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?