Reaching influencers through social media

Social Media 2 Comments | Date Published: 02 April 2013
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Photo of Sam Ashdown from Home TruthsToday’s guest blog post is from Sam Ashdown, founder and owner of Hometruths, a specialist property marketing consultancy. She shares with us her tried and tested tips for reaching those important people in your industry through social media channels.

Social media is a minefield, and when you’re just starting to try to make a name for yourself on the various platforms, it can be difficult to find direction and focus.

Apart from having a true ‘voice’ and sharing genuinely interesting content and thoughts without selling, you also need to identify and then reach the key influencers in your industry.  Not an easy task when you’re bombarded by so much white noise out there.

Malcolm Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point wrote about “The Law of the Few”, stating “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”

Pareto’s Principle also tells us that like in most other cases,  80% of the connecting and sharing is being done by only 20% of the online community.

Gladwell goes on to divide these people into three types: the connectors, the mavens and the salesmen.

  • Connectors, just as it sounds, are the natural networkers. They usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles.
  • Mavens are “information specialists” – they are the people we follow to make sure we’re well informed about current issues or specialist knowledge.
  • Salesmen are the “persuaders”. Often charismatic people who use their skills to make sure that others agree with them.

The challenge then, is to identify these types on your chosen social media platform.  And when you’ve done that, to then connect with them in a meaningful way.  Here are some of my tips for finding and connecting with your key influencers online, on three of the main social media platforms:

Twitter

  • Make a list of the ‘big five’ influencers you’d love to engage with
  • Check out their Twitter streams to see if you can find a tweet to comment on.  Take a softly-softly approach at first so as not to seem like a stalker (!) so you might want to just retweet a couple of their recent tweets initially.
  • Follow their Twitter conversations to see who they are talking to, on which subjects, and on what days/times.  Seeing when they are at their most active will help you to get on their radar.
  • See who is most important to the Tweeter you’re trying to attract, which could be a family member, friend or perhaps a worthy cause.  Look at their Follow Fridays if they make any, and see if you can engage with their nearest and dearest.  You’ll soon pop up on their feed if you do this.
  • When you’ve watched and retweeted, try commenting on one of their updates.  Don’t make it gushy or over the top, just make it useful, funny or insightful.
  • Try to make sure you’re engaging on a Wednesday or Thursday and if you’re VERY lucky you might even get a Follow Friday from them, as most people just look at their Twitter mentions to compile theirs.
  • Tempting though it may be, try to avoid giving them a Follow Friday if you haven’t yet engaged with them – too stalkerish.
  • If you don’t get a reply, don’t be disheartened.  If they are really popular, your tweet can easily get overlooked.  Just repeat the above every few days or weeks, and remember you’re in it for the long game.
  • Try signing your tweets with your name.  Eg thanks for the RT, Sam.   This means your recipient doesn’t have to look up your Twitter account and it will encourage a personal response.

 Facebook

  • First look at your competition.  See how they are managing their page, and with whom they are interacting.  Then search online for those people who look the most interesting, and LIKE their page.  Start interacting with them on their page in a positive way and they should soon respond.Search out the websites of some of your chosen few.  See if they have a Facebook button, and go and LIKE their page then start talking to them.
  • Share any links and blogs from these folk on your own Facebook page, and if they don’t notice, post on their page to let them know you have done it.
  • Look at the pages they have liked and LIKE them too. Then share updates and links from them on your own page.
  • Try posting on their page as your page, but also from your personal account, so they start to connect your brand with your photo.

LinkedIn

  • First make sure your profile is appropriate for the audience you are trying to attract.  Are you proud of it?  Or could you improve it so that if a key influencer visits it, they will feel compelled to get in touch?!
  • Look at the keywords your influencers have used in their profile – can you use those keywords too?  Remember – the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, though not too much or you’ll be seen as a stalker!
  • When you search on LinkedIn for the best people to connect with, try looking for common interests.  Hobbies like cycling or photography can be a really good topic to comment on, and share experiences with like minded people.
  • LinkedIn encourages ‘endorsements’ and has made them very easy to do.  Simply visit their profile and endorse them for the skills that appear there.  Hopefully that would bring you onto their radar.
  • If you send an invitation to connect, write it from a personal perspective.  I recently connected with someone on LinkedIn by writing in the invitation that I’d been on her site, and I really liked a particular article. I also asked a question. She connected with me, and answered my question, and now I feel a step closer to an engaged ‘relationship’ with her, which is great as she has over 20,000 connections!
  • Once you have established the connection, have a think about how you could help them.  Can you connect this person to someone they would find useful? Or recommend a site or product?  If you feel it’s appropriate, you could offer to blog for them as a guest and get lots of exposure that way to their circle of influence.  Don’t make this offer too soon though – you need to build trust and liking first.

Reaching key influencers isn’t easy, but it can be super-rewarding to your business, and to you personally.  By reaching my key influencers, I have just this week been asked to speak to 400 estate agents at their national conference, so I can honestly tell you that these strategies really work!

Happy connecting :o )

Sam Ashdown is the founder and owner of HomeTruths, a specialist property marketing consultancy.  You can connect with her here:

Twitter: TheHomeTruths

Facebook: TheHomeTruthsPage

LinkedIn: HomeTruths

Pinterest: TheHomeTruths

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2 Responses to “Reaching influencers through social media”

  1. Suzanne Dibble Says:

    Great advice Sam!

  2. Maurice Kilbride Says:

    Very clear and concise advice Sam, well done. Even though I have made a number of mistakes along the way, I have learnt an awful lot from you about social media.

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