We’ve talked about Influencer Marketing before, and how important it is to develop relationships with other professionals and brands in your niche. So I’m going to assume you’re familiar with the concept and we’re going to focus today specifically on the various ways you can use Hootsuite to further your relationships with influencers.
(Most of these techniques can also be accomplished using other tools. But as you know, Hootsuite is my general social media management tool of choice, so that’s what I’ll be referencing here when appropriate.)
Twitter List Building & Monitoring
First up is the ever-powerful Twitter list. If you haven’t created a list within Twitter before, it’s essentially want to categorize or organize other accounts that you want to see. And since most of us are following more than 100 people on Twitter, Lists are really essential for ongoing Twitter use, since they’re the only sane way to see tweets from the people you’re genuinely interested in hearing from at any given moment.
As mentioned in our Growth Hacking Twitter article, you can have up to 50 lists, and each list can have to up to 5000 profiles. For the purposes of this article, neither of those limits should come into play. You shouldn’t need to create too many lists of influencers, and you definitely shouldn’t put too many people in these lists.
These are carefully curated, exclusive clubs.
You can create a new list from within Twitter by going to your profile, clicking on Lists, and then clicking on Create New List. But I’m going to save you a step and instead suggest that you begin within Hootsuite.
Within whatever tab you wish to use to monitor these influencers, click on Create Stream. A dialogue box will appear and you should click the tab labelled Lists. (More on tabs in a moment.)
Here you can select your profile and choose to create a new list. List names can be up to 25 alpha characters.
You can also choose whether you want the list to be Public or Private. Simply, do you want the people you list to know that you’ve listed them, and do you want other Twitter users to see and even subscribe to the list? If so, choose Public, and be sure to choose a List Name that is meaningful, both to you and the listee.
Once saved, you’ll have a stream in your Hootsuite dashboard that will display the most recent tweets of everyone you add to that list.
Adding to the list is simple. From anywhere within your streams of tweets, you can click on a Twitter user’s profile name (handle) and their Bio will come up. It will show their Twitter profile image and bio, of course, but also a wealth of additional information, including: Followers, Following, Tweet Count, Location, Tweets, Mentions, Likes, Relationship Status (with your Twitter profiles), Website, Join Date and Klout. (Actually, as of Jan. 28, Hootsuite no longer integrates Klout scores.)
At the bottom are buttons to Follow, Unfollow, DM, Reply and Add To List. Click that and you can add anyone you want to the list you just created.
You can do a Quick Search in the upper right to find profiles you know you want to add. And you can view the followers of someone’s account to look for and research other influencers.
Once you’ve started to build your list, make sure that monitoring that stream is part of your daily routine. You can also look at and subscribe to other people’s lists.
For instance, both Content Marketing World and Social Media Marketing World created Twitter lists for their conference speakers. I’ve subscribed to both lists and have enjoyed keeping up with what those speakers are talking about. I simply subscribed to them and added them as streams to my Hootsuite dashboard.
And incidentally, this is extremely convenient on mobile, particularly now that Hootsuite will sync you streams across devices. It’s super easy to open my Hootsuite app, tape the stream I want to check out, and see what these influencers and colleagues are tweeting.
Once you’ve listed them, just pay attention to what they’re tweeting about and look for opportunities. You can retweet their articles, as them questions, and naturally converse with them just as if they were at a networking breakfast with you.
If you’ve subscribed to a few lists, created a couple of your own, and perhaps saved a search or two as streams to keep an eye out for new influencers, I’d recommend putting all of these streams into a single Influencers tab for easy reference. (Here’s a complete overview of Hootsuite tabs and streams, if you want to learn more.)
Fresh Content Sharing
While it’s great to retweet influencers, particularly if they’re tweeting out one of their own articles, you might not always know if it’s a new article or something evergreen. Any business or blogger that’s been creating content for a while should be regularly sharing out those evergreen posts, and the tweets themselves won’t tell you that.
If you click through to the post (which you would do anyways to read it and make sure it’s a good fit for your own audience), there might not be a published date. And of course that assumes you happen to see their tweet in the first place. If you list a bunch of active Twitter users, those tweets can easily be buried.
So instead, I subscribe to RSS Feeds. Now, my own methods are a bit convoluted and, frankly, more complex than you need. For this purpose, Hootsuite makes things simple for you.
Hootsuite can handle RSS feeds in two possible ways. The first, referred to the Settings menu is RSS/Atom. If you use that, what you’re doing is telling Hootsuite that any time there’s new content from a source feed to automatically share it out. I suspect that’s probably not going to be ideal for most of you.
