Make Social Media Work For Your Fitness Business - The Super Influencers

Ben Straley had a great article in mashables the other day titled How to activate your brands “Super Influencers”. Fitness industry participants who are starting to leverage social media marketing need to pay close attention to this concept.

Ben's comments are based on a very important notion: the 1% rule : just 1% of businesses social media followers are responsible for the majority of sharing. They share social media campaigns with their larger social network, passing on links to your contests, promotions, deals, and other marketing campaigns. These important influencers are more than just fans — they’re brand ambassadors. Fitness businesses need to identify who these people are, particularly members, and act accordingly to insure their social media efforts have greater impact for the reasons set out below.

Businesses that track and quantify word-of-mouth impact know that these important influencers drive from 20% to as many as 70% of all visits to campaign pages, beating most other advertising as the most efficient driver of traffic to their sites. That’s critical, considering social campaigns require no media buys and cost next to nothing to implement. The “Super influencers” drive an even higher share of conversion — on average influencing 30% or more of all conversions on marketers’ sites just by recommending a brand’s products, content, or promotions to their online communities.

When you understand this dynamic, you realize quickly that these super influencers are really important. If you can reach out to this 1% directly by offering them special promotions, thanking them for their influence, and rewarding them for loyalty, they will be motivated to share early and share often.

Identifying these people is fairly straightforward. As Ben points out, there are many social media measurement tools that enable folks to find the people who are talking most about their brand, see what type of content they’re sharing and with whom, and how they are sharing it (e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, and their own blogs). Once you find these influencers, the trick is activating them to share even more.

What are your experiences with social media in the fitness industry ? Contact me, Bryan O'Rourke, and share your stories about social media in fitness. I've included three tips Ben suggested you use to help you activate your top influencers. For the complete article visit here. Thanks again Ben for some great content.

1. Reserve Your Best Content for Influencers Only

Influencers love to be an inside source of information for their friends and followers by sharing contests, information, or deals with their social networks before other people have heard about them. Create exclusive content you share only with your key influencers, and let them know they were one of a select few to receive this special offer. This makes your brand advocates feel appreciated and provides them with exclusive information they can use to boost their reputation as a source of inside deals.

One of my company’s clients decided to engage its most ardent fans when planning a large industry event. The company reached out to these key influencers, inviting them to post a “register now” button on their blogs and websites, and offering them lower-cost VIP passes if they shared the event with friends. The result was a huge uptick in sharing that significantly influenced registrations for the event. People who found out about the conference from an influencer were 37% more likely to register than direct visitors, and influencers ended up driving more than $1 million in total registrations.

2. Mine the Blogs and Forums

When you’re looking for super influencers, chances are you’ve already determined who shares the most on Facebook and Twitter. But, in many cases, the people who really influence traffic and conversion on your site are the bloggers. One of our clients launched a social media contest and found that one blogger alone shared the contest with thousands of people and directly drove 42% of all traffic to the contest page.
To find and activate the people who are truly passionate about your products, services, or sector, you’ve got to carefully monitor the blogosphere, message boards, and forums. Once you’ve used analytics tools to find exactly which individuals are driving the most traffic to your campaign sites, you need to reach out to these people individually. Treat them like the real VIPs they are. Let them know you appreciate their loyalty and interest in your products. We’ve found influencers appreciate your attention and kind words even more than exclusive promotions.

3. Differentiate the Influencers from the Super Influencers

Your top fans are so valuable they are worth the extra effort of some special attention. But, not all influencers are alike. When you plot the influence of individuals, you’ll see a curve that looks a lot like the long tail distribution of search terms. Influence follows a “power law,” where a relatively small number of individuals influence the lion’s share of referrals. Those at the peak of this curve are the super influencers, and those in the tail are regular influencers.  Super influencers have large, loyal followings and audiences who trust their insights. The latter are people who pass along info to friends and family from time to time via e-mail and Facebook.

Understanding these differences is key to crafting your influencer activation strategy. You need to interact with super influencers on a one-to-one basis, but you could target the rest of your influencers a bit more broadly. For example, you will want to reach out directly to all your influencers by commenting on their blogs and syndicating their content via Twitter, Facebook, and your own blog. Thank them for their loyalty, and generally praise them. But, make sure to go the extra mile with your super influencers. Offer super influencers the opportunity to obtain and review your products before they hit the market, for example. Offer them after-hours shopping at your stores, a few free hours of your services, or invite them to a special VIP party. Be creative, and have fun. Remember, your super influencers, when treated right, can drive a huge percentage of your site’s overall traffic. Isn’t that worth throwing a party?

The Takeaway

Just identifying your key influencers is not enough in today’s market. Instead, you’ve got to find them and then motivate them to share. Over the long term, your goal as a marketer is to increase the size of your influencer base. By finding and engaging in a direct dialogue with your super influencers, you’ll get a clear idea of what motivates these brand ambassadors to share. Then, armed with that knowledge, you can begin reaching out to your influencers — and even your fans who never share — to offer the right kind of content and rewards to turn more “followers” into “sharers.”