In the first four parts of this series on finding online influencers, we focused principally on blog search. However, a variety of other social media outlets can point us to people whose preferred medium is photos, video and the spoken word. These people can also be important influencers. It’s just that their chosen media isn’t text.
As in our previous examples, we’ll pretend we’re a mythical resort in Quebec, Canada that’s looking to promote itself through influencer marketing.
Start by heading over to Yahoo’s Flickr, which is one of the largest photo-sharing sites. Type Quebec resort into the search box and select “Tags only.” This returns 272 results. Scroll to the list of photos and look for the photographers whose names come up most often.
One of them is “ash2276,” who’s submitted more than 1,100 photos and who belongs to more than 100 groups. Look at a sample of ash2276’s photos and note the large number of comments. This is someone with a following. Look at the photos tagged “Quebec” (there are 98 of them) and click on some of them. Note the enthusiastic comments. Ash2276 is an accomplished photographer, the kind of person you might want to invite to your resort for a photo weekend.
Flickr has over a half million groups, and while some are small or inactive, others are very large. Search for groups about Quebec and you get about 1,800 results. Most aren’t about Quebec specifically, but if you sort by group size and scroll down, you come across a group called “Canadian Beauty” with nearly 1,800 members, another called “Photo Quebec” with 144 members and a group titled simply “Quebec” with 483 members. Wade into the discussion forums and photo galleries for these groups and look for user names that appear frequently. These are also potential influencers.
Of course, there are plenty of other photo sharing sites on the Web, including Snapfish, Shutterfly, Photobucket and Kodak Gallery. They all have different features and nuances, but they all do basically enable people to categorize and share their photos.
Video and Audio Connections
We’re not done yet. Go to YouTube, the premier video-sharing site, and type Quebec resort into the search box. You’ll get 29 results. Looking at the user names, you note that “zenwaiter” has posted several videos. Click through to his profile and you read, “In the winter I travel all over Quebec…and I shoot video clips.” He even has a link to his website, zenwaiter.com.
Remembering our earlier search techniques, we look up that URL on Technorati and find 131 posts linking to it. Some of these bloggers might be good targets for you. The activity certainly indicates that zenwaiter is a promising influencer.
While we’re looking at multimedia, let’s check out whether there are any good podcasts in this area. Podcasts are Internet audio and video programs that you can download and play on computers or portable media players.
The Who’s Who of podcasting is Apple’s iTunes. Searching on Canada travel podcast, we come up with 150 results, which iTunes lets you sort by popularity. The service will also tell you which programs are explicit or clean, which is something you want to know.
The trick with podcasts is to identify programs that are still active. Many series go dormant after just a few episodes but they aren’t removed from the iTunes directory. The only way to tell, unfortunately, is to click through to descriptions or websites and see when it was last updated.
Podcast Alley lists 200 results for the same query, but they’re in no particular order. You need to look for promising titles and click through to the details page, where Podcast Alley provides a nice summary of popularity and recent episodes.Beware: many podcasts are produced by businesses – even your competitors – and probably aren’t good targets for you. We do quickly find a couple of good candidates, though, including Travelrific and The Travel Advice Show. Most podcasts have accompanying websites, so it’s pretty easy to find contact information.
We’re almost through the process of identifying influencers. Next week, we’ll look at social networks and social bookmarking sites.