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6 Easy Steps to Choose the Right Ones

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6 Easy Steps to Choose the Right Ones

The success of your influencer marketing campaigns is tied to whom you collaborate with. And finding the right influencer is far from easy.

To help you, we’ve mapped out six steps you can follow to find the right influencers.

But before that, let’s understand whom you’d describe as the “right” one for your brand and why it’s so important. 

Why is finding the right influencer so important? 

Simply put, the right influencer is one whose followers are: 

  • Authentic. 
  • Relevant to your brand and consistently resonate with the content produced (including sponsored posts).

While it’s easy to get carried away with an influencer’s audience size, it’s important to analyze followers further to check whether they’re a right fit for your brand or not.

Failing to collaborate with the right influencer can end up burning money and hurting your brand’s reputation. Remember, today’s influencers are considered brand ambassadors. 

How to find the right influencers

Whether you’re looking for influencers for your very first campaign or have been through the process multiple times, it’s recommended that you don’t avoid any step. Below are six easy steps you can follow to find the right influencers. 

1. Define the campaign objective and goals

The objective behind your influencer marketing campaigns and the goals you want to achieve determine which influencers and channels you should go after. Hence, it’s important to define them before starting your research.

Today, brands run influencer marketing campaigns for new product launches, promoting a sale, brand-building, and more. The goals also vary—from getting more app installs, to website visits, to impressions, to lead generation.

For example, for promoting a Christmas sale, you’ll look for Instagram influencers who promote different products on their stories, hence driving instant traffic. Remember, these goals will also help you evaluate the performance of your marketing campaign after you run it.

2. Figure out your budget

The next step is to allocate a budget for your campaign. Your budget depends on various factors, including the:

  • Type of influencer (mega, micro, macro, etc.) you’re collaborating with.
  • Number of influencers.
  • Niche.
  • Platforms you’re targeting.
  • Etc.

While there’s no one way to figure out the budget, you can calculate potential conversions from your campaign and accordingly allocate the budget. But this solely depends on your goal. Sometimes, brands run influencer marketing campaigns solely for brand awareness; for this, calculating ROI can be difficult.

In some cases, brands run influencer marketing campaigns to get a better ROI (when compared to paid advertisements). So you can keep that as a benchmark when calculating the budget too. 

Type of influencers 

The easiest way to group influencers is on the basis of their audience size. Knowing the different groups will help you plan your strategy better. Here’s the breakdown:

Five types of influencers

3. Look for influencers

A. Look for people who’ve written about your topic

A quick way to find influencers is by creating a list of people who actively produce good content in your niche. Just a few searches on Google and YouTube can help you discover popular content pieces and their authors. 

However, a simpler way of finding authors is by using Ahrefs’ Content Explorer, a searchable database of ~11 billion pages. Here are steps you can follow:

1. Open the tool and search for your topic

2. Switch the search mode from “Everywhere” to “In title” for the most relevant results and then hit “search”

Switching mode in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

3. Click the “Authors” tab to see a list of top authors and the number of content pieces they authored

Authors tab in Ahrefs' Content Explorer

You can also export the list and further filter the list to find relevant influencers according to your criterion. For example, you can filter authors who have more than 10K Twitter followers. 

B. Search through popular platforms 

If you’re looking for influencers in a particular niche, there’s no better way than to go through the platform itself and search for relevant topics and hashtags. In addition, you can also try the below tools and strategies.

Social Blade (for YouTube)

Social Blade is a platform that tracks statistics and analytics for YouTube channels. You can easily use it to find the top YouTubers in your niche and across different regions. It also helps you narrow your search by searching your topic as a tag.

The lists of channels can be further sorted by Social Blade rank (its own influencer score), subscriber count, and video views. Social Blade’s paid tier starts at $40/per year.

List of channels and corresponding data on uploads, subs, etc., in Social Blade
Followerwonk (for Twitter)

Followerwonk is a lightweight search engine for Twitter accounts. Just drop a keyword into the search bar to find profiles matching your desired follower count, tweet frequency, account age, and “Social Authority,” which is Followerwonk’s own influencer clout score.

Followerwonk’s free tier covers 50 searches daily, which should be enough for most people. For unlimited results, upgrades go for $29–$79/month.

