The Limitations of Social Listening For Influencer Marketing

Feb 17, 2022 | Audience Intelligence, Influencer Identification & Attribution

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, nearly half of all consumers rely on influencers for recommendations. Given that statistic, it should be no surprise that the influencer marketing industry is rapidly expanding and set to eclipse $13 billion in revenue this year.

The short? Influencer marketing is here to stay and needs to be part of your 2022 marketing strategy.

The long? The way most marketers go about sourcing their influencers—using social listening and follower count—can be limiting.

So how should marketers go about identifying the best influencers for their campaigns? Let’s explore.

Social Listening vs. Social Audience Insights

Many marketers think social listening gives them insights about their target audience. They don’t; however, social listening does give you a high-level overview of what’s trending in the social stratosphere as well as the influencers fueling those conversations. Most marketers use this methodology to identify key influencer partners based on the content they post and promote. The shortcoming? Just because an influencer posts about a topic does not mean their audience cares about it.

As an example, let’s say your company sells workout bikes. You might identify influencers that have both a large following and frequently post about the content relevant to your brand—in this case, fitness and dieting. But the reality is, just because the influencer likes to post about fitness and dieting does not mean their followers are interested in or in the market for a new, expensive workout bike.

To select the right influencer, you need to truly know your audience and draw actionable data from their social behaviors and online relationships—their interests, brand affinities, preferred media, and more. You can gather this type of information using a social audience insights solution and work backwards to then identify the influencers (large and small) that your audience is engaging with.

Let’s go back to the above example highlighting workout bikes. When using a social audience insights solution, the brand can identify specific audiences that not only like health and fitness, but even those individuals with an affinity for biking or maybe following a competitor’s brand. It is then possible to identify the influencers that those audiences already engage with on a regular basis.

We explored the topic of social listening versus social audience insights in a recent blog post. So if you’re interested in digging in more, please do! Understanding this key difference will change the way you search for and identify influencers for your campaigns and make them stronger.

Social Listening + Social Audience Insights = High Impact Influencer Campaigns

It’s important to note that we do think social listening is an important part of your influencer marketing strategy. But too many marketers rely only on social listening alone. If you’ve been relying solely on social listening, you’re missing out on key information needed to identify influencers who resonate most with your target audience.

Here are 3 ways social audience insights compliment social listening for influencer marketing:

  • Validate the buzz: As we mentioned above, just because something’s trending doesn’t mean your target audience cares about it. Social audience insights allow you to dive much deeper by identifying individuals behind the conversation so that you can validate if this topic is something your audience is actively engaged with or not.
  • Monitor audience-specific trends: Using a social audience insights platform, you can create your ideal audience and then push it to your social listening tool to monitor what’s piquing their interest over time.
  • Audience-first influencer identification: A social audience insights platform allows you to easily identify and/or validate the influencers your audience is engaged with so you know it’s a worthwhile investment.

Final Thoughts

Sifting through an endless sea of influencers is a daunting task. Even with an influencer management tool it’s hard to know which influencer to choose. Adding a social audience insight platform to your influencer marketing tech stack alleviates this problem by giving you a holistic view of your audience and the influencers they trust most.

Our Silhouette platform integrates seamlessly with your influencer marketing tools so that you can completely transform your campaigns by taking an audience-first approach.

Let’s elevate your influencer marketing campaigns together.


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