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My online influencer research and engagement process

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gerris corp logoGerris Corp, the latest iteration of my career, is a hybrid of personal billable hours and a collaboration with partners, professionals, and a global, decentralized staff. At least, right now, it’s a one man band. Today, I’ll share the how I go about researching, collecting, discovering, and populating my online influencer lists.  A few of my offerings include online influencer outreach, long-tail blogger outreach, and social media marketing so a major part of my services include sifting through the entire Internet (The Internet is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to the Internet) to come up with a hyper-targeted list of online influencers with whom to engage during the online influencer outreach, long-tail blogger outreach, and social media marketing campaigns I run for my clients. [Edit: I just read what I wrote below and I think that this article might be insider baseball. If you want to know more in advance, watch this: long tail blogger outreach and influencer outreach.]

Bringing SDL SM2, Inkybee, and Google Search into GroupHigh

SDL-SM2-Logo-300x110SDL SM2Inkybee, Google Search, and especially GroupHigh serve very particular purposes to me. I am a long-tail blogger guy, which means I don’t limit my outreaches to a quick one-hundred social media influencers but across thousands.  So, maybe none of the below tools were made for me, do I hack/roll my own.

To me, SM2 has the best bulk research tool because it’s a social media metric and analytics tool. While it isn’t meant to be a blogger discovery tool, it’s one of the most interesting because it’s just looking for keyword mention and not labels. So, it’ll dig as deeply and broadly as possible. I upload big batches of keywords and then take the results and chop off the fat and then take the resulting URLs and upload them to GroupHigh, where their powerful app takes those blog URLs a thousand at a time and populates each one with all of its related social media metrics.

inkybee logoWhen I want to be more blog and blogger specific, Inkybee definitely has the best blog research tool — and by best, I mean least tedious. Unlike GroupHigh that makes one painfully click on little stars in order to select blogs for campaign lists, Inkybee allows me to pop in keyword terms and then go to sleep. The next day, I go in and collect big nets of blogs that I can later slice and dice using a much more efficient tool: Excel or Google Apps Sheets. Dicking around with a browser and database and Internet refresh lag is something I really try to avoid, and I really hate scrolling and clicking, one by one, in order to jump through an app-defined tool.

One thing I wish Inkybee had was a much better outreach and engagement tool, where GroupHigh thrives, and also the ability to take a bunch of social media URLs and find the associated blogs (Inkybee can’t do that but GroupHigh can) and integration with my email, something GroupHigh is the best at.

GroupHigh is truly a social media CRM and it works even better than if you were going to try to hack it using SugarCRM or even Salesforce.  So, to me, Inkybee is the best research tool. The only real reason why I use SM2 at all is because neither GroupHigh nor Inkybee supports bulk upload of search terms, only the bulk upload of URLs.  That’s a real blindspot for them both.

grouphigh logoSo, my process is: set up SDL SM2, add all the keywords I have collected through going down a Wikipedia rabbit hole, let it go to parse, search, and churn.  Then, I take those keywords and laboriously hand-add these same keywords into InkyBee, making sure I distribute them across lots of lists (otherwise, the app breaks since it only had a limit of 1,000 blogs per list, a ceiling they never mention on the site but do if you email).  If you break that ceiling, though, and you complain enough, maybe they’ll be able to crowbar it out for you — once (that just happened to me — I’m more careful now).

Finally, I go over to Google and do simple searches like “top government intelligence blogs” or “top mommy blogs” or “top government twitter profiles” and stuff like that. Whenever I find a page, I go to source, scrape the blogs and Twitter profiles using some mad Regex, and then I take those 50-record text lists and put them right with my SM2 and Inkybee lists and then upload all the URLs (blog, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Google+, etc) into GroupHigh’s Import URLs tool, which does limit you to 1,000 at a time but if I show line numbers in my TextPad, I can break my 4,000 record lists into 973-records each.

google searchThen, GroupHigh churns and scrapes and connects and searches and tries to find the blog associated with the YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram URLs I upload and the YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram associated with the blog URL I upload (Inkybee just can’t do this, it only accepts blog URLs and just chokes when I try to find a blog using other social media venues, though it will try to find all the blogs associated with all the followers I have on Twitter, so I know that tool exists, it’s just not packaged in the way I want or need it).

When all is said and done, I prune, prune, prune, prune, prune. I chop out all the mainstream media venues if they’re not germane to the campaign. I remove any zombie blogs, spam blogs, abandoned blogs, and any outliers with too few or no social media moxy or way too much, depending on the sexiness or generosity of the client’s offer or product.

YAMM Yet Another Mail Merge from Romain VialardMany clients want to dig through the list before we release the hounds (which is important especially if you don’t know the particular blogosphere or industry as well as your client does and might not be able to protect them as well as they might be able to protect themselves — even more essential when your client is controversial or political).

Then, depending on what the campaign requires, I’ll run the entire campaign from the GroupHigh dashboard by going through the hundreds or thousands of online influencers by hand, reaching out to them by message-modeled emails, tweets, LinkedIn InMails, or Facebook Messages; or, if it’s a long tail blogger outreach email campaign, I’ll probably use a combination of Google Apps for Business Webmail and Yet Another Mail Merge from Romain Vialard (great app and great guy, by the way — go for the paid version, for certain).

Got it? Go git ’em, Tiger

go git 'em tiger


Chris Abraham

Chris Abraham, digital strategist and technologist, is a leading expert in digital: search engine optimization (SEO), online relationship management (ORM), Internet privacy, Wikipedia curationsocial media strategy, and online public relations with a focus on blogger outreachinfluencer engagement, and Internet crisis response, with the digital PR and social media marketing agency Gerris digital. [Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call with me] A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and adviser to the industries' leading firms. Chris Abraham specializes in web technologies, including content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.  Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr, and top-10 social media influencers by Marketwire; and, for what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 79 the last time he looked. Chris Abraham started doing web development back in 1994, SEO in 1998, blogging in 1999, influencer engagement in 2003, social media strategy in 2005, blogger outreach in 2006, and Wikipedia curation in 2007. Feel free to self-schedule a 15-minute call, a 30-minute call, or a 60-minute call. If you want to know the services that Chris offers check out Services If you want to work with Chris use the Contact Form You're welcome to follow me via Social Media You can learn more about Chris over in About Chris writes a lot so check out the Blog Chris offers webinars so check Events

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