List of Twitter users with "CMO" in their bios found by Followerwonk
Search for sponsored hashtags (for Instagram)

One quick way to find Instagram influencers is by searching for sponsored hashtags of successful sponsored campaigns in your niche. Oftentimes, brands use a unique hashtag for all posts as part of a campaign. 

trendHERO (for Instagram)

If you’re looking for a platform that helps you find, analyze, and outreach Instagram followers, then you need to try trendHERO

List of Instagram accounts with corresponding data on account followers, engagement rate, etc., in trendHERO

Apart from the above features, there’s a fake follower and competitor analysis tool. trendHERO provides a 14-day free trial with the option to analyze one Instagram account (up to 10K followers) for free. Its paid plan starts from $10/month. 

Social Blade (for TikTok)
List of TikTok accounts with corresponding data on uploads, no. of followers, etc., in Social Blade

Apart from YouTube, Social Blade also allows you to search for specific TikTok accounts and analyze their audience growth. You can look at metrics like monthly gained followers, daily follower growth, and more. 

C. Leverage tools 

Apart from the above list of tools that help you discover influencers, there are a few tools that can help you manage your influencer campaigns end to end, right from analyzing followers to outreach. 

SparkToro 

It’s one of the best tools to find influencers in your niche. You can get started by just entering what your audience frequently talks about. For every search, it lists down popular social accounts, podcasts, and websites the audience follows.

Unlike other tools that rank influencers on the basis of followers, SparkToro provides you an estimation of the percentage of audience in a particular niche following a certain account. See what Rand Fishkin, co-founder and CEO of SparkToro, had to say about the same. 

Rand's post on LinkedIn explaining audience metrics

To further analyze, you can explore the social, websites, podcasts, and YouTube tabs on the left side. When searching for social media influencers, you can remove business accounts by setting the account type to individuals only. 

To help you further understand the engagement and relevance of the account, the tool gives a SparkScore to each influencer. 

LinkedIn 

If you’re looking for B2B influencers, you cannot go wrong with LinkedIn. It provides multiple parameters to filter your search. For example, you can filter the influencers on the basis of their industry, language, and more.

List of people found on LinkedIn

However, you may need an additional layer of filtering after exporting data from LinkedIn.

Heepsy

Heepsy is a platform that allows you to find, analyze, and organize Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Twitch influencers. It has a database of over 11 million influencers.

It’s one of the few tools in the market that can help analyze your audience and aid in outreach too. If you’re looking to scale up your influencer marketing, you should definitely explore Heepsy. 

Klear
Klear's homepage

Klear allows you to manage your influencer marketing campaigns under one roof. It not only helps you discover, analyze, and manage influencers but also communicate with and measure the impact of your influencer marketing campaigns.

4. Reverse competitor backlink research

Most influencers link back to a common URL when promoting the product/brand from their content. 

For example, Skillshare, which is a popular sponsor among YouTubers, has 3,000 backlinks to its sign-up page. Just by analyzing these backlinks, you can discover potential influencers.

You can easily accomplish this using Ahrefs’ Site Explorer. Here are the steps you can follow:

  1. Go to Site Explorer and enter the common URL on the search box with “Exact URL” selected 
  2. Click on “Backlinks” to look at all the backlinks
  3. You can choose additional filters like DR and type of backlink (nofollow or dofollow) to further narrow your search
Backlinks report results, via Ahrefs' Site Explorer

Most of the time, influencers link to the sign-up page or the homepage. You can also set up alerts on new backlinks using Ahrefs Alerts

5. Look for brand ambassadors proactively

A lot of the time, collaborating with brand ambassadors can have a larger impact than influencers. Unlike influencers who’ve never used your product/service before, brand ambassadors already understand the value of your product/service. Hence, they can go above and beyond when promoting it. 

While discovering brand ambassadors may not be hard, as they’ll eventually reach you through email or social media, we recommend finding them proactively through the following popular methods: 

1. Monitor social media for people who’ve given a shout-out to your product/service or sent you a message – To automate this process, you can leverage social media monitoring tools such as Mention.

