Improving Influencer Identification, Part 3: Influence Archetypes

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Improving Influencer Identification, Part 3- Influence Archetypes.png

How hot is influencer marketing?

influencer marketing trends.png

Influencer marketing is now more searched for, via Google Trends data shown above in blue, than email marketing or social media marketing as a whole. Influencer marketing is the latest, the greatest, the hot thing that every marketer has been mandated to master. In this series, we’ll delve into three models of influence, and show how each model aligns to our budgets and timeframes.

Part 3: Archetypes of Influence: Explorers, Advocates, and Broadcasters

Now that we understand what influence is, and have identified the behaviors we want to elicit from our audience with the assistance of influential people, let’s look at three archetypes of influence. These archetypes are categorizations, types of people identified by behavior and data. They are not strict models to adhere to ruthlessly.

Our three models are explorers, advocates, and broadcasters:

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Let’s look at each.


Explorers are the cool finders, the trend setters, the people everyone looks to as the model for what’s to come. These people march to the beat of their own drum in such a way that everyone else starts with them. These are the EF Huttons of the world:

When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen. vintage tv commercial

When EF Hutton talks, people listen. This is the explorer archetype. In our model of influence, we identify people like this by citations; they may not say very much, but everyone else talks about them. These are the most highly cited people, the most name-checked people, even if they barely mention anyone else.


Advocates are the idea champions, the networkers, the connectors to cool. These people are the mayors, the people that everyone in the room knows and wants to speak with for a few minutes. They’re not overly loud, but they help broker conversations and connections.

You know you’re talking to an advocate when you’re sharing an idea or concept and they say, after listening, “Oh, do you know Sally? She’s really interested in this” and within moments, you find yourself shaking hands with Sally.

We identify advocates by an equal amount of connections to others and connecting to others. We see them cited, but we see them citing others in equal proportion.


Broadcasters are the loud, the boisterous, the name droppers, the megaphones. They have large audiences, and they’re constantly talking, sharing, and engaging. They don’t care who they talk to – they’re happy to talk with anyone.

These are the people most marketers traditionally think of when they think of influencers. When we use the average influencer marketing software package, these are the people the software identifies: large numbers of followers and high engagement.

We identify broadcasters by those giant numbers, by the high number of outgoing connections compared to incoming.

Identifying in Data

As we discussed in part 2, using new technologies like graphing databases enables us to find all three kinds of influencers. Depending on the goals we have, we will want to work with different types. If we want to position our brand for authority, we might want to work with explorers. If we want to develop deep, meaningful connections for business development, we might want to work with advocates. If we want broad awareness, we might want to work with broadcasters.

Let’s put this concept to work. While social media data is the most common application, influencer identification works with any form of data in which we see citations, from website links to academic papers to Instagram. Below I’ll use the conversations surrounding Social Media Marketing World.

Here are a few of the Explorers:


Here are the Advocates:


Here are the Broadcasters:


Depending on what behaviors you want, and who you want to reach, you’d choose the appropriate influencer type. The interesting twist, compared to existing influencer analytics tools, is that very often, marketers want Explorers, but the tools give them Broadcasters. This explains, in part, why influencer identification has been such a quagmire until now. With better technology and a better model, we can identify and work with influencers appropriate to our marketing goals.

Working With These Archetypes

In the next post in this series, we’ll explore the relationships with these influencers and how to budget time and resources for working with them.

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