Marketing and branding have a new face today. This face is popular, leverages the social media like a boss, and is well acknowledged for its expertise. And this face has a name. It is called the influencer.
So who are influencers really?
Influencers are individuals who have an authoritative and significant say in buying decisions. They are trendsetters in their niche fields and their opinion regarding their areas of expertise is highly valued by the audience.
But the question is, why should we reach out to them?
A simple way to answer that would be ‘network building’.
Reaching out to an influencer helps give you and your product credibility among your targeted audiences while at the same time helping you form nurturing connections with your tribe. (Your tribe is the group of people as passionate as you in your chosen field.)
Irrespective of how good your content is, or how well you understand your field, creating a following for yourself can be quite an uphill task. Despite taking all the right measures, creating a dent on the online platform for yourself can be difficult and a long arduous journey. And this is where the role of an influencer in your life becomes even more important.
Influencers with their established and growing following can help you find yours. Their support can help you find a voice among your targeted audience; giving you the opportunity to form productive networks and a community of your own.
Hence, when reaching out to influencers is so important, it is imperative that it be done right. So, to help you get started we have listed down 5 primary ways to commence your journey towards finding your community and build relationships with influencers.
5 Ways To Build Relationships With Influencers
1. Begin with moderate names in your market
The bottom line is about building connections. So going after only the most popular influencers in your market will not be as beneficial as forming connections with moderate names in the industry.
This is because of the following reasons:
- Getting a response from the moderately popular names is more probable, as they are surrounded by comparatively less noise in comparison to the highly popular ones.
- They have a strong and large base of followers.
- They are easier to reach out to.
- Going after A-listers would take more time; with a high probability of your effort in reaching out being lost among the multitude surrounding them.
So the first step of your journey starts with finding your influencers. As an individual well versed in your field, you would be aware and even fond of certain people’s work. You can always start with reaching out to them.
Subsequently, you can start preparing a list of names in your field that can be approached. By taking the help of tools like Buzzsumo’s influencer search to get names, siteworthtraffic.com to gauge the traffic on their website and Klout to see their rankings you can make a comprehensive list of people you would like to connect with.
While doing the above there are a few pointers that need to be kept in mind:
- Don’t follow or try reaching out to people only on the basis of their popularity or follower numbers. Find influencers in your field with whom you really can form a genuine relation over a shared love for a certain niche.
- Don’t confine yourself to a select few. Afterall the journey is all about building a community, so the more the merrier. Get in touch with as many individuals as you can in your field.
- Remember to keep learning from everyone you encounter in this journey. Polishing and augmenting your shared knowledge is the basis of a real relationship.
2. Follow and share their content
After having identified the influencers belonging to your niche, the next step is to sincerely take interest in their work.
Actively engage in their work by commenting and connecting on every platform. For example,
- follow them on twitter,
- like their Facebook page,
- befriend them on Facebook,
- add them to your Google+ circles,
- follow them on Instagram
- connect with them on LinkedIn
- subscribe to their blog
- attend their online courses or seminars
- attend their conferences, the book reads etc
It would seem like a daunting task to keep track of all the above for so many people. But there is an effective way to do it. While following their work on all the above platforms, also keep an eye out to analyze which platforms receive the most responses and conversation from the influencers side.
Having pinpointed these, you can actively participate more on those platforms.
Now how should you participate?
Make your name familiar but not overwhelming to the influencer. Come to their notice by signing up for all the above and intelligently commenting on shared interests on the above posts. Most influencers are known to engage in intelligent conversations over post comments. So ask questions to kick-start a dialogue with the influencer.
Share, refer and review their work in your posts and keep them in the loop about the same. Build a real relationship with them by communicating your sincere appreciation for their work through valuable feedback and comments. Here is a great example:
3. Promote/link to their content
Any relation is made more meaningful if it mutually benefits both parties. And believe it or not, you can be as useful to the influencers as they can be to you.
Asking them to promote your content and give you an audience, can be applied both ways. Having opened communication channels with your influencer, you can easily offer to provide them exposure to your(new) audience.
Apart from that, you can promote their work by giving direct links to their articles on your post. In such cases, you can always send them an email sharing your article with them. This is a more personable and customizable way of connecting and forming a bond with the influencer.
The email can also be leveraged for informing the influencer about something current that you learned related to your market. It is a do good activity done without expecting anything in return. Moreover, it helps you share your knowledge and contribute something meaningful to the equation.
Advocating their work to various segments of interested audiences is another great way to connect with them and form a mutual admiration society. Here is how Brian Dean from BackLinko has been linking to other sources such as searchengineland.com
4. Sign up for their newsletter
A newsletter is a great way to keep abreast of the latest ventures being undertaken by the influencer. Whether it is a book launch, a conference or a seminar, the newsletter will keep you informed.
If you form a preliminary relation with the influencer, you can expand on it to find mention in their works or maybe even become a guest contributor to their newsletter.
Additionally, the newsletters are a great way to keep you updated with the latest that is happening in your market. It helps increase your understanding of what’s trending and why, hence, providing an opportunity for you to grow your expertise.
5. Reply to the first autosender newsletter
After having signed up for the newsletter, you will be sent emails welcoming you to the community. This mail-in itself is an opportunity for you to not only connect with the influencer but also give him/her your direct feedback.
All influencers like you and me are individuals aiming to understand the audience’s interests and inclinations. And since you are their audience, a well informed one at that, your feedback will be valuable.
So when they send emails asking your thoughts, do reply and give them a chance to hear you.
Your thoughts on the subject might just lead to a name mention by the influencer himself to your targeted audiences.
At the end of the day forming a relationship is a two-way street. With the aim of having your work promoted by the face in the field, it is important for you to build a genuine relationship that stands on mutual admiration, shared interests and enthusiasm, progressive feedback and sincere appreciation.
So engage effectively and start building your community today.