Recent trends in marketing and social media show that Influencers are playing a role more than ever before. Consumers trust recommendations from others, outside of the brand itself. An influencer is the link connecting your brand with your target audience.
When you are able to activate an influencer in your niche’ market, they not only bring their audience, but their audience’s network as well. Because of the loyalty they have with their audience, an influencer has the ability to drive traffic to your site and increase your social media exposure.
Because this is becoming one of the most effective ways to attract clients, I have a 5 step guide to help you get started with putting these influencers to work for you!
Here’s a 5 Step Guide to Connecting With Social Influencers
Write Amazing Content
This is really the first step and one of the most important ones. Great content is half of the equation and without it, everything else you do will fall flat. However, if you only focus on the content, you won’t see much success either. It won’t matter how good it is, if you aren’t getting the audience to read it, it won’t really go anywhere.
Take the time to research your articles, check your facts and organize your material effectively. Also be sure to spell check and edit your posts before they go live. You want your content to convey the message in a clear, concise and easy to read manner.
Identify and Rank your Influencers
This is such an important step. Take the time to find your influencers and rank them to create a plan. It might be helpful to create a spreadsheet to organize this information. There are also some really great tools to help you get started. Here are just a few:
- Google Search
Use their different search engines and approaches to find the different influencers in your market.
Once you have obtained a list of them, rank them from the smaller influencers to the larger. This will help you plan for the next step and know who or when to contact.
Divide and Conquer
Once you are organized with your list of influencers, it’s time to start connecting with them. You’ll want to start small by sharing their content, responding to questions they may ask on social media, leave comments on their blog. This all takes a bit of finesse, because you don’t want to over do this. It’s all about finding a good balance. Having a healthy list of Influencers will help because you can do so many of these activities and spread them throughout your list. You want to do it frequently enough that they start to notice you, but not so much that they start to get annoyed. And when sharing on social media, be sure to use their @ on Twitter and + on Google+ so they see what you shared.
Send them an occasional email, thanking them for something they wrote or whatever sticks out to you. Be genuine. Offer them free publicity on your site. And get an idea of the sites they frequent and visit them as well.
Once you’ve been able to build a bit of a presence with your influencers, it’s time to branch out and contact them about your content.
You can send a quick email sharing an awesome post you wrote. That email might look something like this:
Hi BLOGGER (insert their actual name here)
As someone who also enjoys writing about TOPIC, I wanted to let you know about a post I recently put together on this same subject.
PUT THE LINK IN HERE
I hope you enjoy it. Keep up the great work at BLOG NAME.
This isn’t asking anything of them, but it gives them an opportunity to become more familiar with you and your work. It can be a great foundation for building your relationship with them.
You can also email them and ask them to share your work. In a similar email as to the example posted above, ask them if they’d be willing to share your post. Chances are if you’ve worked consistently at building a presence with them, they may be willing to return the favor. It won’t always work, of course, which is why you have a whole list of Influencers to work with.
This is the step where all your hard work starts to pay off. You’ve developed a relationship online through cross-marketing and you want to take it to the next level. You can invite them to collaborate with you on a project or grow together with a joint-venture. Start small with something like an infographic or a co-authored post.
You can also try to build relationships offline. If they are doing any engagements near you, try to go and meet them and show support. Attending blog conferences can be a great way to connect with fellow bloggers.
Now that you have these tips in mind and as you set out to create your plan, remember to always use tact. As with any interaction, imagine yourself meeting these people at a social event. How would you get to know them? How would you present yourself for that first impression? Don’t be abrupt, use common sense but be consistent and respectful. You’ll find it will all pay off as your name and brand will start to spread. And before you know it, you may be someone else’s influencer!