At Mention, we're big fans of influencer marketing. 'Obsessed' might be a more appropriate word.
Another thing we're big fans of is finding companies that are actually rocking at it.
Let's face it, when a certain tactic becomes as popular as influencer marketing has, you see a lot of execution that ranges from "meh" to "almost sad." So when you see another business doing it so well that you can actually learn from their process, you need to pay attention.
So are you paying attention to Examine?
Examine is a nutrition company that analyzes scientific information about nutrition and supplements. The collaborative community is focused on peer-reviewed research, with editors reviewing submissions as well as contributing content themselves.
It's grown into a seven-figure business, thanks to subscriptions and eBook sales. And both social media monitoring and online influencers have helped the company get there.
This is absolutely the kind of story we love.
Let's take a look at how Examine used online monitoring to build an influencer network for Examine.
A Strong Network: Key to the Company's Success
Examine co-founder Sol Orwell credits building a strong network for the company for enabling their rapid growth. Big influencer or little guy, it doesn't matter, Examine wants to build great connections.
"We want to know who talks about us, we want to know if what they're saying about us is true or not. The other side of it is influencer marketing - growing a network, building relationships with influential people," Sol told us.
But while monitoring can take credit for connecting Sol with these different influencers, his relationship building ideas (like this one) were the magic that really brought people into the Examine community. He didn't just sit on the information monitoring gave him - he used it strategically.
What's his secret, never before used, confusingly complicated strategy?
Saying 'Thank you'.
Something so simple, something drilled into us our whole lives, yet a gesture so ignored by too many marketers doing influencer marketing.
Instead, it's usually all about the ask. But if you read Sol's content, you'll know that he doesn't roll like that, and doesn't like hanging with those who do.
So he follows up and thanks everyone talking about Examine:
"Doesn't matter how small they are, every time someone mentions us, I take a few minutes to at least say thank you. It's not like we get hundreds of mentions a day, I can keep up with this. We just say thank you, and this kind of support has helped grow how we have."
Once relationships were built with key influencers, Examine used them to build an influencer army, if you will. But you know, not the scary kind of army.
Here are some of the ways they leveraged their influencer network - feel free to steal their tricks.
Since Examine is a collaborative health and fitness encyclopedia, it's important they have legit contributors, both because of the subject knowledge those people can bring and because Examine's audience will want to read their information and analysis.
They use Mention's influencer scores to identify and connect with industry VIPs that are talking about them or might make a great consultant for the site. Mention notifies them of new influencers, and helps them make a better first impression.
Sol even says he can spend up to an hour researching influencers found through mention before connecting, so he can write a great and personalized outreach message.
How you can do it
While you may be recruiting guest posters for your company's blog instead of finding contributors for a community-based encyclopedia, the process you'll want to follow is the same. Find influencers either already talking about you or creating the kind of content you're looking to publish.
You can do this to find guest writers for your company's blog, influencers to interview for your podcast, experts to interview over live-streams, anything your content-filled heart desires. It's just a great way to find influencers.
There are a few different things you can monitor to find great candidates:
- Monitor your brand: Find the people creating the best content mentioning your brand. They already know your brand, they're already creating awesome content - it could be a great match.
- Monitor your competitors: Monitoring your competitors will help you see which influencers might want to know about your brand, but don't. Starting a conversation with them might be something to consider.
- Monitor your industry: Paying attention to the industry as a whole gives you a zoomed out view of your playing field.
Finding and engaging readers
The other big part of Examine's influencer marketing strategy was brand monitoring.
They depend on Mention to see what people are saying about them online:
"We've also used [monitoring] as a way of counteracting any false information... We want to know who talks about us, we want to know if what they are saying about us is true or not."
As noted earlier, Sol engages with everyone who talks about them, so if there's misinformation out there, he'll be starting a conversation anyway. That's a chance to understand what's going on and fix the situation, if needed.
For more run of the mill mentions, replying is less about informing and more about making conversation and building relationships. Remember, not enough people say 'Thank you'.
Building relationships with your readers helps you learn more about what they want from you and your business, and how you can make them happy. Plus, the personal attention from you will make them feel awesome.
How you can do it
Brand monitoring is the focus of a lot of monitoring tools, making things really easy for you. However, even though things are easy, they're not cut and dry.
You can't just plug in your company name and call it a day - sometimes people will talk about you without mentioning you specifically.
You'll also want to monitor things like:
- Your website URL and social handles
- The names of any specific products, services, or packages
- The names of any important team members
Activate your army
Of course, building a network of great people to "just sit there" is kind of pointless. It's like making friends with Oprah and not asking her for book recommendations or to give you a motivational speech.
Your network is there for you to talk to and use. Your advocates want to help you.
You just need to find them and talk to them, so I'll leave you with this last piece of dropped knowledge from Sol:
"You have to know who's talking about you, your brand, and if there's an opportunity for you to connect with someone, where they can help you, you have to seize it."
The post How Examine Built an Influencer Army Through Media Monitoring appeared first on The Mention Blog.