Connecting with Influencers

Ever heard the phrase “It’s not WHAT you know, but WHO you know”? This gives you an idea of how important it is to network regularly, and connecting with influencers in your niche should be a high priority.

But first, what is meant by an influencer?

An influencer is a person who has an established a name in his/her field of expertise through the content they publish online and their niche-related activities, such as appearing in interviews, lots conferences and more.
Connecting with a few key online influencers will can give you far better results than connecting with numerous people who have no influence, don’t know that much about the niche, and don’t know or care who you are or what you do. If you can get an influencer’s attention, it can open up for you a wide range of new opportunities and a much wider audience.

The problem is that everyone will want to connect with these influencers too. So how can you possibly stand out?
Here are some top tips for connecting with influencers in your niche successfully to help you grow your brand.

Know your niche.
It may seem obvious but get very clear on your niche and who your ideal customers are. You should also know where these ideal customers are hanging out and who they are buying from.

Identify top influencers.
Find out who the influencers are in your niche and where they are. Use tools such as Iconosquare, BuzzSumo, BirdSong Analytics, and Twellow to uncover such influencers.

Follow the influencers.
See what kind of content they are publishing in relation to your niche. What kinds of products and services are they promoting or selling? What kind of feedback are they getting? Take note of what inspires you and then find ways to do things better, faster, and cheaper. Also, note ways in which you complement each other, rather than compete with each other. If you sell a product for example, consider offering them free products in exchange for a shout-out.

Spruce up your professional profile.
If you haven’t done so already, create a magnetic profile on your social media networks. Check out the influencers’ profiles. Do you see something you’d like to add to your own profile? If so, add something similar while also making it unique to you.

Interact with the influencers.
Once you have been following them for a while, you can start to interact with the influencers in a low-key way. Comment, like, and share. Keep it genuine, though, and make sure it is aligned with your marketing strategy.

Contact influencers.
When you do contact influencers, be specific. What do you want from them and what can you bring to the table? If you would like them to try your product, offer them some samples. If they like your product, they will probably review it. If you would like a shout-out, consider offering them a free product. But ask them first. Chances are, if they do not like your product for whatever reason, they will not do a shout-out. If you offer a service, you may consider being a guest blogger, in which case, it’s crucial that you provide them with samples of your work. If you would like them to be a guest blogger, or you’d like to interview them, make sure your site looks great and is packed with niche-related content that their audience will be interested in as well.

Be patient.
Connecting with influencers requires time and patience. Plan to do things or make changes over a 6-month period. Take your time to get to know them, and vice versa. The better you understand them, their product line and influence in your niche, the more likely they will want to work with you down the line. Your knowledge will shine through compared to the many people who want to connect with them for their own benefit.

While these top tips for connecting with influencers in your niche will increase your chances, it’s up to you to make it worth their while. So, start your transformation into becoming an influencer in your own right and see how many influencers you can connect with in your niche on a meaningful level.