Building a relationship with social media influencers can be one of the most challenging aspects of running a good social media marketing campaign. It's a long, complicated process, but it can really pay off once you begin a relationship with a powerful social media influencer.
The truth is, engaging with social media influencers is much like dating. You have to undergo a serious process of getting to know your influencer in order to create a long-term relationship. You don't just want a quick publicity stunt that will be forgotten almost immediately. In order to build a high quality relationship with your social media influencers that will ultimately pay off for your company's publicity and social media presence, you need to follow a few easy steps.
But first thing's first; You need to know what Social Media Influencers are!
What are Social Media Influencers?
Social media influencers are simply people or companies in your industry that have a big influence on social media. People trust their name, and tend to go to them for industry related questions and research. What makes this so important to you is that having a meaningful relationship with these influencers can drastically improve your credibility as well as give you high-quality publicity for your company. It's basically free advertising for your company, and it increases your own influence over social media.
Why are theses social media influencers so special in the first place? Well, there's a couple of reasons. When a person or brand is a big influencer, they tend to be particularly smart about your industry, getting an early jump on social media (a pioneer of sorts), or by having a large group of loyal followers. Having a large influence over a lot of followers is what makes social media influencers, well, simply put, influential.
Social media users rely on influencers for reliable information from their industry, so having good relationships with them can give you much needed exposure!
Tips for Engaging Social Media Influencers
1. Identify your social media influencers.
Well first off you need to understand who your social media influencers are. You can't run before you can walk! So ask yourself, "Who are the biggest names in my field? Who do I want my company to emulate in the future? Who was the keynote at the last conference I was at?"
Make a list of these industry pioneers and look for them on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.). Determine which social media channels work best for your company (if not all of them) and like or connect with them. It's that easy! Now you have some pretty big names on your social media platforms, and you're on your way to having a great social media presence!
2. Share their content.
Now that you're connected with your social media influencers, it's time to start climbing in their ranks. You ideally want them to say "Hey, this company really likes our stuff and shares it a lot, I should thank them for their support!". Share everything. Read their blog, use their content in your blog, like this, retweet that, +1 this other thing; the bottom line is you want them to know that you look up to them as an industry genius.
3. Ask them to guest blog.
Guest blogging is a simple way for your social media influencers to increase their blog following and yours as well. Posting their content on your blog lets your readers see them, and they also see your social media influencer's name on your blog. Your readers will say "wow, that's a big name on their blog, I trust this company more now.". So it's a win win situation. They increase their reach, and your improve your credibility in your industry. It also is a great way to further improve your relationship with your influencers.
4. Have them give you industry related advice.
In my book, someone asking for advice is very flattering. You are complimenting their knowledge! So don't hold back, ask your social media influencers for advice on your upcoming marketing meeting and use it! They are the best in the business for a reason, so something they do is working. It's great advice for you, and you compliment them in the process. Creating a relationship with them is important, but you can't do that without building trust with them.
5. Join them to create content.
Got a crazy new idea that you'd love to turn into a webinar or an ebook? Well, if it's new and innovative, your social media influencers might be interested as well. You would want credit for the newest New York Times Bestseller right? Well so would they. So ask your influencers to team up with you and create an awesome webinar or ebook that both of you would be proud of. You get great content and awesome publicity as your influencers share this content to their followers. Plus you now have this awesome relationship with your social media influencers!
6. Engage with them offline.
You know that sometimes you just need a face-to-face interaction in order to make the sale. The same goes for your social media influencers. Once you have a strong enough relationship with your influencers, connect with them at trade-shows and conferences. Even if it's just a friendly "Hey how are you?" conversation, putting a face to the name is a great way to take your relationship with influencers to the level it needs to be for them to publish your content.
7. Ask them to share your content.
All the liking and retweeting you've been doing on your social media influencer's content, you want them to do the same for you. The ultimate goal of building this relationship with your social media influencers is for them to share your content. You may not realize the power of an industry leader retweeting your company! It's a simple and effective way to increase your company's publicity.
When you ask your influencers to share your content, don't try to make your pitch too salesy! Send them a quick email asking them to tweet about the blog article, even tweet at them if they are on Twitter a lot. Once you have a strong enough relationship with your social media influencers, you won't even have to ask them. Once they trust your company enough, they will automatically tweet about your new article, and your social reach will drastically increase. With a huge name on your blog, you will increase leads and sales and even become an industry influencer yourself!
Interested in learning more about optimizing your social media marketing? Give us a call at IMPACT and learn how we can help!
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