2. Keep an eye out for reviews or mentions in the form of an article or a YouTube video – To automate the process, you can set up an alert for web mentions on Ahrefs. Just set up a new alert for mentions by adding relevant keywords and choosing how often you want to receive these updates.

Setting up a new alert in Ahrefs Alerts

3. Keep an eye on newsletter mentions in your niche – The most effective way to do this is to subscribe to all the popular newsletters. 

Generally, a good practice is to keep a record of your brand ambassadors so you can reach out to them when you plan to run a new campaign. 

6. Get recommendations from your audience 

Sometimes, finding influencers can be as easy as putting out a social media post or email to your subscribers and asking them which influencers you should partner with.

I know this sounds too good to be true, but Ahrefs did exactly that on Twitter and was overwhelmed with responses. 

Not only did it find influencers quickly, but its tweet also went viral and got hundreds of responses.

Remember, when writing the post, you need to provide enough information to your readers so that you only get relevant suggestions. For example, Ahrefs mentioned the following in the post: 

  • Budget
  • Type of influencers 
  • Channels

Also, remember to ask your readers to amplify your tweet to increase your reach. 

Vetting the influencers 

After building your influencer list, don’t start your outreach instantly. I recommend going through an extensive vetting process. This is because the last thing you want your campaigns to reach is fake followers. 

During the vetting process, you should look at metrics like: 

  • Engagement rate – This number denotes the level of engagement generated from a piece of content. You can calculate this at a post level or an account level. For example, the average engagement rate on Instagram is 0.98% (Sprout Social).
Formula for engagement rate
  • Engagement quality – This is the percentage of real/active followers among the total engaged followers. While finding this manually is difficult, multiple tools can help you find the engagement quality for a certain account. 
  • Growth rate – This shows the number of subscribers added by an influencer in a certain period of time. Social Blade, for example, shows the growth rate for an influencer both daily and monthly. 

A lot of the tools we’ve covered above can easily help you find the above metrics. However, you can also find these metrics manually by going through the profiles. Sometimes, just a glance is enough to differentiate an authentic influencer from a fake one.

Also, remember the niche also has an impact on the engagement rate and growth. Hence, compare influencers and their engagement rate/quality only within the same niche. 

Before reaching out to influencers, you should also look at the sponsorships they’ve done before and if your brand values align with theirs. If they don’t, you’re better off not collaborating with those influencers. 

In a digital world, everything you publish online is reflective of your brand. One small mistake is enough to create outrage and tarnish your brand. This holds true for whom you collaborate with too. Hence, it’s important to take enough time to analyze influencers before collaborating with them.

Final thoughts

If you want to run successful influencer marketing campaigns, you need to look beyond relevancy and follower count.

Even when you have the budget to collaborate with a mega influencer, you can get a better result by collaborating with multiple micro influencers.

Hope our guide helps you find the right influencers and that it answered a few questions you had before reading this article.

Got more questions? Ping me on Twitter.



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LinkedIn’s New Feature Can Help You Find Must-Read Newsletters

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LinkedIn's New Feature Can Help You Find Must-Read Newsletters

LinkedIn is rolling out a new feature that allows users to see which newsletters other users are subscribed to.

Starting February 11, when someone visits your profile, they’ll be able to see all of your LinkedIn newsletter subscriptions.

In a message sent to users, LinkedIn says it’s making this change to help people discover new content and stay up-to-date with industry trends.

This change of making all newsletter subscriptions public on LinkedIn is mandatory, and users cannot opt out of it, even if they prefer to keep their subscriptions private.

The only option to prevent a newsletter subscription from being publicly visible on LinkedIn is to unsubscribe.

Per a screenshot shared on Twitter by Matt Navarra, LinkedIn’s message regarding newsletter subscriptions reads:

“We’ve heard from members like vou that newsletters on Linkedin are a great way to gather new insights and ideas on professional topics they care about. We’ve also heard that members are looking for better ways to discover even more
newsletters that would be relevant to them.

To aid in this discovery, we are making newsletter subscriptions visible to others, including on profiles. Starting February 11, 2023, you’ll be able to see which newsletters members find value in, the same way you can see your shared interests, pages, and groups. With this improved visibility, there will be new opportunities for members to get inspired, collaborate, and gain knowledge to advance their careers.

