Connecting with Influencers — You Get What You Give
How to build influence by connecting with influencers!
Influencers. These people move and shake your industry. They can put your product in front of your audience. Their ability to share your stuff has the power to feed your retirement fund and send your kids to college.
If only you could just, you know, tap into their mojo - WOW. Stuff would start happening.
Cool, right? There must be an easy way to just get these people to see how awesome you are, right? There must be a way to convince them of how useful and necessary your product is.
Be Awesome. Do Something Epic.
And here's the thing: They're right. If you aren't awesome; if you haven't done something epic, why on earth would someone influential want to share your stuff?
That first step might take you years. If you're not there yet, keep trying. I'm a pretty firm believer that just telling people to be awesome is a pretty un-awesome thing to do, but at the same time, as a first step to engaging with influencers, it's pretty accurate.
Think about it this way: They're influencers because they're awesome. They became awesome after years of hard work. What makes you think they want to help you if you're not willing to work hard at awesome epicness, too?
On the road to awesomeness, you can try to read these folks. They might help you stay focused, practice better, and overcome fears and limitations.
When it comes time to share your awesomeness with the world, consider the benefits of a professional copywriter. My new heroine, Rachel Vanier, wrote this great presentation on Working with Copywriters (for startups) with all sorts of helpful insights into why you need a copywriter and how to best care for yours. ;)
Start the Connection Before Your Product is Awesome
Just be awesome. Truly. Be your best self and reach out.
How to find your influencers
There are a few ways to find lists of people who are leaders of your tribe. One great resource I just refamiliarized myself with is Klear. In a Twitter chat with Ron Sela, I was reminded of the usefulness of this tool. Try it out & see what you think.
Google it. Seriously. Googling "Top Influencers in Social Media" results in pages of relevant lists. Even if your industry is car repair this works. Fewer results but they are there.
BuzzSumo - Noah Kagan's product has really become one of the best places to find great stuff to share and people who might want to share it.
Viral Content Buzz - Here's the place to start building a following with people who will become influencers. The community on Viral Content Buzz is generally professional, supportive and interested in the idea of uplifting great content. The net result is that you begin to forge relationships with people as they rise with you. Pretty cool concept.
Be on the lookout. Really. Just keep your eyes and ears open as you go through your day. When someone interesting comes to your attention, take notice and look into them. This has worked for me. Here's an example from this morning. Guy Kawasaki shared this: 27 Awesome Social Media Marketers to Follow on Pinterest. Wow, I thought. That's worth checking out. I saved it and went through the list. The first thing to notice about the list is who it was written by. Rebekah Radice wrote this list. She's one of the biggest influencers in social media today, so, yes, I took that into consideration. Second, a hat tip to Rebekah's awesomeness and definite confident influencer status - take note, up and comers - she doesn't list herself. She lists 27 people who to a less confident person might be considered competitors. But instead, she warmly shares a list of people you should follow.
How to connect
Once you've found your influencers, how should you connect with them? There are so many ways, and many of them have been documented elsewhere.
- Step by Step Advice - The last third of this article over at KissMetrics lists helpful strategies to connect with people via Twitter and your blog.
- General Advice with Great Tips - I mentioned this article earlier, and it really is a great list of 10 tips for connecting with influencers by the always shareable, nearly always epic Sonia Simone at Copyblogger.
- The Art of the Start 2.0 - Man alive, this is the book you need if you want the behind the scenes stuff that can get you connected with people you need to know. Seriously, Guy Kawasaki shares the good stuff in the Art of the Start. (I was given a review copy of this book.)
You Get What You Give - Really.
It's a bit old school, but the fact is that you get what you give. There is no way around this. Some mornings, it might feel like the hardest thing in the world to keep putting out great stuff and being positive all over the place.
I get that.
I've had a weird series of interactions lately that honestly have driven me to feel that maybe that truism isn't as true as it is "truthy". In fact, some days, you'll put out your best, you'll be awesome, you'll do some seriously incredible s*** that goes unnoticed and then, at the end of the day, you'll pour yourself a glass of wine and spill it all over your new shirt. It happens.
The really old school version of "You get what you give" was "You reap what you sow." That gives a less "instant-gratification" and a more realistic idea of what this is really all about. You plant the seeds by showing up as consistently as possible with your best foot forward, your best, most authentic, but most likeable-self coming to the table.
Here's a great, short and to-the-point article listing 13 Habits of Likeable People. Save your unlikeable side for your cat.
Good luck, and I hope you connect with the influencers who can help you reach your audience.