A business cannot thrive without customers and customers cannot come to your business unless they know about it.
Without connections, you lack the social network to establish your net worth and social proof. [tweet this]
Finding and developing a worthy relationship with your influencers will help catapult your brand to higher levels. This will happen through amplifying your brand’s story and reaching people far from your immediate prospects, contacts and customers. The following five tips will help you find and activate these important relationships.
1. Create a shortlist of social influencers
The starting point in developing and activating a relationship with social influencers is to come up with a shortlist of about 20 bloggers, analysts, key clients and press contacts, among others. These names should be your target list to nurture.
A good way to create this list is to use a mix of Twitter lists and even chat lists. You have to ensure that your choices are known in or to the industry or area you want to focus on. If they are well-known and well interacted with in the community (regional or industry based) that you’re focused on, you boost the chances of your brand growing along with “speak” on something that you have genuine interest and passion in.
2. Follow others on social media
It is not just enough to create the list. You have to follow all the individuals on your list. For this, use the major social sites such as LinkedIn groups, Twitter groups, as well as relevant blogs.
Doing this will show your would-be influencers that you are serious about starting and establishing a relationship with them. Start by asking them relevant questions and wait for their replies and/or comments. Your questions at first should be generalized, but then with growing rapport you become more specific.
3. Show that you care and are excited about them
Once your target influencers have taken notice of you, it is time to retweet them. You should mention them in your blog posts as well as “@mention” them in your tweets. They will respond in kind knowing that you care about their thoughts and suggestions.
This is a very critical step in the word of mouth marketing campaign because you are getting on the radar of your influencers. This is where they may make the first mention of your brand and your offerings.
4. Establish regular contact
Ensure there is regular engagement with the influencers on your list. This doesn’t mean that you have to contact them every single day or week. It is enough just to establish regular and consistent contact. The best way to achieve this is to create an editorial calendar. This will help you nurture your influencers.
5. It is better to give than to receive
Immediately there is a 2-way engagement or contact with your influencers, offer them information or resources that would be valuable to them. Of course, you need to ask to see what would be “of interest” to them. And, nothing nurtures a relationship faster and more than a genuine conversation.
Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks– a word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand. Maria Duron is founder and moderator of #brandchat – a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.
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