How to connect with influencers and grow your network
One of the ways you can really boost your social media services is by engaging with social media influencers.
A social media influencer is someone who has a lot of connections and interactions on social media, their social klout so to speak. They have a lot of followers and if they share something of yours you can reach a large audience. There is actually an influencer ranking called Klout that provides an influencer score.
In the traditional sense of influencer marketing you might hire a celebrity to advocate your product and you would probably pay very good money for this as most celebrities influence is extremely high.
As a small business operator though there are better ways to employ influencer marketing that won’t cost you a cent.
Here are 10 steps on how to connect with influencers to grow your business
1 | Have a clear and detailed profile of your target audience.
You may have several different types of target audience. Outline their age, gender, location, occupation, lifestyles and behaviours as much as you can.
2 | Make a list of all the businesses and connected individuals that would likely also be connected to your target audience
Consider businesses that provide complimentary services to your target audience; share relevant content to your business; businesses you already have a relationship; businesses you would like to build a relationship with. Remember to include your best customers.
It may seem that you are building relationships with your competition, however co-opetition works very well for many businesses with each business being able to dip into each other’s databases. If you are a handbag shop and there is also a similar shoe shop nearby chances are you are both marketing to the same audience anyway and helping each other out a bit will benefit each other.
3 | Do some online research to find out how connected your potential influencers really are online (their reach)
Check out your potential influencers social media marketing accounts to see how many people they have following them and how often they interact with them. Do a few searches online to see how they rank in Google. Find those that standout as having large networks, regular engagement and good search engine ranking and put them on your final list of influencers to connect with.
You can also check someone’s Klout ranking, which is a ranking of influence. If you use Hootsuite each person’s Klout score is available via their profile. Klout ranking is between 1-100 with 100 being the highest influence.
4 | Rank your final list of influencers most important to least important
Rank them according to those with the highest level of influence (large number of connections and regularity of activity) and most relevant content.
5 | Connect with your influencers
Like them, follow them, comment on their posts, like their posts, mention them in your own posts, tag them (where appropriate and directly of benefit to them and their followers) even catch up with them in person or give them a call. Connect with them and start building an online (and possibly offline) relationship with them.
6 | Develop blog post content and promotional campaigns that would be directly of interest to your key influencers and their networks.
What are they interested in? What can you offer that will be of value to them? What are they currently sharing? Do your research and build your blog post calendar and social media calendar around these topics.
7 | Tip them off
If your influencers don’t pick up on your social media posts that you want them to why not send them a direct message to find out if they are interested in it and if they would like you to tag them in future posts you think they’d be interested in.
8 | Partner up
This is one of the best methods to really harness the power of your influencers as you both benefit; can provide double the value to your customers and cost you half the effort in marketing. Why not offer a special deal together. Of course your partner would want to market it just as much as you and you are both dipping into each others databases potentially bringing new customers to each other.
9 | Maintain your connection with your influencers
Thank them, reward them, recognise them and keep supporting them where you can. Also, don’t forget to ask them for insights into what you could do better. Once you have them onside they can provide you with access to a wealth of information.
10 | Don't forget offline customers
Of course don’t forget that some of your biggest influencers will be your best customers and they may not be online. Make sure you also have strategies in place to engage, communicate with, market to, market through, reward and recognise.
Have you tried connecting with your influencers? What has worked? What lessons have you learnt?