This article is based on Zignal’s new “Influencer Identification” eBook. If you would like to learn more about how a data-driven approach can help identify the influencers that matter to your brand, click here to download the eBook today.

Brand and cause-based influencers are now more powerful than ever. Over the past several years, individuals have exerted an increased level of control over well-known brands, controversial public causes and corporate reputations. With the ubiquity of social media platforms and the mobile-connected consumer, a single individual now has the power to reach millions of people and impact a brand or issue. With nothing more than a smartphone or laptop, virtually anyone can elevate themselves and wield the same booming megaphone once reserved for well-known personalities, politicians or prime-time network news anchors.

However, the sheer number of influencers that now exist across the social media landscape make finding the relevant individuals who can potentially impact a brand or a cause an almost impossible task. According to an eConsultancy study, 73% of marketers said their biggest challenge was identifying the influencers that matter.

Communications, public affairs, and digital marketing teams constantly need to know the most influential individuals, experts and advocates in their space. In the same way, PR and communications teams will leverage influencer marketing to capitalize on good press or change the conversation at an early stage when a negative conversation arises.

Influencers also play a significant role driving brand reputation, so any mention from a notable persona needs to be quickly flagged for follow up and engagement. Influencers such as celebrities, activists, legislators, interest groups or NGOs also have the power to advance (or derail) a cause or issue.

How can the activity of these influencers play a role in the day to day functions of communications, public affairs and digital marketing professionals?

Crisis Planning and Risk Mitigation

A tweet from a prominent influencer can be the precursor or catalyst for a potential crisis. These individuals can reach an active audience and spread potent messages regarding your brand within seconds. As part of crisis planning, organizations should determine which influencers should generate an alert whenever a key word, phrase or co-occurrence mention occurs.

Legislation or Cause-based Issues

When trying to pass important legislation or advance a cause, many influential stakeholders are involved. As a result, cause-based proponents or opponents will want to glean clues into any public comments or media mentions by influential stakeholders who could potentially derail a cause or any legislation.

Mergers and Acquisitions

Similar to legislative initiatives, M&A transactions also incorporate an extensive cast of outside influencers. Often deals are killed by leaks or pushback from NGOs or other influential personas. As part of any M&A plan, teams should segment and monitor the right influencers and stakeholders to ensure there are no road bumps in the process.

Campaigns and Promotions

Over 70% of consumers consult social media before making buying decisions. In fact, social media has a tremendous influence on consumer-facing brands – especially among millennials. Brands need to identify and segment those influencers – including smaller influencers who have a localized but loyal following.


Influencers can impact many facets of a company’s brand and reputation. The burden falls upon the communications and marketing departments to identify, segment and monitor the right influencers and experts — and disregarding the noise. With this understanding, brands and organizations can effectively steer the right share of voice, coverage and sentiment from their targeted influencer base.
If you would like to find out how to identify the influencers that matter to your brand, download our eBook.