Connecting With Influencers
Having just one relationship with an online influencer in your market can have a huge impact on your business. These influencers often have energetic personalities that command respect from other players in their niche.
You should be seeking out relationships with these influencers since they help shape consumer decision by promoting products and ideas across multiple channels. The good news is they are usually fairly accessible.
How do you begin establishing meaningful connections especially if you are an unknown or very small business? Begin by focusing on doing something for them before you ask them to do something for you.
Here are twenty relatively easy ways you can connect with the influencers in your industry who can hopefully help you get your business to the next level.
Begin by building a relationship:
1. Focus on giving something to them first. It’s a good rule to give more than you take when connecting with influencers. Determine what you can offer that will be of value to them.
Don’t just say “hello,” especially on social media. Instead offer to interview them for your blog or a special report. Successful people enjoy telling others about their story. You will benefit from this as well as them. You will most likely take away at least one or two tips in your chosen field. The influencer can benefit by getting additional exposure and access to potential new business partners.
Can you offer them a speaking gig or can you introduce them to your own network influencers if you are involved in some sort of trade or professional organization.
2. Do your research. Once you find an influencer you are interested in connecting with, research their past speeches, any writing they have done, their interests and pet projects. This can all be done with a simple online search. This way you can find common areas where you can connect with them.
3. Build trust but don’t pitch. Don’t pitch anything to them when you first connect. Instead show a steady flow of interest in what they are saying. For example:
- Join their tribe on all their social networks.
- Engage them on social media by commenting and interacting. Just don’t turn into a stalker.
- Comment on their blog posts occasionally. Make sure it has substance and is relevant.
- Share their content with your own networks.
This might seem like a lot of time and effort but the return can be huge. Once you pitch your awesome product or service, you have already established a relationship. You have a better chance of getting their interest.
5. Become their affiliate. Take the time to market their product or service with good content. In the end, they will thank you and remember you.
6. Ask to reciprocate if someone has helped you in some way. It’s possible they may be dealing with a challenge you can help fix. Asking is a form of relationship building, by showing the influencer you care and are interested in giving back.
7. Write a blog post about the influencer. This is a great way to get the attention of an influencer. It works best if you target a single influencer, but can also work with multiple influencers in one post.
8. Link to their content. Read the blogs of influencers you are targeting. When you find a post share it on Twitter and other social sites. Be sure to include their @username in your post or tweet.
9. If they have a podcast, do an iTunes review of their show.
10. Comment on someone else’s blog and mention the influencer.
11. Become their customer and send them an unsolicited review. Most influencers will be thrilled.
12. Comment on their blog with the most informed comment for that post. Another option, disagree with them.
13. Present them with gifts or samples. By putting your latest product in their hands, you are encouraging them to share their reactions to it with their friends and followers.
14. Get connected to influencers through someone you know. This can work both online and offline.
15. Connect with influencers at conferences, meetups and webinars. Make relevant comments or ask pertinent questions. Make a point to get introduced to the influencers at the event.
16. Use social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to establish contact. Social media posts can sometimes be the easiest and fastest way to connect with influencers. This is because they are already connecting with other like-minded people.
LinkedIn is the largest online network of professional people making it an excellent place to begin connecting. Twitter is especially useful since the “verified” status lets others know an influencer has a following.
18. Blog on other sites with engaging content. Consider reaching out to smaller blogs in your industry first. Then you can move on to the larger sites with examples of your content.
Then you can pitch:
19. Create a product or service that will benefit the blogger’s or social media person’s audience. Clearly state these benefits to them when pitching your idea.
20. Send personal emails. Read their stuff, get to know them and make the email as personal as you can.
With all of those ideas on what to do, here are a couple of warnings of what not to do.
1. Don’t whine and complain. You can see a lot of this on the social media sites.
Resist the urge to do so.
Whining is very irritating. Just ask any parent. If you need to have a pity party, call a friend or family member.
2. Don’t gossip and talk about others behind their backs. You don’t know whether the influencer likes that person. And you’ve damaged your respect from them.
Finishing Up With Connecting With Influencers
What to do next
Now that you have engaged with them and have started making yourself known, you’ll need to maintain that relationship. Even if they promote your content early in the relationship, keep them interested in you. Ask them to guest post, or share their opinions in an interview on your site.
To find out where you are mentioned online you can use one of several free tools including Social Mentions and Topsy. Simply type in your brand name. Another option is to use a social media dashboard like Tweekdeck to monitor mentions.
Outside of the social media sites you should set up Google Alerts for your brand name and relevant keywords.
In the end, it’s about building relationships. Focus on giving more than asking, especially in the beginning of a new connection.
Implement these strategies and use the tools available to you to connect with the top influencers in your market. You will see the number of successful people in your network grow and your content will begin to be shared.