Instead, there’s the second option, referred to as the Hootsuite Syndicator. It’s a free App that you can add which will give you one or more custom streams containing the latest posts from whatever RSS feeds you specify. You can add as many feeds as you want, and you can set up different streams to display content from different combinations of feeds, so you can configure it however you need. For most of us, a single stream showing the latest articles from whatever feeds we set up will suffice.
I have a tab labelled “RSS” and within that, a single stream showing me the latest articles from about a dozen sources.
For each, we can see the title of the article, the source, date published, and have the option of sharing it, starring it, marking it as read, or saving it for later (Pro subscribers can assign to team members and other more specialized options). The title is clickable and will bring up the article in a modal window so you can review it.
When you click the share button, it immediately populates the share dialogue box with the title of the post and a shortened link. To that, you can quickly type in the author’s handle to @mention them, a hashtag or two, and modify the title in any way you wish, then immediately tweet or auto schedule for later on.
This is a great way to provide fresh, curated content to your audience and make a solid impression on your targeted influencers. You can also queue up shares to other platforms and profiles, as well as open the full post if you want to review and leave a comment.
You might also want to open the full post for another reason, which we’re about to dig into.
Driving Traffic & Leaving Breadcrumbs
The basic premise is this: influencers who are using content marketing themselves are more apt to be paying attention to their Google Analytics. And if you’re paying attention to Google Analytics, you will be very likely to notice when a Campaign appears in your referrals that you didn’t create yourself, particularly if it’s a name or brand.
For instance, when Social Media Examiner tweeted out one of my latest articles, they did so in such a way as to include a source tag on the link (we’ll get to the mechanics in a moment). I actually saw the referral traffic in my analytics before I saw the actual tweet. It looked like this:
And this was their tweet:
— SocialMedia Examiner (@SMExaminer) November 25, 2015
Pretty sweet, huh? Just a normal share of some content they thought their audience would be interested in. But because of the way they shared it, it was noticeable to me not just that it was shared, but the impact that share had on referral traffic. I could see exactly what Social Media Examiner did for me with that one share.
And you can do it as well, and make a nice impression on someone.
All you have to do is include something called “UTM Parameters” as part of the links you share. These parameters are ways that Google Analytics can be told what to display as part of certain queries to help define where a link’s traffic came from.
The parameters we’re going to use are Source, Medium and Campaign.
Now you can put whatever values you want, but since we want them to be meaningful, I would suggest the following:
utm_campaign=MikeAllton [replace with your name or brand]
This is what a link looks like with the full UTM parameters attached:
Here’s the really good news: Hootsuite can do that for you automatically! Within Hootsuite’s compose box where you create a status update for social profiles, there’s a field where you can put in a link and click Shrink to shorten the long link into a trackable ow.ly link. If you click the gear icon, you can apply UTM parameters and have them included (hidden) within the shortened link.
You can save a preset, and even choose to have that preset applied to every shortened link!
First, click on the gear icon and reveal the UTM parameters fields.
Second, fill in the parameters that you wish to apply to your shared links.
Click on the drop down for presets, select Create New Preset… and give your new preset a meaningful name.
Check Always apply when creating shortened links and then click Apply Parameters to save your changes.
It won’t apply to content that you share from RSS feeds you may have set up within a stream, or from Hootsuite’s Suggested content. However, any link that you create by putting the link into the link shortener will automatically have your UTM parameters.
Even better, every shortened link that you create and share using the Hootlet browser extension will also have those saved parameters!
This is why it might make sense for you to review new content from your sources within the Hootsuite Syndicator stream, open them in a new tab outside of Hootsuite, and share from there. The Hootlet will make sure that you tag the link appropriately, and you can still add the author’s Twitter handle or Google+ username to ensure they’re mentioned in the share.
If used regularly, you’ll ensure that some of the traffic your social shares send to influencers is noticed.
For my Buffer-using friends, you can do this too, as long as you’re using Buffer for Business. If you are, you can enable Google Analytics for each and any social account and then customize the UTM parameters accordingly.
Of course, nothing replaces actual, genuine engagement. The best impression you can make on another human being is to talk with them like a normal person and show real interest in who they are and what they’re interested in.
Hopefully, the powerful techniques I’ve shared with you above will be used responsibly. While I’m aware that they can all be exploited and used to amount to nothing more than spam – that’s ultimately a failing prospect. Instead, use the above tactics to help yourself stand out from the crowd while still acting like a normal person – just one who has more marketing savvy than the rest.
Have a question or another suggestion? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.