How to Talk To The Social Media Famous

For as long as social media has been taunting us with follower numbers and Likes, business owners have been trying to network with people deemed more influential than themselves. We strive to reach these people with the hope that if they like what we’re doing they’ll be inclined to share it with their audience and foster positive word of mouth. We want to tap into their audience to help grow our own. But before any of that can happen, before these influencers can help spread our message, it’s our job to get on their radar. Because the first step to partnering with an influencer is to make sure they know your name.

But how exactly do you do that?

Below are five tips to help small business owners connect with powerful influencers online.

1. Participate in their community: One of the best ways to get on someone’s radar is to become active in the community that they represent. Whether that means becoming a frequent commenter on their blog or sharing great information in the forum or community that they started, you can often jump ahead of the pack vying for their attention by simply participating on their home turf. Help them promote what they’re trying to build and you have a good chance of winning their favor. Building this face time helps create positive karma and ensures they’ll already be familiar with your name when you contact them about your business.

2. Become an extra hand: Influencers are busy people, typically working hard to balance their day job, their blog, speaking gigs, community responsibilities, webinars, etc. With that busy schedule comes an opportunity for you to step in and save the day if you’re watching for an open opportunity.

If you notice one of the influencers you want to reach appears particularly busy (perhaps they’ve blogged or tweeted about an upcoming vacation/baby/surgery/etc):

  • Why not offer to help moderate community discussions?
  • Or do some background research regarding a question they’ve question on Twitter?
  • Could you introduce them to a person or a resource that they may find useful?

We remember the people who take the time to lend us a hand when we need one. By stepping in and offering assistance, you burn your name and your company into their mind. It’s also easier to call in a favor when you already have one in the bank.

3. Join important discussions: There are few things influencers love more than having important discussions via social media networks. They love to share ideas, debate concepts and throw out suggestions for issues their community is dealing with. If you find you have the chance to add to the conversation or help them think of things in a new way – jump in and get involved. Introduce yourself and share your idea and how their community may be able to take advantage of it. Participating in important community discussions is a great way to get on someone’s radar, but only if you can truly add value.

4. Find new ways to connect: Do you know how many tweets Chris Brogan gets a day? I don’t know either, but I’m guessing it’s at least a few hundred. People who want him to read something, to share something, or to promote something. I imagine when you’re an influencer at that level, things like Twitter get flooded pretty quickly. So why not connect elsewhere? Once you pinpoint the influencer you want to reach out to, decipher which network is most appropriate. Where will they hear your message the best without the noise? Maybe that means sending them an email vs. a tweet. Or maybe it means attending a local event they’ll be speaking at. Whatever it is, don’t limit yourself to whatever social network is hot at the moment. Go where you’ll be heard and where you can make an impact.

5. Just say hello: Yeah. Sometimes we have a tendency to make things more complicated than they really are. If you want to connect with an influencer, start by saying hello. Introduce yourself, share some conversations, and then tell them what you want to tell them. While I don’t pretend to be a massive influencer, I’ll often have people come up to my business partner and ask why it is I don’t follow them on Twitter. More times than not, these are folks who have never attempted to start a conversation with me and who have never introduced themselves. If you want someone to know who you are, take the initiative of saying hello.

Above are five easy ways small business owners can work to grab the attention of powerful social media influencers. What has worked for you?


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

11 Reactions
  1. I get the whole Internet Social Thing. It makes sense to spread yourself to the ends of the universe and touch as many people as you can without spending a billion dollars on tv, radio and newspaper ads. Then again I start to wonder how UN productive it may really be. Am i gaining ground spending 2 hours a day creating blogs, posting comments and link backs plus coming up with relevant twitter posts all the while hoping that my content gets picked up among the billions of other posts each day by you, potential clients, and search engines. If you have ever seen a swarm of black birds downtown chirping and chaotically dispersing and re-swarming in the trees or on power lines (usually near a fast food cluster) then you know how I perceive this social media trend. For better or for worse

  2. I appreciate the down-to-earth advice here. These elite social media mavens are still real people and most haven’t let their follower count go to their head. Be friendly. Be helpful. Be authentic. If you accomplish that much they’ll know you and probably like you too.

    Getting a partnership going…that sounds like a good follow-up post.

  3. Hello Lisa,

    I love your blog! Your content is consistently awesome. I would love to know what inspires you? One of my favorite tweets is one from you about being a content machine with a growl : )

    Another way to get the attention of an influencer is to add them to a Twitter list with a great title & description.

    Another idea I saw someone use: Dan Parks created a thoughtful, creative video book review of the NOW Revolution that caught the attention of Jay Baer, who came to our city (Victoria, BC) as the keynote speaker at our Social Media Camp this past June:

  4. The one thing I would add is to make sure the people are influencers of your customers and not just you otherwise you can waste your time.

  5. I think numbers do lie and I often wonder about the ‘quality’ of followers an influencer got. What exactly is real influence these days? Is it fine for someone famous to reply back to you once and forget that you ever existed? Yes, it feels great if you have someone with a lot of followers following you. I just wish that they would say “hello” or something like “great to connect with you” once in a while. But hey, that’s like asking too much from folks with busy schedules. Thanks for sharing these awesome tips anyway.

  6. It’s probably a good idea to make sure your contributions are worthy of a busy person’s time, too. Leaving a blog comment that just says “Spot on! You said just what I was thinking!” and sending a tweet that says “How are you today?” and clicking “Like” on Facebook isn’t really participating in the community, it’s just adding noise. Take the time to make thoughtful, contributions and you almost automatically stand out from the crowd.

  7. As usual, Lisa, good advice. Like any marketing effort, the best results come from up-front planning. Connecting with someone for the sake of their numbers and assuming it is the right move for you could well fall into that ‘time suck’ we all fear. With only so much time in each day, it is imperative that we do research to assure we are focused on those influencers who influence the same audience we do. Any connection should be good for both partners in the relationship.

  8. I’m happy to report that Lisa lives what she preaches. I just said “hi” on Twitter, and she replied almost immediately. Well done!

    But to follow up on Dava’s point, I do think it’s important to add some value. I know I hate it when friends text me and just say “Hey.” What am I supposed to say to that? Hey-hey is not a conversation. By the same token, if you’re trying to connect on Twitter, it’s not enough just to say “hi” or to RT someone’s content. Instead, post the link with a creative new headline or tell why you liked it. That shows the content creator that you’re engaged — and that you might be worth engaging.

  9. Great post, Lisa

    (As usual)

    I’ll admit it; I’ve done everything you named. And, I’ve done it as a human; not a bot.

    I feel that everything I do with others has to be mutually beneficial, but not in a selfish way. If someone is offering to help me spread my message around their sphere of influence, it’s great; but I always follow up their offer with this;

    “Now, what do you really need help with, right now?” They usually tell me, and I’m happy to help, because I want to.

    It works. Because it’s real.

    Need help with something, Lisa?

    The Franchise King®

  10. Well said, Lisa. Social media influencers are, after all, just people. Someone with a ton of followers may not take the time to say hi to every new follower or everyone who comments or shares his/her article, but most seem willing to chat and answer questions when I introduce myself and speak to them directly. I agree that communities and discussions are incredibly important for making those first connections – A good tweetchat can put you in touch with some amazing influencers in your specific niche!

    I think it is also important to remember that many influencers come and go. Look for quality and real connections, because sometimes someone with 300 followers today may become a much greater influencer in your niche down the road.

    Thanks for sharing your tips!

    ~ Melissa
    Twitter: @socialamateur