3 Types of Social Media Influencers Your Campaign Needs

“If only we had a celebrity talking about us.” If you’re like most marketers, you’ve talked (and tried) to go big and recruit celebrities to advocate for your cause or product. While it’s true that the right celebrity can massively raise your campaign’s visibility, if they don’t already know you AND have shown past interest, you could waste valuable marketing resources with nothing to show for by going after the wrong influencers. The key is to identify the right types of influencers, who already know you and have substantial social reach on relevant topics.

First, formal celebrities are just one type of influencer and are quickly being surpassed by a new breed of authentic influencers who have their own large following. Twitter account with 1M+ followers is the modern version of “celebrity” who can have as much, or more impact, as traditional media. In fact, many big brands are moving toward hiring influencers to represent them since celebs often don’t seem authentic.

Social media influencers are best positioned to share your content and spread the word about your programs and campaigns since their reach is around 200X more than your CRM. While everyone has some degree of influence, the key is to understand who has the MOST influence from the people you’ve already worked hard to cultivate. Who are the folks you should spend your limited time cultivating so you can persuade and inspire more powerfully? Unless you’ve matched your email file to social data, you probably haven’t leveraged your social wealth and may not know what celebrities/VIP’s or other types of influencers are on your list.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.21.52 PMThe first step in creating an influencer list is to segment influencers into 3 main categories of:

  1. VIPs/Celebrities
  2. Professional Influencers
  3. Citizen / Everyday Influencers

It’s important to group influencers because each type require a different approach and ask.

1. Everyday Influencer

Motivated by passion and interest around a product or cause, Citizen or everyday influencers, are the largest and most accessible of the three groups you should cultivate.

Examples of Citizen Influencers:

  • Volunteers/Donors/Activists
  • Customers/Subscribers/Fans
  • Casual Blogger (as opposed to paid)

From a broader marketing perspective, anyone who isn’t a VIP or Professional, is a Citizen Influencer, meaning they aren’t paid and have fewer connections. These are “everyday people” in your email list who have 500+ social media connections and have a Klout score of 40-60. We love this group because they are an often overlooked resource, yet are actually a powerful force as a group. Here’s a great example:

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.22.03 PMDigital strategist by day. STEM advocate by night!

Meet Cynthia Mackey (@cmackey). Her day job, so to speak, is a digital marketer and she’s a trained industrial engineer. Cynthia is also a tireless champion for STEM in schools and often uses her social media accounts with over 2,000 Twitter followers to help raise awareness. There a ton people like Cynthia who are advocates for issues or products outside of of their immediate professions and someone like her, who is passionate about an issue like STEM, is likely to help and just needs to be asked (and thanked).

2. Professional Influencer

The Professional Influencer is known for their area of expertise. Their job as a journalist, executive, speaker, etc. is to essentially educate and motivate others around their message. They already have real skin in the game so are equally motivated to deliver targeted content. Since they’re in the spotlight, they likely receive multiple requests to share content – so make sure your i’s are dotted, your t’s are crossed when approaching them.

Examples of Professional Influencers:

  • Media/Bloggers
  • Partners/Affiliates
  • Sector leaders (Founders, C-level, Executive Directors, Doctors)

Even if they aren’t the CEO of TOMS, those with a certain professional standing and title usually carry a level of influence comparable to their position. The smell test for members of this category is either credibility or access to a target community.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.27.54 PMFor example, with over 8,000 Twitter followers, Professor of Environmental Studies and former co-director of Climate Unit Greenpeace International Tzephora Berman (@tzephora) is a great example of someone you’d want to enlist as a Professional Influencer if you were looking to deepen your reach in the wildlands protection space. And the reason Tzephora and others like her have this reach is because it’s part of their job (and deep passion!).

3. VIP/Celebrity Influencers

Whether you’re looking at someone like Hillary Clinton, Van Jones or Mark Ruffalo, VIP/Celebrity Influencers will always have influence and tend to be about 1% of your email list. Nearly every customer at Attentive.ly has found VIP’s hiding out in the CRM they didn’t know about.

Examples of VIP/Celebrity Influencers:

  • Musicians/Actors/Authors
  • Athletes
  • Politicians
  • Movement leaders

Screen Shot 2015-07-28 at 10.18.04 AM
With over 1.8 MILLION followers, Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) aka The Incredible Hulk, is a major climate change advocate who could massively expand your network reach if his affinity and past interactions match-up with your issues. Talk about some force multiplication.

Look for Reach, Relevance And History

Once you’ve identified the 3 types of influencers, make sure they are best positioned to carry your message with these qualifying search tips:

  • Klout Score: This is a number between 1-100 that represents your influence according to Klout. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score. We generally recommend looking for people with a Klout score higher than 40.
  • Connections: Their number of connections is a good indicator that they are an influencer, especially for those who have opted out of Klout scores. VIPs, by virtue of a 70+ Klout score, also have well over 500 connections that come with a high score.
  • Topics: What topics are they talking about? More importantly, from a marketing perspective, do they intersect with your campaigns? Are they writing about things that matter to your audience? Using Attentive.ly, you can easily see what your people are saying about your campaigns.
  • History: Though not required, it’s far more likely influencers will engage with a personalized ask if they have already taken action, which may just be signing up for your e-news. When starting an influencer program, go for the low-hanging fruit and look for influencers in your existing CRM, sorted by group (i.e. donors, customers, petition signers, etc). For this search using Attentive.ly, cast a wide net so you don’t exclude a particular group. Keep in mind that once you run the query, you can see the groups that each influencer is a involved with.

It’s Quality, Not Quantity

If you asked the top 5% to share your content and got a 1% response rate, the average Attentive.ly customer could reach nearly 400,000 people, which amounts to engaging around 40 influencers. Here’s an example of how the quality-over-quantity approach gets you the most bang for your buck.

27 Influencers Raise $200K

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.25.54 PMIn 2014, with the help of Attentive.ly, a large nonprofit identified 27 social media influencers and asked them to spread the word about registering to walk in their own words and through their own social media channels. By providing them with a registration incentive code, over five months, those influencers recruited 105 additional participants, who raised more than $200,000.

How to Identify Influencers in Attentive.ly

Watch our 7 min. video about how to find influencers in Attentive.ly. Make sure to request a free Audience Insight Report and see your network reach including your top 10 influencers.

Free Report to Show Your Top 10 Influencers

Get started finding your influencers by requesting a free custom Audience Insights Report that shows your top 10 influencers, Klout score of top 1%, network reach and more in a beautiful infographic.

TOP 10

Our free Audience Insights Report matches a subsection of your email list with over 100 social networks to help you to understand who your supporters are. Here’s a sample report so you can see exactly the type of infographic we’re able to create on the house.

Request Your Report



Jeanette Russell
About Jeanette Russell

Passionate to engage stakeholders to solve technical and political issues through transformational initiatives. My deep understanding of technology, partnerships, marketing, advocacy, fundraising, nonprofits, startups and self-directed nature is my brand. I’ve created extensive partner networks, coalitions, spearheaded innovative campaigns and significantly increased revenue/funding for purpose driven ventures.

Posted in Influencers