This change will apply to any of your current and future subscriptions, unless you unsubscribe. If you’d rather opt-out of showing other members your newsletter subscriptions, you can review your full list of newsletters by visiting the My Network page at the bottom of this email. Simply unsubscribe from the newsletters you do not want to be made public.”

Seeing which newsletters your peers are subscribed to can be an excellent way to get a sense of the most relevant content in your field.

For job seekers, keeping up with popular newsletters can help them stay up-to-date on industry trends and job opportunities.

For businesses and content creators, being aware of the newsletters well-liked by a specific group of people can assist in developing new marketing plans to target them.

LinkedIn’s new feature of allowing users to see which newsletters other users are subscribed to is a welcome addition to the platform. It will enable users to discover new content and can help boost subscriptions for newsletter publishers.


Featured Image: Inspiring/Shutterstock



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Top 5 Essential SEO Reporting Tools For Agencies

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Top 5 Essential SEO Reporting Tools For Agencies

Your clients trust you to create real results and hit KPIs that drive their businesses forward.

Understanding the intricacies of how that works can be difficult, so it’s essential to demonstrate your progress and efforts.

SEO reporting software showcases important metrics in a digestible and visually represented way. They save guesswork and manual referencing, highlighting achievements over a specified time.

A great tool can also help you formulate action items, gauge the performance of campaigns, and see real results that can help you create new and innovative evaluations.

The latest and allegedly greatest tools hit the market all the time, promising to transform how you conduct reports.

Certainly, you have to weigh a few factors when deciding which software to implement. Price, features, and ease of use are the most important to consider.

A cost-effective tool with a steep learning curve might not be worth it for the features. Similarly, an expensive tool might be more appealing if it is user-friendly but could quickly run up costs.

Just like any transformational business decision, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons carefully to determine the right one for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Cost, accessibility, and features are the common thread of comparison for SEO reporting tools.
  • To truly get the best use out of an SEO reporting tool for your agency, you’ll need to weigh several details, including scalability, customization, integrations, and access to support.
  • What might be considered a subpar tool could be a game-changer for an agency. Due diligence and research are the keys to knowing what will work for your team.

What To Look For In SEO Reporting Tools

It can be tough to make heads or tails of the available tools and choose which will benefit your agency the most.

Here are the 10 essential requirements of SEO reporting tools.

1. Accurate And Current Regional Data

SEO reporting is all about data. The software must have access to accurate and current data localized to your client’s targeted region.

Search data from the U.S. is meaningless if your client tries to rank for [London plumbing services], so localization matters.

The tool must update data regularly and with reliable accuracy so you can make informed decisions about where your client stands against the competition.

2. Integration With Third-Party Tools

Especially for full-scale digital marketing campaigns, the ability to report on all KPIs in one place is essential.

The more available integrations with third-party tools (e.g., Google Analytics, Google Business Profile, Majestic), the better.

Some tools even allow you to upload custom data sets.

3. Scalability

You don’t want to have to retrain or reinvest in new software every time your agency reaches a new tier.

The right SEO reporting tool should work well for your current business size and leave room for expansion as you onboard more clients.

4. Strong Suite Of Features

A great SEO reporting tool should include:

  • Position tracking.
  • Backlink monitoring.
  • Competitor data.
  • Analytics.

It is a bonus if the tool has reporting features for social media, email marketing, call tracking, and/or paid ads to make it a full-suite digital marketing software.

5. Continually Improving And Updating Features

SEO is constantly evolving, and so should SEO reporting tools.

As we continue the transition from website optimization to web presence optimization, a tool’s ability to integrate new features is essential.

6. Ability To Customize Reports

Each client will have different KPIs, objectives, and priorities.

Presenting the information that clients want to see is paramount to successful campaigns and retention.

Your reporting software of choice should be able to emphasize the correct data at the right times.

7. Client Integration

A good SEO reporting tool must have the client in mind.

It should have a simple bird’s eye overview of the basics but also be easy for clients to dig into the data at a deeper level.

This can mean automated summary reports or 24/7 client access to the dashboard.

