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 people of influence since they help shape consumer decision by promoting products and ideas across multiple channels.
The good news is they are usually fairly accessible…but you need to be careful in your approach. Begin by focusing on doing something for them before you ask them to do something for you.
Here are eighteen 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 with the following ideas:
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.
• 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.
4. Ask questions. Every once in a while, ask a question of your influencer on the social media sites. Make sure it’s targeted at their area of expertise.
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 respectfully to grab attention.
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.
17. Tweet your target with an invitation to connect.
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.
Once you’ve established a relationship, then you can discuss how to mutually benefit each other, but the key is getting on their radar and being seen as a person of value first.