little app which lets you organise posts into category lists. Once I’ve done this I can access all of my bookmarked posts wherever I am, so long as I’m connected to the internet.
Tip – for extra Brownie points, retweet some of their updates and spark a conversation prior to writing a post to start developing a relationship early.
Step 3: After a couple of weeks of bookmarking (or in my case, Pocketing) posts of interest from your influencers list, you’ll have generated a good cache of post ideas or, if something’s really captured your imagination, a full post or two! Once you’ve gotten this content in place and have linked to the relevant bookmarked post, you can create an Excel spread sheet and log the name of your post, the URL of the post you have linked to, the Twitter handle of the author you’ve mentioned and the tweet you’ll push out to promote it, including a mention of said user. All you need to do now is go ahead and schedule the tweet.
Step 4: If you receive some engagement from the user in response, fantastic! Once they’ve retweeted your post to their (potentially) thousands of followers, you’ve gotten your tenfold increase! All you need to do then is say thank you, keep the conversation flowing and don’t forget to refer back to your Twitter list. Keeping this relationship alive with chatter and retweets is just as important after you’ve published your post as before.
I’ve lost count of the number of posts I’ve read that detail overcomplicated procedures for increasing the social reach of blog posts and forging relationships with big industry fixtures, without actually taking into account the reason you’re doing it in the first place. Your blog is there to showcase your expertise, nurture leads and develop relationships, so why wouldn’t you include information from truly credible sources to a) Back up your points and b) Start forging a valuable new industry relationship in the process?
Have you seen success with a different social outreach plan? I’d love to hear about it!