8. Ability To White Label Reports

While white labeling is not essential (no client will sniff at receiving a report with a Google logo in the top corner), it helps keep branding consistent and gives a professional sheen to everything you send a client’s way.

9. Access To Support Resources

Quality support resources can help you find a detour when you encounter a roadblock.

Whether it’s detailed support documentation, a chat feature/support desk, or responsive customer support on social media, finding the help you need to solve the issue is important.

10. Cost-To-Value Ratio

With a proper process, time investment, and leveraging support resources, it is possible to get better results from a free reporting tool than one that breaks the bank.

This can mean automated summary reports or 24/7 client access to the dashboard.

Top 5 SEO Reporting Tools

In evaluating five of the most popular SEO reporting tools, based on the above criteria, here is how they stack up:

1. AgencyAnalytics

My Overall Rating: 4.7/5

Image credit: AgencyAnalytics, December 2022

AgencyAnalytics is a quality introductory/intermediate reporting tool for agencies.

Among the tools on this list, it is one of the easiest to use for small to mid-sized agencies.

It starts at $12 per month, per client, with unlimited staff and client logins, a white-label dashboard, and automated branded reports. The minimum purchase requirements mean the first two tiers work out to $60 per month and $180 per month, respectively. But your ability to change the payment based on the number of clients could help keep costs lean.

AgencyAnalytics comes with 70+ supported third-party data integrations.

However, this reliance on third-party data means you may have incomplete reports when there is an interruption in the transmission.

Though new integrations are always being added, they can be glitchy at first, making them unreliable to share with clients until stabilized.

With the ability for clients to log in and view daily data updates, it provides real-time transparency.

Automated reports can be customized, and the drag-and-drop customized dashboard makes it easy to emphasize priority KPIs.

2. SE Ranking

My Overall Rating: 4.5/5

SE Ranking has plans starting at $39.20 per month, although the $87.20 per month plan is necessary if you need historical data or more than 10 projects.

Setup is a breeze, as the on-screen tutorial guides you through the process.

SE Ranking features a strong collection of SEO-related tools, including current and historical position tracking, competitor SEO research, keyword suggestion, a backlink explorer, and more.

SE Ranking is hooked up with Zapier, which allows users to integrate thousands of apps and provide a high level of automation between apps like Klipfolio, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Google Apps.

SE Ranking is an effective SEO reporting tool at a beginner to intermediate level.

However, you may want to look in a different direction if your agency requires more technical implementations or advanced customization.

3. Semrush

My Overall Rating: 4.4/5

Semrush is one of the most SEO-focused reporting tools on the list, which is reflected in its features.

Starting at $229.95 per month for the agency package, it’s one of the more expensive tools on the list. But Semrush provides a full suite of tools that can be learned at an intermediate level.

A major downside of Semrush, especially for cost-conscious agencies, is that an account comes with only one user login.

Having to purchase individual licenses for each SEO analyst or account manager adds up quickly, and the users you can add are limited by the plan features. This makes scalability an issue.

Semrush has both branded and white-label reports, depending on your subscription level. It uses a proprietary data stream, tracking more than 800 million keywords.

The ever-expanding “projects” feature covers everything from position tracking to backlink monitoring and social media analysis.

Though it doesn’t fall specifically under the scope of SEO reporting, Semrush’s innovation makes it a one-stop shop for many agencies.

Project features include Ad Builder, which helps craft compelling ad text for Google Ads, and Social Media Poster, which allows agencies to schedule client social posts.

Combining such diverse features under the Semrush umbrella offsets its relatively high cost, especially if you can cancel other redundant software.

4. Looker Studio

My Overall Rating: 3.6/5

Looker StudioScreenshot from Looker Studio, December 2022

Formerly known as Google Data Studio, Looker Studio is a Google service that has grown considerably since its initial launch.

Though it is much more technical and requires more time investment to set up than most other tools on this list, it should be intuitive for staff familiar with Google Analytics.

If you’re on the fence, Looker Studio is completely free.

A major upside to this software is superior integration with other Google properties like Analytics, Search Console, Ads, and YouTube.

Like other reporting tools, it also allows third-party data integration, but the ability to query data from databases, including MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Google’s Cloud SQL, sets it apart.

