How to Discover and Connect to Influencers in Your Industry
Social media guru and co-author of:
“The Now Revolution: 7 Shifts to Make Your Business Faster, Smarter and More Social” Jay Baer said it best when he stated, “True influence drives action, not just awareness.”
Connecting with influencers is the key to generating massive organic traffic that is primed to trust you enough to make a purchase because of that connection.
More and more digital marketers and PR professionals can appreciate the way influencers drive traffic and marketing leads to their doors. Learn how to connect with these passionate individuals in your specific industry, through social media and other platforms, to reach people that may have been previously out of your reach.
Before you can connect to potential influencers, you need to do some homework. Most influencers aren’t hard to spot. They either have massive social media followings or are considered authorities in their fields, or both. However, just because someone is a major player, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are going to be helpful with your business objectives. You have to research the following:
Who They Are – Read their online content and connect to them on social networks. See what their accomplishments and their values are. This way, you will know if a potential influencer is a good fit to promote your business. You would not want someone who is an influencer in devious black hat techniques to promote your SEO business because their reputation will naturally rub off on you. Make sure you pick individuals with a sterling reputation who can enhance your image, not detract from it.
What Audience They Reach – Analyze the audience that they reach with emphasis on the traffic numbers and demographics. If they aren’t reaching your target demographic then you need to move to a different influencer. However, that also means you have to be very clear about who your target demographic is and why you want to reach them. If you are a startup, this will require significant market research before you even start to look at influencers. In the words of the ancient Greek proverb: “Know thyself” first.
Where To Find Them – You could go one by one on social networks trying to locate key influencers, but that will take a long time. You could also query your existing customers to figure out who influences them and how. However, if you just want to do a broad sweep, there is nothing better than using some online tools to do the task of hunting these people down for you.
Tools to Help You Hunt Down Influencers
Here are five different tools that can get you started:
Followerwonk – Best known for its “Search Twitter Bios” feature where you can pull up members by keywords in their bios. The list is ranked by social authority and also by the number of followers.
Traackr – This is a premium tool that provides details about the influencers you pick, like contact information and their relevance to your business model. It also tracks their published content and updates.
Buzzsumo – This goes across multiple social media platforms. Its main hallmark is ease of use. However, if you want to see if your influencer is active in a particular social media platform you prefer, you can easily tell from this tool.
Alltop – Tracks the influence of specific blogs so you can find influencers through them. They only track “industry recognized” blogs, so most are already dealing with influencers.
Linkdex– This paid tool is a SaaS solution that can help with organic marketing. It will analyze search, social, PR, and content data to help digital marketers assess influence.
Connecting With Influencers
Major influencers are solicited by people daily. If you want to be noticed, you can’t be too straightforward. Try to be patient and build a relationship first. Let them get to know you and you them. Familiarize yourself with their website, the topics covered and their general outlook on matters. Try to get under their radar by posting meaningful comments on their entries. Follow them on the channels they’re most active at and promote their content. It provides value to your followers while showing them that you respect their work.
Then, when the time is right, you can deepen the initial contact through a personalized and authentic cold email. You will see that this approach works much better than bulk email campaigns. Appeal to their egos by offering them to guest post for you or interview for your blog. Once you break it down to a one-on-one exchange, it’s much easier to set the stage for a mutual and beneficial relationship. Carefully and strategically laid groundwork will enable you to ask them for a favor in a way that will not come off as pushy or desperate.
Influence Peddling: A Successful Market Strategy
Once you start connecting with influencers in your industry, you will see your own online social influence continue to grow over time. It can be an ideal way to gain massive organic traffic. People are also more likely to trust you, due to your connection and social standing, than if you didn’t have these connections.
By following these tips, you will supercharge your marketing efforts beyond what you may have thought possible and reach new audiences that are eager to make your acquaintance.
Lisa Michaels is a freelance writer, editor and a striving content marketing consultant from Portland. Being self-employed, she does her best to stay on top of the current trends in the business world. She spends her free time trying out new recipes or reading Scandinavian crime novels. Feel free to reach her on Twitter or LinkedIn.
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