How Do You Find An Influencer No One Knows About (Yet)?back to all NEWS

Insights | Apr 17, 2018

Influencers have become a critical component of a communications marketing strategy for most brands and organizations. With millions of influencers active in the social media space, identifying the right influencers to represent a brand requires a structured approach that is part art and part science. The request from clients to identify influencers for their brand has become commonplace and is something that our team at Edelman Intelligence has the technology and expertise to design and execute.

BUT, what if the challenge is to find potential influencers? Someone who has little to no digital footprint, but has an amazing story to tell? How do we find someone who is essentially unknown?

A client recently put this challenge to us. They wanted to find a new brand ambassador across five markets but were looking for someone that no one knows about, yet.

Based on the type of people that the client wanted to engage, we developed a series of filters to ensure we were searching for potential influencers that fit the brand. Some of these criteria included:

  • Must have a strong connection to the key market.
  • Must be involved in real community engagement.
  • Must have a meaningful connection with others, and fulfill a deeper, richer purpose in the community.
  • Must be real people, not actors, celebrities, or well-known influencers.
  • Must demonstrate characteristics or an outlook that aligns with the brand.

Taking our tried and tested approach to influencer identification, we broke down the process and reverse engineered it. Rather than analyzing data with the highest number of hits, we started at the bottom of the list and began digging. And we found some interesting gems.

Our process began with understanding the social and economic issues most prevalent in each market. From there, we explored the social causes that most resonated with the population. These learnings laid the foundation for the project. This was then overlaid with the passion points relevant to each market. Was the nation passionate about sport, or music, or culture for example? Finally, we looked at how people in that country talked about those who gave back to society. What words did they use to describe these people?

Each of these components helped build a picture of the type of person we needed to find and helped define the keywords for our search taxonomy.

Using our proprietary Command Center tool, we generated the data we needed to identify possible contenders – those who met all our criteria and had an amazing story to tell. We needed to find a person who, through their own passion and determination, was making a difference at a grassroots level. This took time as we were looking for people with very little digital presence, and we needed to vet and score over 200 individuals against our specified criteria.

The final result? Across each of the 5 markets we identified 2-3 potential matches, each with a unique and inspiring story. From these shortlists a final brand ambassador was selected. This previously hidden gem now appears across the campaign for the brand, inspiring and engaging consumers in their market, and building an influential presence in the digital space.

So, while these unknown influencers are harder to identify, with a bit of science and art it can be done. Leveraging technology combined with human insight, we can find that hidden gem who has an amazing story to tell. A story no one has heard, until now.

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