You can customize reports with important KPIs with proper setup, pulling from lead and customer information. For eCommerce clients, you can even integrate sales data.

Though the initial setup will be much more technical, the ability to import templates saves time and effort.

You can also create your own templates that better reflect your processes and can be shared across clients. Google also has introductory video walk-throughs to help you get started.

5. Authority Labs

My Overall Rating: 3.2/5

Authority Labs Ranking ReportImage credit: Authority Labs, December 2022

Authority Labs does the job if you’re looking for a straightforward position-tracking tool.

Authority Labs is $49 per month for unlimited users, though you will need to upgrade to the $99 per month plan for white-label reporting.

You can track regional ranking data, get insights into “(not provided)” keywords, track competitor keywords, and schedule automated reporting.

However, lacking other essential features like backlink monitoring or analytic data means you will have to supplement this tool to provide a full SEO reporting picture for clients.

Conclusion

There are many quality SEO reporting tools on the market. What makes them valuable depends on their ability to work for your clients’ needs.

SE Ranking has a fantastic cost-to-value ratio, while Looker Studio has advanced reporting capabilities if you can withstand a higher barrier to entry.

Agency Analytics prioritizes client access, which is a big deal if transparency is a core value for your agency.

Authority Labs keeps it lean and clean, while Semrush always adds innovative features.

These five are simply a snapshot of what is available. There are new and emerging tools that might have some features more appealing to your current clients or fill gaps that other software creates despite being a great solution.

Ultimately, you need to consider what matters most to your agency. Is it:

  • Feature depth?
  • Scalability?
  • Cost-to-value ratio?

Once you weigh the factors that matter most for your agency, you can find the right SEO reporting tool. In the meantime, don’t shy away from testing out a few for a trial period.

If you don’t want to sign up for a full month’s usage, you can also explore walkthrough videos and reviews from current users. The most informed decision requires an understanding of the intricate details.


Featured Image: Paulo Bobita/Search Engine Journal



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TikTok Staff Can Decide What Goes Viral

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TikTok Staff Can Decide What Goes Viral

TikTok has confirmed employees can manually promote certain videos across the platform to ensure a specific number of video views. 

First reported by Forbes, TikTok has since confirmed some of its employees can boost videos to “introduce celebrities and emerging creators of the TikTok community.”

This is achieved via a so-called “heating” button, which bypasses the algorithm intended to drive the TikTok experience.

Back-end Manipulation Can Encourage Virality

According to the Forbes investigation, six current and former employees of TikTok and its Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance, employees within the United States, can artificially expand the reach of specific videos.

In a “MINT Heating Playbook, “ an internal document acquired by Forbes, ByteDance stated, “The heating feature refers to boosting videos into the For You feed through operation intervention to achieve a certain number of video views.”

This contradicts how TikTok has previously claimed its recommendation feed works by using an algorithm to curate a personalized feed for each user’s interests. 

Heating Allegedly Used To Encourage Partnerships

According to Forbes’ sources, this process builds business relationships and attracts influencers and brands.

“We promote some videos to help diversify the content experience and introduce celebrities and emerging creators to the TikTok community,” TikTok spokesperson Jamie Favazza told Forbes. “Only a few people, based in the U.S., have the ability to approve content for promotion in the U.S., and that content makes up approximately .002% of videos in For You feeds.”

However, according to the MINT document, heated videos make up around 1-2% of daily video views. 

View Manipulation Is A Fairly Common Practice 

According to Brent Csutoras, digital marketing expert and co-founder and managing partner at Alpha Brand Media, Search Engine Journal’s parent corporation, this type of behind-the-scenes manipulation is more common than platforms let on – and it has often resulted in misuse.

“Although it is not uncommon for social media platforms to utilize staff actions, give certain ‘power users’ the ability to have more influence, or even force content integration into your feeds (whether by ads, forced follows, or algorithmic factors), TikTok has long been a company who seems to ignore the impact these decisions have on their users trust, especially when conducted behind closed doors and without explanation,” Csutoras said.

“In each scenario where an individual or group of individuals can take action that impacts the visibility of content on a platform, whether it be social media or search engines, we have seen strong user pushback and abuse.”


Featured Image: Roman Samborskyi/Shutterstock



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