5 tools for identifying online influencers

These (mostly) free Web-based mechanisms enable brand managers to find people with a particular type of expertise in specific parts of the world.

Online influencers shape conversations in their niche with more impact than everyday online participants. The most common misconception about online influencers is that their ability to shape conversations is based on the size of their networks (or total audience). This is not to say audience isn’t important, but a combination of relevance, resonance, and reach is a better way of looking at things. As part of this three-pronged identification process, the location of online participants can play a key role (depending on the nature of the activity). Here are (mostly free) tools to narrow influencer identification by location. 1. FollowerWonk FollowerWonk enables you to compare Twitter users, analyze your own followers, and track followers. Its handiest feature is the ability to search Twitter bios by location. As you can see in the example below, I’ve searched for “social media Melbourne,” and it has provided a list of people who match this criterion and who can then be sorted by other factors including follower count, tweet count, and influence (social authority). As with all the tools shown here, this is an important first step of the identification process. 2. PeerReach PeerReach uses an algorithm to rank influencers based on the interaction they receive in a specific location. In this instance, we couldn’t search as specifically as “social media Melbourne,” but we did access a list of “marketing” influencers in Australia. Some additional manual filtering would be required to obtain details such as city location, but at least it provides another reference point to help you winnow things. 3. Advanced Twitter Search People often forget that Twitter has an advanced search capability that enables you to search by specific locations. In this case, I searched for “#socialmedia, social media marketing, social media Melbourne” and got a combination of suggestions as well as recent Tweets that matched my criteria. Twitter’s location search enables you to capture tweets within a 15-mile radius of a given spot. That is useful for reps of brands and businesses that have physical locations seeking to identify conversation drivers near those locations. 4. GroupHigh GroupHigh will help you find relevant bloggers and online conversation drivers. Even though this is a paid tool, it provides a number of advance search filters to help develop the most robust list possible. Again, some manual analysis will be required, but we use GroupHigh regularly and recommend it highly. In the example below, we used the same search terms, “social media Melbourne” and could break down the results by mentions and core topic. 5. WeFollow WeFollow.com is a directory of Twitter users that can be searched by topic specialty and keyword. It is completely free and provides its own influence ratings (from 0 – 100). On this occasion, we ran a search for “social media marketing Melbourne” and got these results back (including the profile of yours truly). As mentioned up top, influencer identification can be useful if looked in from the right way(s). One simple way is to develop a list of people most relevant to your business that you can follow and engage with on Twitter.

It also can help you develop collaborative projects. However, these tools are never silver bullets; a great deal of human interpretation and additional research are required. Adam Vincenzini is a PR Daily contributor and the managing partner of Kamber, a specialist content marketing and social media agency based in Australia. A version of this story originally appeared on the company’s blog. Follow Kamber on Twitter @KamberCo.


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