Influentials are the people who shape opinions, and motivate prospects to buy your product or service, or to avoid it. In many industries, especially financial services (e.g. institutional and financial adviser channels), it is a very small community. It is kind of like the mafia where most of them know each other, and most of us within the industry, knows someone who does.
Influentials consist of a specific type of people. Most assume that this title belongs to anyone of industry fame. Though they sometimes coincide, that is typically not the case. An influential is a person who has the ability to create a shift in thinking, attitudes, openness or inspire change. This ranges from defining a brand, to starting a trend, to changing a reputation. They have a following, and their opinion commands authority, respect and of course with that, influence.
Influentials have the ability to be significant assets, or liabilities to a business, brand or individual.
Those major websites we all derive our news from frequently aggregate content, or have ideas sparked from various individuals and groups. The sources of the content and sparks are the influentials we seek to uncover. They’ve originated these trends, created the positive/negative/neutral tone for it, and more relevantly, they have used a specific and unique form of speech when describing topics, products or services. In our business, we absorb these words they use, and obtain a grasp of how a business or industry is talked about, because that is what is already resonating with your audience. And that is valuable to constructing your message, as you’ll already know the language to use. This way, you too can resonate with your target audience, underscoring that you are current, in tune, transparent and relevant.
There are appropriate media platforms in which to touch influentials, and your target audience. E5A leverages technology that is specific to the client. For the appropriate client, we produce a snapshot of media and social data. We uncover blogs, articles, tweets, pins and the like that discuss relevant topics to your business and industry, or pieces written about you. Rather than scratch the surface and use those materials simply for general knowledge, one of the specifics we look for are origins of ideas. Each ecosystem, such as in investment management, a popular analyst or portfolio manager may send a morning newsletter to provide insight on where the market, or the sector in which they focus on is headed, and what your specific action may be to leverage the trends. Food critics write reviews about their experiences with restaurants and shops, which may determine whether or not you make that reservation. The fashion world along with the entertainment industry frequently employ influentials, which wield power through Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat and bloggers to keep you following the latest trends. The dispersion of real life titles is broad. It can include the at-home blogger writing about successful stocks she’s been following and holding, an Anthony Bourdain-like figure, a trendy college student with thousands of Twitter followers, a majorly established journalist, to a niche industry icon. Businesses like Estimize rely on niche crowdsourcing, and in return create followings for analysts, professional or hobby, who are more accurate than Wall Street’s sell side.
How do influentials directly apply to your company? Finding and knowing who your real influentials are provide you strategic advantages. Strategically leveraging their decriptors takes it a step further.