Marketers Struggle to Identify and Engage Social Media Influencers (Report)

According to a new report marketers are uncomfortable reaching out to influential social media users for campaigns, but these same users indicated that they were interested. Where's the disconnect?

Influencer marketing is the big buzz this year as marketers plan to increase their budgets in an attempt to get their content in front of relevant audiences. Influencers themselves have become more sophisticated, and marketers seem to have a hard time keeping up with them, according to a report from SoftwareAdvice.

For the purpose of the report, influencers are simply social media users with a group of active and engaged followers. The idea is to turn those influential users into brand advocates who share and re-share brand content and commentary.

In this respect, the biggest concern among marketers is competing with other brands in the race to secure influencers for their campaigns. However, identifying suitable brand advocates, communicating with them, and predicting their behaviour are all equally troubling concerns for marketers.

One marketer told SoftwareAdvice:

I find it difficult to predict behavior with any real consistency … we spend a lot of time trying to analyze data, but often it seems to fluctuate from quarter to quarter.

Marketers are already using various analytics tools that could help alleviate this problem, except that the tools aren’t being used to inform and power influencer campaigns. Most marketers are using predictive analytics software to post ads, listen and monitor social networks, post current events, and offer incentives. Only 32 percent are using the tools they have for predictive analysis.

Many marketers are also concerned with invading the privacy of advocates by approaching them with offers based on predictive analytics. Here’s the thing: influencers polled seemed to largely be interested in offers. 43 percent considered themselves “extremely comfortable,” and only five percent would be “somewhat uncomfortable” receiving messages from brands.

Predictive analytics tools can help marketers in a number of ways when it comes to elevating their social media campaigns including:

  • Quickly digesting and sorting social media data
  • Offering a real-time analysis of information found on social media channels
  • Identifying those influencers most likely to boost engagement
  • Identifying the target audiences most likely to respond to certain content

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